Ella Henderson was 'ready to quit music' before lockdown brought her back to the piano

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Ella Henderson performs during HITS Live 2021 in November. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for BAUER)
Ella Henderson performs during HITS Live 2021 in November. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for BAUER)

Former X Factor star Ella Henderson says she was ready to quit music before the pandemic hit, but found her way back to the piano at her parents' house.

The 26-year-old — who shot to fame on the 2012 series of the ITV reality show — said the pandemic 'couldn't have come at a better time for her' because moving home brought her back to everything that 'grounded' her and gave her the chance to get 'closer to everything that felt like home again'.

Talking to Kate Thornton on the White Wine Question Time podcast, Henderson says she found herself playing the piano one morning, having stepped back from music for her mental health.

She said: "Slowly I could hear my mum and dad's feet in the hallway, listening at the door.

"Eventually they came in and they both started crying. And then I started crying because it was a big moment.

WATCH: Ella Henderson on the magical moment she got back behind the piano

"We were just sat there like, you've gone from wanting to quit, we've gone through all this and we've gone through this whole journey as well as a family in the background."

The 'Ghost' singer had struggled with a second album, telling Thornton about her anxiety and a panic attack in an LA Ikea that had led to her needing to step back.

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 30: Ella Henderson performs onstage during day 1 of  Fusion Festival 2014 on August 30, 2014 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
Ella Henderson performs onstage during day 1 of Fusion Festival 2014 on August 30, 2014 (Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)

She said: "I was going to quit music, just before lockdown. I was at the mindset of if every day I wake up [and] feel this heaviness... music for a while didn't feel like it always did."

She had previously told her management she needed to take a break, to hit pause, telling them: "I just want to find me again."

Listen to the full episode to hear Ella talk about being on 'X Factor' at 16 with Rylan and James Arthur and how she made the decision to leave Simon Cowell's label

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Henderson went home to her parents' house, saying it was the first time since she was 14-years-old that she had spend eight weeks with her parents. Two weeks later, the first lockdown was announced.

While she knew many people had struggled for lots of different reasons throughout the pandemic, being back at home took her back to all the things that 'grounded her again', such as drinking tea with her mum and walking the dogs.

"For me personally, for everyone to hit pause and realise how important that is in life, it couldn't have come at a better time in my life. I just felt closer to everything that felt like home to me again," she said.

Ella Henderson sings at Wembley during the Vitality Women's FA Cup Final match between Arsenal Women and Chelsea Women in December 2021. (Photo by Stephanie Meek - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Ella Henderson sings at Wembley during the Vitality Women's FA Cup Final, in December 2021 (Stephanie Meek - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Around three months into the lockdown was when she went up to the piano in her pyjamas one morning, saying it is 'so out of tune', but was the piano she grew up on as a kid. She said her parents never wanted to push her back onto the piano but she had done it for herself.

She said: "I think they always knew that was going to be the place I was gonna probably find hope again. But it came from me and I think that's what was this big vulnerable moment in that living room.

"That was literally the starting point of finishing the album. You can even hear that on the album."

WATCH: Ella Henderson on teenage success, her lockdown romance, and overcoming anxiety to return to music

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