Meet the Latvian-born singer-songwriter chasing her childhood dream.
“I really want to keep going, hope for the best and work hard, to make sure ever- ything that’s in my vision for 2020 happens…”
Singer-songwriter ELIZZA, or Eliza Salinieka to those who know her, has set her sights on success this decade and she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get there. Sitting down to chat on a warmer than usual January morning, the London sun is equally matched by her bubbling energy, and as she fills me in on her journey, her writing process and future plans, I can’t help but feel inspired myself about the possibility of chasing after something.
At the age of 18, after years of classical training and violin lessons, Latvian-born ELIZZA moved to London to attend BIMM – the prestigious British and Irish Modern Music Institute – where she studied popular music performance. “That’s kind of when I started taking it seriously and thinking that I could actually, really do this… I wanted to give two hundred percent and try to make it. There was nothing else that I wanted so bad,” she tells me earnestly, and it shows – even between questions, ELIZZA is scrolling through paragraphs of notes she’s prepared on her phone.
After graduating from music school in 2014, ELIZZA worked with a range of respected music producers to hone a sound she describes as “dreamy, poetic, honest,” but like many artists, she finds being asked to characterise her music a tough question to answer. Edgy pop beats, soaring vocals and recurring electronic influences fuse to create something that we both recognise as “not just pop and not just R&B”, without coming to agreement on a definitive genre. The elasticity of a career in its nascent stages affords her an elusive sound, which, she tells me, keeps evolving as she listens to new music and draws fresh inspiration from artists in her orbit.
While still starting out, ELIZZA has been fortunate in her experience with industry producers and is quick to gush about her work with J.AR.J on her most recent single, “Can’t Quit”, released towards the end of 2019. “Producers know me better than my friends,” she says on their collaboration, “because I tell them everything. It’s just easy, because I guess we’re on the same page and we know what the music is about. It has to be honest and truthful.” In this case, the pulsing track paints a crazed love story of toxic addiction, with energetic beats and glittering synthesised production. From her enthusiasm for her producer, I’m curious what her writing process was like for the song, to which ELIZZA admits she recorded a short voice note of the chorus on a plane ride to Las Vegas over Halloween, before perfecting almost the whole track with JRJ in one day.
Now hot off the heels of her third single, summery pop banger “Want To Keep”, the singer has proved that she’s no doubt one to watch. “It’s very exciting, but at the same time, it’s scary,” she muses, reflecting on the fast-paced turn her career is taking. “Because, I don’t know… I can’t predict the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just love where I’m at at the moment with the people I’m working with, the feedback I’m getting.” From what she tells me, whatever 2020 has in store, there’s nothing stopping ELIZZA’s steadfast commitment to chasing her childhood dream.
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