Born in Warnsveld (Netherlands) on 7 October 1967, Ellen ten Damme grew up in the village of Roden. She studied Dutch at the University of Groningen. She then received preliminary training at the Hilversum Conservatory and the Kleinkunstacademie in Amsterdam, where she concentrated on playing the piano. Later she also started to focus on violin and guitar. As a teenager she was a top gymnast and trained about three hours a day. She stopped gymnastics at the age of sixteen, but this had laid the foundation for her sometimes acrobatic theater shows.
Ten Damme sang in various film soundtracks. As a singer she performed with the band Soviet Sex. In 1995 she released her first solo album, Kill Your Darlings (1995). It was followed by I Am Here (2001). In 2005 she took part in the preliminary rounds of the German national final for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Plattgeliebt’ without winning. The song was an anti-war song directed against George W. Bush and his policies on Iraq.
In 2007 she released her third solo album Impossible Girl, followed by Dare you? in 2009. As part of the Carré World Summer Festival, Ten Damme performed from 5 to 30 August 2009 in the international circus show Cirque Stiletto, specially created around her. It was followed by the theatre tour Dare you? with a CD of the same name. In this she sang Dutch songs by, among others, poet Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer.
In 2014 she released the album Berlin, consisting of German-language songs, accompanied by The Magpie Orchestra. The Dutch-language album Alles Draait followed a year later. In 2017, the French-language album Paris was released, also with The Magpie Orchestra. The Casablanca theater tour started in 2019. The album of the same name was released in December of that year.
In 2023 Ellen ten Damme released Barock, an album with songs in Dutch, English, French and German. It featured several cover versions, such as ‘La Bohème’ (Charles Aznavour), ‘One Way Or Another’ (Blondie) and Kate Bush’s Army Dreamers and Under Ice.