If introspection and soul-baring lyricism is what you are after today, Erica Manzoli is the artist for you. Bursting onto the scene with the melancholic-tinged cut that dreams are made of, Erica’s “My Best Friend Is My Therapist” is a haunting ode to the mental health pressures that were induced by the pandemic, delivered by syrupy vocals akin to those of Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish. With a music video also featuring, in which the artist takes to a piano whilst pouring her heart out, it becomes clear that her artistry knows no bounds, meaning that the news of a debut EP release later this year becomes all the more exciting to hear.
When discussing how the new track came to be, Erica explains, “It actually came out as a bit of an accident! I posted a short clip of it online in my bedroom and got such an enthusiastic response that I decided to finish it. I tend to write my melodies first, which often surprises people because of how lyrical my songs are, and then I let the vibe of the song dictate the topic. It feels most natural that way.”
Upon the release of the new track, the singer-songwriter took some time to chat with Wonderland about mental health, crafting music in solitude and which artists she is listening to right now. Head below to enjoy our interview with Erica Manzoli…
Hi Erica, how are you today?
Hey! I’m great, thanks. So overwhelmed with the reception I’ve received after releasing my first song, first video and announcing my first headline show.
Congratulations on your debut single, “My Best Friend Is My Therapist”! It began as a bedroom project, could you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
Yes, it actually came out as a bit of an accident! I posted a short clip of it online in my bedroom and got such an enthusiastic response that I decided to finish it. I tend to write my melodies first, which often surprises people because of how lyrical my songs are, and then I let the vibe of the song dictate the topic. It feels most natural that way.
Have you always wanted to pursue music? Or was there ever anything else you wanted to do?
Yes, although I was a terrible singer at the time! I look back at videos of me singing into a hairbrush at 11 and can’t help but smile – and cringe. I was extremely shy as a child but the moment I performed I was a totally different person.
The lockdown was isolating for a lot of people. How does it feel to know so many people can resonate with your lyrics?
Genuinely so warm and happy. The funny thing about low moods is that a lot of the time you feel even more isolated because you’re convinced you’re the odd one out and no one feels the same. I always have this image in my head of someone at a party feeling lonely, looking at everyone having fun and pretending to be on the same level and not realising that’s what everyone else in the room is also doing. Being honest has really helped me own a lot of the things I had bottled up. The next single I’m putting out is my most personal yet, and I’ve got more music coming soon that stems from that period of lockdown where I was writing a lot of very self-reflective music which delves into my experience of depersonalisation and derealisation, love, and the love/hate battle I have with myself. It’s quite daunting at first when you’re putting so much of yourself out into the world, but it’s been so warming to see people resonate with it, and I hope that continues.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? What was it about?
Fortunately not! I don’t think it would have been very good! However, the first song I remember writing and being proud of is one I wrote after my dog passed when I was seventeen called Toffee. It was really cute, I played it to my family and cried.
You play the piano, are there any other instruments you play or want to learn how to play?
Growing up I went to a Saturday music school where I played flute in a youth orchestra, I loved the flute but the children there were incredible and I felt very out of my league haha, so I used to pop the wires out of place on purpose and pretend my flute was broken so I didn’t have to play! I absolutely love the piano, mum had one in the house when I was growing up and always played “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” by Micheal Nyman and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. I used to play around with it as a kid and ended up teaching myself a little.
Who would you cite as your biggest musical inspirations?
That’s always a hard one! To be honest, my parents didn’t introduce me to any of the obvious musical icons out there. I grew up listening to the Black Eyed Peas and Eminem’s Relapse album. I’m very visually influenced; movies like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom always massively stuck with me. To me, music is so much more than just sound, it’s an entire feeling, and I want to transport someone into my own quirky world like Moonrise Kingdom when they hear my songs. I get inspiration from everywhere, but some artists that I really enjoy listening to at the moment are Holly Humberstone, Gracie Abrams and Sufjan Stevens. If I could listen to one song for the rest of my life it would be “Northsiders” by Christian Lee Hudson – it’s one of the most lyrically touching songs I’ve heard in a long time.
Looking ahead, what are your hopes and plans for 2022 and beyond?
I can’t wait to perform live! My first headline show is on May 5th at The Waiting Room in London, so I’m very excited and nervous about that. I’m also releasing my EP! It’s a very personal project written all alone at home and it felt like the perfect introduction. I was super anxious about releasing “My Best Friend is My Therapist”, but now it’s out, I’ve realised it’s not that scary and I’m so excited to share everything else I’ve been working on. So yes, lots of music and lots of gigs! Very proud and very happy.