Following on from her breakout year in 2018, the past 12 months have certainly been dynamic and action packed in the world of harp wielding indie-pop chanteuse, Elska.
2019 has seen her hit the road with debut performances in Sydney, Melbourne, at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the National Folk Festival in Canberra and her documentary, ‘Heart + Harp’ was officially selected and screened at four Australian film festivals.
In addition, she was crowned People’s Choice Winner at the 2019 Gold Coast Music Awards (along with finalist nominations for ‘Breakout Artist of the Year’, and ‘Song of the Year’ for her debut single, ‘Boy’). And she even had time to launch her interview-style podcast, ‘Her Creative Hustle’, which celebrates creative, artistic women. In the words of Elska herself: “It has been a crazy, beautiful year of independently managing my blossoming music career and juggling motherhood.”
We recently caught up with her to find out the latest and greatest, as well as where things are heading in 2020 in the world of Elska.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest single?
‘Sweet Girl’ is out now and it is a disco-infused popper! I’m a huge fan of Maggie Rogers and Fleetwood Mac, so musically the track was definitely inspired by the feeling I get when I listen to those artists – a kind of soaring youthfulness, floating across the dancefloor. Lyrically, the song was born out of writing a letter to my younger self. The process saw me dig deep into my heart and unlock some advice I would give myself if I had the chance again. I was that sweet girl whose desire for romance sometimes soured my better judgement, so I wish I could have told myself not to compromise on who I was, for love. While the advice I give in ‘Sweet Girl’ is personal, I really wanted the song to ignite empowerment in others, to spark their own self reflections – what do you wish you could tell your younger self if you had the chance again?
I see that you were recently part of an event called The Space Girls Festival. What was that about, and what was your involvement with it?
Space Girls Festival launched in Gympie in September and was an all-female curated, programmed and performed mini music festival. It featured some kick-ass performances from amazing Queensland female artists including Jaguar Jonze, Ella Fence, Doolie, Andrea Kirwin, The Dennis Sisters, and myself! Space Girls Festival is such an important step forward in an industry that is so heavily male dominant, because not only does it celebrate and showcase artistic women, it encourages young girls to take up more space!
Are you currently working on any new material? And are you taking your music in any new or interesting directions?
Yes and yes! I am currently writing and recording with upcoming Brisbane producer Atom, and taking my music on a lighter, electro pop journey – think Lauv, Vera Blue, Maggie Rogers. I’m really ready to challenge my creativity again and level up my live stage show. Atom and I are keen to perform live together as well, so we could be the next Sneaky Sound System with a harp!
Do you have any major goals for the coming year, 2020?
Musically, I really feel like 2020 is a year I buckle down and write / co-write tonnes of music, and work towards strongly solidifying my ‘sound’. The three singles I have released so far were recorded in the UK more than 2 years ago, and while cohesive, there was a definite exploration of sound between each song. I would really like to work towards creating a strong collection of music in 2020, for world domination in 2021! I would also like to stretch my touring legs a little closer to home and play some more shows around Queensland next year. I’m excited to be performing in Mackay in February – my very first Elska super fans (a couple who came to all of my shows at Airlie Beach Festival of Music) are getting married and they invited me to perform at their wedding. So sweet! So there will definitely be an opportunity for a few more shows heading north!
Can you tell us about your upcoming Live At Bond performance?
The Live At Bond show on 12 January will see me perform alongside my fellow Gold Coast Music Award Winner (and amazing kick-ass woman), San Mei! I’m super excited to be part of Live at Bond 2020 because so many amazing artists have played the event over the years. To think that’s now me, is pretty surreal. Plus I’m hoping I can squeeze in little podcast chat with San Mei too. Stay tuned!
Do you have any other upcoming live shows or tours in the pipeline to plug?
I have just wrapped up performing a very special one-night-only show in Melbourne, alongside ethereal electro darling Woodes (who just toured with Client Liaison). I have a few local Gold Coast performances in December, including the Hinterland Feast at Country Paradise Parklands on 20 December and The Garden Bar at The Star on 29 December.
Be sure to wrap your ears around Elska’s sassy new single, ‘Sweet Girl’, and look out for her in the live realm, including her upcoming Live At Bond performance with San Mei on 12 January.
IMAGE: Bernie Laing and Sharni Quittenton