Vibrant local indigenous songstress ELEEA has certainly not let the challenges of staying creative and productive in the midst of a pandemic reign in her momentum. Having released her Spanish-inspired, sassy pop single, ‘Red Wine’ barely one month ago, she’s quickly followed it up with a heartfelt new number ‘I’d Beg’.
Further showcasing her emotive storytelling and dynamic vocals, the new single has actually had somewhat of a lengthy gestation period, as ELEEA explains.
“’I’d Beg’ is a song that has evolved with me over the years. I wrote it back in 2016 during a crazy, creative time, then almost forgot about it. It sounded a bit different then though, with a few lyrical variations that changed the meaning completely.
“As I was flipping through my old songbooks during isolation last year, I came across it again and absentmindedly posted a short video on my Instagram. It’s quite tricky to play on the guitar, so I rarely ever played this song, but it got a surprisingly strong reaction online, which urged me to revisit it.
“During my home demo process, I rewrote the lyrics to feel relevant to more recent situations, which really helped me to deeply connect to the song. I sent my demo through to my producer, Brad Hosking (Amy Shark, Ella Fence), who also said he heard a lot of potential in it.
“Finally getting into the studio and hearing Brad work his magic on it with the drums and extra instrumentation has made me so excited. Working with a new producer on a new project allowed me to play with my sound, and I’m really excited about where we’ve landed with this single.
“Thematically, ‘I’d Beg’ is a bit of a continuation from ‘Red Wine’, focusing on the very end of a relationship when one person has made their mind up and the other is powerless to change their mind or the situation.
“Sonically, they both feature 808 beats, fingerpicked electric guitar and pretty heart-wrenchingly honest lyrics (my favourite), but Red Wine had an upbeat Latin sound to the chorus, as it was inspired by my travels in Spain. ‘I’d Beg’ is more of a ballad and allowed me to show the softer, higher elements of my voice, which helped convey the emotion in this track.”
ELEEA was playing a lot of live shows prior to the pandemic and spent a huge amount of her time travelling. We asked her how her psyche and creative output was affected by the lockdown.
“Last year was definitely a huge transition! I usually play 100+ gigs and travel for a third of each year, and 2020 was set to be an incredible year of music and travel all over New Zealand and Europe. As an independent artist and a freelancer in the music and travel industries, it was personally and professionally quite unsettling.
In terms of song writing, creativity can be unpredictable and I found it came in waves last year.
I wrote a dozen songs about the life changes immediately after COVID hit, then nothing for months. I then travelled to Tasmania for three months in July and wrote another 10 tracks on my guitar during my two week hotel quarantine, then filled half a songbook with piano ballads during all the time I spent by myself in the freezing cold winter down there.
“Lucky for me, I usually write when I’m working through negative emotions or experiences, so I tried to channel all of my fears and down moments into music. Pouring any negativity into my creative outlets helped me stay rooted in gratitude for the relatively easy time we had here on the Gold Coast. Some of my friends overseas are still in lockdown today or have lost family members to COVID, so I always tried to check my privilege and remember how lucky I am.
“Admittedly, it was quite hard to keep my momentum up when my income and plans had been slashed, when the industry didn’t seem to be reviving and we, as musicians and creatives, were constantly told we were non-essential. But I love what I do so much, it’s never been an option not to do it, so I just tried to stay grateful and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I ended up working really hard last year, which has set me up for a big year of releases now.”
And there’s plenty on her radar for the 2021.
“I was lucky to receive a Regional Arts Development Fund grant at the beginning of the year, which has really propelled the recording of my next releases and the creation of all the visual assets, meaning the next 12 months is going to be very exciting!
“This year has already seen my songs in the finals of the Queensland Music Awards and APRA Professional Development Awards (along with Jeremy Marou, Baker Boy and Robbie Miller), as well as included in AMRAP First Sounds, which sees Indigenous artists’ music featured on community radio stations all over Australia.
“Coming up, I’m really looking forward to more band and festival performances, including headlining Brisbane’s Junk Bar for the launch show for ‘I’d Beg’ on 30 July, followed by performances at Hidden Lanes Festival on 14 August, and some other festivals that are soon to be announced. So exciting!”
ELEEA’s moving new single, ‘I’d Beg’, is released on 9 July. Check out her Spotify below: