The Christmas before last, Eliza Caird — better known as just ELIZA — recorded a live performance for Berlin-based YouTube music platform COLORS, as part of their ongoing series of “shows” spotlighting exciting young artists all over the world. Against a bright violet backdrop and wearing a sheer dress of the same colour, the London-born singer’s rendition of her 2017 track “Wasn’t Looking” was so bewitchingly hypnotic it’s currently racked up over 11 million views. Over a seductive funk bass line, she delivers its chorus: “you wasn’t looking for love; but you never met a girl like me, baby” like she knows you’ve already fallen head over heels.
A year later, almost to the day, “Wasn’t Looking” became the opening song on her latest album, A Real Romantic. Marking a departure from the more pop-led sound of her previous music (released under moniker Eliza Doolitle), most of its nine tracks are original demos, layering textured percussion with silvery vocals for a finish that feels effortlessly half-undone and leaves you feeling just the same.
Fresh off the back of her sold-out UK tour this spring, Eliza told us more about making the album, performing it live and escapism through music.
WL: Hey Eliza! So A Real Romantic was one of our favourite records of 2018. What inspired its creation?
E: Thank you! I was finding my feet and touching the sky at the same time – on loads of adventures, parties, dancing, travelling. Also getting in touch with my insides and the memories that have been in me since before I was here, the hand-me-downs of the foremothers and nature. Trying to tune into what my senses were telling me, and also escaping from the hard and crazy world. Trump and Brexit were first happening when I started writing and I was filled with sadness and confusion, so wanting to find my truth and escape to that.
WL: It’s a welcome escape… The whole album feels very natural and stripped
back – why did you choose to stick with the original demos for most
of the tracks?
E: All I know is: whatever comes out in the spark of creation when the idea first arrives is magic. And I never want to lose that. You can keep building and playing as long as the emotion prevails.
WL: And you took the album on tour around the UK earlier this year – what does it feel like to perform an album like A Real Romantic live?
E: It’s my favourite place to be, sharing my feels with people and pushing back and forth on each other’s reactions. It’s the first time I’ve played this new music live and it was exactly how I’d imagined it.
WL: What kind of energy do you want your audience to feel during those performances?
E: Movement in their bodies – freedom to dance, or movement on the inside. The freedom to let their souls swell. I’d love that for them, and everyone.
WL: Is there anything you’d like to be known for championing?
E: Making a healthier environment, whether that’s the thoughts we have about ourselves and others, or the actual air we breathe. Obviously my channel is music, and I use that to help myself and anyone who tunes in. Ideally, the main goal is for humanity and all life to progress to a higher
state of consciousness, collectively.
WL: What are you working on right now and where can we catch the Eliza experience next?
E: Lots of festivals this summer! Playing at Glastonbury, if you’re gonna be there? And I’m spending the whole of June weaving together the next project, which I’ve started, but needs delving deeper into. Back with more as soon as it’s ready for your ears, and as soon as your ears are ready for it…