Eletto Wanna be the stars

They may have been born in this millennium, but there’s something timeless about Eletto.

Each track on the Barnsley folk duo’s debut EP I Wanna Be The Star has its own nostalgic style that transcends the country and folk genre. Compelling vocal harmonies blend with poetic, melancholy lyrics and ritualistic sounds of the piano and acoustic guitar.

Made up of best friends Mila Whitaker, 21, and Zoe Aradipioti, 22, Eletto was formed in February 2021 – yet another successful upshot of Barnsley Youth Choir.

(c) Beth Chamberlain

The pair met as 13-year-olds through the choir, with Zoe having joined when her family moved to Barnsley from Cyprus. With birthdays just two days apart, they shared more in common than just a star sign.

Towards the end of 2020, Mila and Zoe started writing music together and sharing their songs on TikTok. Originally called Teenage Tantrum, they launched themselves onto Yorkshire’s live music scene.

As their style developed from pop to more folk and country vibes, they decided to soften their name and image to emulate the whimsical genre.

“We wanted a word that not many had heard of,” Mila says. “Based on Zoe’s Cypriot heritage we started looking at Greek goddesses and mythology. We came across Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, which led us to Eletto which means elected or the chosen one in Italian.”

As Eletto, they continued to write songs together to showcase both Mila’s soprano and Zoe’s mezzo soprano voices in mesmerising harmony.

“Barnsley Youth Choir gave us both good vocal techniques. You can be good at singing but being part of a choir turns your voice into a voice. We wouldn’t have been able to perform like we do, or had the confidence to do it, had we not been involved in the choir,” Mila says.

They take inspiration from other leading female voices on the folk and country scene such as Emmy-Lou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Swedish duo First Aid Kit. As well as their stunning vocals, both are self-taught musicians; Zoe plays piano and Mila the acoustic guitar, skills learned by watching YouTube tutorials throughout the Covid lockdowns.

(c) Beth Chamberlain

Off the back of their debut single Northern Sun, which they released last September, their four-track EP hit the streaming sites in April.

First up is Fool, a country-inspired track with a lot of heartache and little bit of humour about going against every good piece of relationship advice and falling in love with the bad boy.

Ballad Danced With a Stranger is about dealing with grief of a broken relationship and trying to move on against constant reminders of him.

You could call the catchy Hey Yah! the star of the EP.  With a bit of ‘90s alt-rock influence, it explores the frustration of being a young woman wanting to be taken seriously in the music industry. The EP’s tongue-in-cheek title I Wanna Be The Star is taken from the lyrics ‘I don’t wanna be the groupie, I wanna be the star.’ 

And the final track is Out of My Mind, a fast-paced song with a touch of classic rock headbanging that delves into the conflicting, whirlwind emotions of love and lust.  

(c) Beth Chamberlain

Eletto worked with producer Mark Walker and sound engineer Dan Richmond to record the EP at Eigher Studios in Leeds.

“Mark has been on tour with The Jacksons and Beverley Knight, so having someone like him believe in us and want to help has been amazing. The same with Dan, he knew what sound we wanted before we did and brought in different drums and instruments to get things just right,” Mila says.

As well as releasing new music together, both Mila and Zoe will be graduating this year; Zoe with a music degree from Barnsley College, and Mila with a degree in fashion management and communications from Sheffield Hallam.

But the main goal is music.

Now that the EP has been launched, Eletto wants to build their fan base by doing more gigs around the county, riding on the appetite for country music fuelled by a certain Queen Bey. They’ve already performed at the likes of Wentworth Woodhouse and the Piece Hall in Halifax, as well as supported artists such as Wildes, Sonni Mills, and China Crisis.

Mila says they’d love to get a manager and take their music to the next level – and there are already plans for a second EP this winter.

I Wanna Be The Star is now available on all major streaming platforms as well as Eletto’s YouTube channel. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram for more updates.