- Words Lauren Ablondi Olivo
With her eclectic, unique sound and deeply relatable lyrics, ELIO is making a name for herself as one of the most relatable artists putting out music today.
The Wales native, who moved to Canada as a child, found a love of writing and making music as a creative outlet for her exuberant adolescent emotions and personal life. After suffering a family loss and feeling out of place in her new home, the songwriter escaped to her bedroom to create a world of melodies and words.
ELIO focuses on shared feelings of loneliness, heartbreak and vulnerability in her songs, with a specific focus on the unique experiences of the Gen-Z generation, such as online friendships and coming of age in today’s climate.
With a blend of synthy-pop and heartfelt lyrics in her work, the artist has amassed a loyal following which is sure to grow in coming years.
Her debut EP, ‘u and me, but mostly me’ was met with success and critical press acclaim. The latest single from the dynamic artist, “hurts 2 hate somebody”, is off of her soon to be released sophomore EP, ‘Can You Hear Me Now’.
We got to chat with ELIO about some of her biggest influences, where she draws her inspiration, and what we should look out for from her next
Talk to me about your recent single, “Jackie Onassis”! What was the inspiration behind that song?
“Jackie…” was inspired by my life before I started releasing music. It’s basically a reflection on when I was working 9-5, going to school, wasting time around town with my friends and kind of waiting for my life to start as opposed to just doing something I actually loved doing. It’s that feeling where you just want to go somewhere just to go somewhere and do something just to do something, but also touching upon the complications that come with that. Why do I have to work to make money? Why can’t I just get on a plane, drink and be selfish forever? We all have a social responsibility and as much as we’d all love to be 60’s socialites, it’s not that simple. Sorry to dampen the vibe haha
How has your creative process changed or stayed the same because of COVID-19? Do you still like to work mostly alone, or have you found that now that you’re forced to, it’s lost its charm?
It’s definitely lost its charm haha. I wanna buy a house and ship all my favourite writers and producers in and talk and make music and never leave. In all seriousness though, I’m pretty self-sufficient when it comes to writing and producing, even if I write a song with another producer or songwriter, I always end up taking it home and finishing it myself. I just miss being creative with people 🙁
You touch on topics that seem really specific to our own generation (that weird, in-between of being a millennial or Gen-Z), such as loneliness, finding community online, the toxicity that sometimes comes with the internet, passion for global issues, wanting to be selfish but realizing we can’t afford that luxury, etc. What pushes you to write songs about these experiences?
It’s my liiiife. I only write about things that are happening to me on the day to day that I can connect with. All that stuff is just my entire existence, it just so happens that everyone aged 13-30 is thinking the same thing, why are we so emotional?? DAMN.
Who are some of your biggest influences and idols, not just necessarily in the music industry?
I don’t know a lot about anyone outside of the music industry to be honest (kind of sad isn’t it). There are musicians that influence me artistically like Taylor Swift, SZA, The 1975, Kacey Musgraves, Troye Sivan etc. but I feel like there are so many people that influence me in so many ways I couldn’t possibly pick. My friends! My friends are pretty amazing people, I don’t mind them.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a song, who would it be and why?
Ariana Grande. I just want her to sing me into retirement.
You have a lot of creative control in both your songs and videos. Where do you think you get the most inspiration for your look, sound, and vibe? It strikes me as very 90’s/2000’s, in a good way!
I get it from allll over the place. Movies, shows, artwork, anything and everything. I’m not a very 90’s/2000’s nostalgic person, I never know any of the shows or movies or famous people, I was very much in my own little bubble of existence. My Friends Online definitely immersed itself in that world though, but each song looks and feels different to me. When I’m producing a song I can literally see the artwork and the video and it’s so exciting to piece it all together.
You just recently wrote a song for K-Pop group Tomorrow X Together. Tell me about how that all came together?
Yeah! My managers sent me the instrumental track during PEAK lockdown so it was nice to have something fun but also topical to work on. I wasn’t really expecting it to come out, to be honest, or if it did, I was expecting them to keep like 10 seconds of something I did but here we are. Very stoked to have worked on that.
What’s been your biggest “I’ve made it” moment so far throughout your career?
Lucy Hale used my song on a reel the other day and I was like HUH lil old ME? Also, Troye Sivan said he liked “My Friends Online” in an interview which was pretty crazy.
Three songs you haven’t been able to stop listening to lately?
“Life in a Video” by The Accents
“34+35” by queen Ariana Grande
“Homebody” by Valley
What’s next for ELIO?
Lots of coffee, a potential Gilmore Girls rewatch, I have a blood test tomorrow, I’ve released a new song [“hurts 2 hate somebody”] and finishing some others. Keepin’ busy.