Q: Beautiful harmonies paired with an RnB-inspired drumbeat, “Didn’t See It Coming” will quickly become a staple in every breakup playlist. Walk us through your writing and production process in making this track. Was “Didn’t See It Coming” inspired by any real-life event?
ELIZABETH: I went through a break-up just before the pandemic. Being in lockdown gave me a lot of time to reflect and I wanted to channel that exhaustion I felt about doing all you can before realising there isn’t anything more you can do. I recorded a demo and all of the vocals at home before reaching out for help with the production. I worked with Jorge Arango Kure for the production and Philip Marsden on mixing/mastering and both of them were an absolute dream, really taking the time to grasp what I wanted the song’s soundscape to be. The whole experience was extremely cathartic.
Q: What do you like the most about songwriting, specifically?
ELIZABETH: I’ve always used songwriting as an outlet. Since I was young I’ve been described as ‘over emotional’ or ‘sensitive’ and I think writing music gives me a space where I’m allowed to be all of those things. I’ve also always felt myself connect to songs and music in a way that no other art form quite does, so I’m a super fan of pop music itself as much as I am writing it.
Q: Not only are you a singer/songwriter, you’re also an arranger. You were asked by the London Contemporary Voices to arrange a choir part to fit Maya Youssef’s “Bombs Turn Into Roses.” How did that opportunity come about and what did you learn from that experience?
ELIZABETH: I have sung and performed with the London Contemporary Voices as part of their choir and one of the things they do really well is to offer people in the chorus opportunities to expand their careers and try new things. They knew I was keen on arranging and so I worked with their frequent arranger Knut Olav Rygnestad on this project. I learned how sometimes keeping things simple is the most effective, especially with arranging it can feel like you need to go out of your way to put your own spin on things but I think we got the balance right of adding some new layers but keeping Maya as the star of the show.
Q: One of your collaborations was even used on Netflix’s Queer Eye. How does it feel to have one of your song’s featured in a show?
ELIZABETH: It’s amazing! The collaboration was for a music library so once it’s out in the world you don’t really know what will happen to it. I had no idea the song was going to be used and found out by watching the episode! I paused it, ran to grab my laptop and played the clip side by side with the track asking my flatmate “They’re the same, right?” I couldn’t believe it. Top lining is definitely something I’d like to do more in the future.
Q: How has your choir background helped develop you as an artist?
ELIZABETH: I think that the voice should be the stand out part of a track and I’m not afraid of pushing vocal range. Choral music is so much about blend and the shapes you use when you sing and I love being able to explore that in pop music, especially with backing vocals. I feel like the opening of ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ shows how much I value this.
Q: What is coming up next for you?
ELIZABETH: I have always wanted to be more of a songwriter than an artist, but ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ was too personal to share with anyone else. Next I’d like to focus on pursuing writing and continuing to add to my portfolio of songs and move towards writing for other artists.
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant