Bio – Eleonor England

by Michael Mecca

Ellie started off her musical career at age 10 with

performances ranging from local venues to audience

of up to 1000. She at first expressed interest in the

piano, but her parents soon put an end to that by

hiring a skilled piano teacher. She kept experimenting

with the piano and taught herself to read and play music.


Presently, she started lessons with renown organist George

Butterfield who was head of the San Diego Organists’ Guild at

the time and he was able to reign in her incredibly poor piano

technique. In the meantime, she was given a free-of-charge

mentorship with Harvard-trained horn player and choral

director Rosemary Knudsen. Within a year of this mentorship,

she was referred by her mentor to Lynne Henderson of the

Henderson Technique in San Diego for more in-depth vocal study.

She then went on to study opera with Paulene Tweed, a very

skilled and well-known singer who sang at the Met and other

prestigious venues during her tenacious career.


Due to an illness starting from 1987 and worsening into her adulthood,

Ellie took a decade-long respite from singing from 1992-2001 during

which time she worked as a humor columnist, freelance writer, and

finally returning to modelling as a freelancer, becoming one of San

Francisco’s most in-demand models during the late 1990’s.


In 1998, Ellie was able to get treatment at Stanford University and

was able to slowly resume her singing, making her first public

appearance in February 2001 at her first annual Back Valentine’s Day

(featuring only tunes where someone is neglect, jilted, abused, ignored,

dumped, or – preferably – shot by their lover) which has been a popular

show for her every year since.


After the scandal in Indonesia during the 2004-2005 presidential

election involving her imminent engagement to the son of then-official

Golkar party presidential nominee T. Sambuaga, Ellie went into a

seclusion of sorts with very occasional public appearances in the

form of sold-out shows at venues in Northern and Southern California

in venues no larger than 500 seats. During these years, the popularity

of her Black Valentine’s Day show and her unbelievable signature tune

“Gloomy Sunday” often brings down the house.


From 2007-2011, she has performed in public concerts a few times a

year, but sung in private bookings for many luminaries including

California royalty Willie Brown, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

as well as actual royalty including Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of Jordan.


In 2009, she lost her piano player Shep Meyers to lung cancer after a

long an illustrious career of backing not only Ellie but also the likes of

Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, and Julie London. This interrupted a

studio recording that was being produced by Shep for Ellie. Ellie then

broke from straight-ahead jazz and started producing original material

and, working with musicians in more eclectic genres, is working

toward a self-produced album to be recorded in late 2011 and early

2012 which will be followed by a California and EU tour.


Ellie currently resides alternately in San Diego and San Francisco and

her students have won local, international and national awards at the

Grammy and Oscars level.