I have been talking with the fantastic Elise Fawcett…
as she tells me about her new cut, Reign. I ask whether we might see more music coming and, as a teenager, if she feels a particular pressure from the industry and fans – Fawcett reveals albums that mean a lot to her and which upcoming artists we need to get behind.
The Canadian songwriter talks about how music came into her life and what she wants to achieve before the end of the year; the advice she would provide musicians emerging; how she spends her free time – she ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Elise. How are you? How has your week been?
Super-busy, but that’s how I like it!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi. I’m Elise Fawcett; an up-and-coming Alternative-Pop/R&B artist from Calgary, Canada.
Reign is your new single. What is the tale behind the song?
Reign is a song about claiming back power within yourself after someone else has taken that away from you, specifically someone you loved and trusted. I wrote it when I was fifteen-years-old after I had ended a toxic relationship and, instead of focusing on my anger towards myself for being weak in that relationship, I focused it on the strength and self-awareness I had gained from experiencing it.
There is a nice mix of R&B and Electro-Pop; embers of Lana Del Rey and Halsey. Was it a good song to put together and work on?
Yes. I enjoyed every second of it! I’ve been in the studio many times in my life and worked on many tracks but Reign is by far my favorite song I’ve worked on. I’d also say it’s the first song I’ve released that has really captured my sound and voice as an artist. I remember the first time I heard the finished track; I got so excited I couldn’t stop dancing. Haha.
Might we see more material next year?
Yes! Actually, I’ll be releasing another single next month! I plan to release a new single every month till the end of this year.
When did music come into your life? Which artists did you follow when you were young?
Music has always been in my life for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was eight-years-old, I’ve been writing, performing and recording. I also grew up in a home full of music, mostly due to my dad being in a band when he was younger. So, I was exposed to bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and U2 at a young age. I also listened to a TON of Rihanna and Avril Lavigne.
You are still seventeen! Do you feel there is a pressure for artists your age to sound a particular way?!
I am! As for pressure on teenagers to sound a certain way, I think that people my age face the same pressure that artists of all ages face: to sound like the big names in music. However, I do feel like there is a certain pressure on teenage artists when it comes to writing, especially because older people often think we’re too young to write about the things we do or too young to know what that feels like.
It makes it hard to sing about mature topics to adult audiences when they’re expecting a seventeen-year-old to sing about cheesy love or high-school and, suddenly, I come out singing some dark stuff about drug addicts and toxic relationships. As you can imagine, it’s also decently awkward when it’s adults you know, or worse, your parents.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
By the end of 2018, I plan to have released at least four singles, each gaining more attention than the last. I plan to have grown my following x10 bigger and I hope to achieve Spotify playlist placements and radio airplay. I plan to be collaborating with other artists and producers from outside of Calgary. I also plan to have put on my very own live show in Calgary.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
My favourite memory would be when I was eight-years-old and I participated in my first singing competition. My music wasn’t working but, instead of moving my performance to another day, I decided to sing my song Angels Among Us acapella. Despite being nervous, I was able to put on my best performance during that competition and was able to make one of the judges from Julliard cry.
It was a super-humbling experience because it made me realize how music can make people feel things and I wanted to be able to stop people for three-four minutes in their day and have them just listen and relate and feel understood.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Badlands by Halsey
My favourite album of all-time. Each song on there has been my favourite at some point and it has my all-time favourite song, Colours. It was Halsey’s debut album and opened my eyes to her style of sound and writing which I had never heard anywhere else. I felt like it was made for me. Honestly, wish I wrote it.
Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
I adore and know all the words to all Lana’s songs but Born to Die is next level. The album is timeless and iconic and will be the soundtrack for my life till I die - Carmen, This Is What Makes Us Girls; Video Games and Million Dollar Man are all songs I wish I wrote and will try to recreate forever.
Wiped Out! by The Neighbourhood
Such a crazy, unique vibe with so many trippy beats and experimental sounds. Makes me want to roll down the windows and drive along the ocean in California. Every song is perfect.
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
I don’t have any tour dates currently, although I am planning some upcoming performances at local venues in Calgary. Stay tuned!
Will you come to the U.K. and play at some point?
I have no plans to yet but I would absolutely love to sometime in the future.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’d say to be true to yourself and your art. No one knows your art better than yourself and no one else is you. That’s what makes your art so cool and different. Lean into yourself as much as you can and show the weirdest parts; that’s how you build something super awesome and unique. People don’t want to listen to a copy of another artist: they want to listen to something they haven’t heard before.
IN THIS PHOTO: Billie Eilish/PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Hassett for PAPER
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I try to work on music at least once a day but I always make time to get out of the house as well. Most nights I’m out with friends hanging out or going to different kinds of events and, during the day, I like to work out or go for coffee. Reading books or watching films are also big favorites for me - and are beneficial because they usually give me most of my inspiration for songs.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
The Night We Met by Lord Huron. My favourite song
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