By combining groovy, upbeat instrumentation with a contagiously catchy, well convicted vocal - Eliza May certainly provides a refreshing spark of sunshine to the Alt Indie/Pop worlds.
Her latest EP 'The Fall' showcases a unique blend of influences ranging including Corinne Bailey Rae, Tori Kelly and Paramore. We caught up with the Birmingham based singer songwriter to find out more...
So why the name Eliza May?
I decided to go with the name Eliza May because I wanted to have a stage name that was still linked to me. I also wanted it to be a catchy name that people could easily remember so I chose to use my middle names.
If you had to explain your sound in just one sentence, what would it be?
I'd say my sound is Alternative Indie Pop; think Tori Kelly meets Frank Turner and Skinny Living.
What do you play?
As well as being a singer/songwriter, I also play guitar, saxophone, clarinet and keys. I'm currently trying to write songs where I can bring out my saxophone or clarinet so I have an excuse to play them live.
When did you start making music?
I've been singing since the age of three years old, but I actually started writing and making my own music around the age of eleven. From eleven years old onward I was writing a lot, trying to find my sound and at the age of seventeen I wrote Fading Away. It was my first song that sounded exactly how I wanted it to so when I was releasing my EP The Fall, I made sure that track was on there.
What have been your best moments as a musician so far?
There have been many amazing moments in my career as a musician, but there are two moments which really stand out for me. Playing Brighton Pride 2018 alongside my best friend and drummer Jakob Biddle, and performing inside the O2 in London.
Brighton Pride was a really big moment for me because it was the first big festival I'd ever played and it was also the same weekend as my twenty-first birthday. To be able to play my songs to such a lovely and accepting audience was a wonderful feeling and to do this alongside my best friend for my twenty-first birthday was such an amazing experience.
Being invited to perform inside the O2 in London was another one of my favourite moments too, because not only was I able to play inside a huge venue that most musicians dream of playing, but it was for such a good cause as well. Nordoff Robbins is the UK's largest independent music therapy charity so to be able to raise money and awareness for them was incredible. I work for a few music charities and companies so being able to perform and support Nordoff Robbins in such a cool way was a pleasure and something I'm really passionate about.
What can we expect from a Eliza May live show?
Lots and lots of harmonies! I'm obsessed with fitting harmonies into all of my songs because I feel like they really bring the lyrics to life in such a special way. You can also expect amazing guitar solos, raw emotion and overall a good time. We encourage people to dance, move and express yourself however they want at my shows. As long as people are enjoying themselves and the music, that's all that matters.
If you could support any band/artist, who would it be and why?
I think I've got two choices for this questions. It'd have to be either Paramore or Oh Wonder. I've chosen Paramore because I grew up listening to them all the time when I was younger, and to this day I still love their music so much. their songs got me through my teenage years and were one of the main inspirations for me wanting to be in a band.
To support Oh Wonder would also be amazing because they way they create music is insane. Their songs have a way of touching the soul and are put together in such a clever and unique way through the use of synths, lyrics and catchy melodies. I recently went to one of their gigs and was inspired by the way their songs came to life on stage. They also seem like very lovely people.
The music industry can be incredibly difficult, especially for upcoming music artists - what has your experience been like so far balancing ‘doing musician things’ with also running the business side?
When I was starting out, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing at all. I was busking in Birmingham every week just so I had a way of getting my name out there and eventually I started going to open mics too, because they seemed like an easy way to perform. After a few months of busking and playing open mics, I went off to university to study popular music and this was probably the best decision I've ever made. I learned a lot about the music industry, how to get myself out there, and I also spent a lot of time fine tuning my sound. It taught me about the beauty of collaboration and networking with people. I've been involved in some amazing projects and had so much fun working with other people on music and their creative ideas.
I'd say overall, being a musician and juggling the business and performance side can be tough, but it's 100% worth it and a lot of fun. I'm my own manager, promoter, designer, technician and songwriter with no limitations. I'm able to express myself in the exact way that I want to and just have fun with all my work. I've had so many incredible opportunities sent my way and because I had to deal with everything on my own, I've learned and gained skills that I wouldn't necessarily have if I had let a manager or anyone else handle them. If I could give any other upcoming musicians any advice, it would be to take as many opportunities as possible and be your own DIY artist for as long as you can, because having full control of your musical experience and seeing how far you can go is a blessing. Being a musician can take you literally anywhere and the best part about it is the journey you go on along the way.
Who are 3 other bands/music artists that we should all go and check out?
If I had to choose three other bands or artists to check out right now it would be Ellisha Green, Amella Wallace and Jessie Dipper. They're all amazing musician friends of mine who have their own unique styles and sounds. They're all working on cool projects at the moment so they're definitely ones to check out!
What’s next for Eliza May?
Lots of exciting stuff is in the works at the moment. I've been working on my second EP alongside my band. All the tracks are written so we're in the process of recording things now. I'm aiming to start releasing some of the singles from the EP later on this year. I'm also doing a lot of YouTube videos at the moment as a way of still being able to perform and showcase my music during the current state of the world.
When it's safe to go outside and gig again, my band and I will be performing at The Actress and Bishop in Birmingham and will be gigging as much as we can for the rest of the year, so keep an eye on my website and socials for any upcoming gigs.
Eliza May's latest EP 'The Fall' is available now on Spotify!