Meet ELIZA, London's Best Kept Secret
“I tend to like lots of rich and warm colors, textures, silkiness and slinkiness. Same about the music, it’s got to be delicious,” says London singer and overall culture veteran ELIZA.
Formerly known as Eliza Doolittle, the songstress started out on stage. Just a couple of productions in, she swapped West End plays for the muddy pits of Glastonbury and got her first tape remixed by the legendary Jamie XX.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Ms. Doolittle began gracing the line-ups of Coachella, worked with Vic Mensa, and even went platinum. Deciding to pause on a high note, ELIZA took a three year hiatus to further her staple sound and develop a new batch of visuals.
These days, ELIZA is taking a stab at directing, maneuvering the indie market, and even designing her own lingerie line. Her latest work comes with an extra pinch of maturity and complexity.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, we met ELIZA at Shyness Space in the heart of Shoreditch to talk independence, self-respect, creative development, all things hedonistic, and, most importantly, her upcoming studio album. Dive into our conversation with the British songstress below.
You’ve been part of the London scene for about a decade now. How does it feel? How’s it changed?
For me, it’s changed massively. I think it’s less of the industry using you to put music out. Now, you’re figuring out the ways to use the industry to put your stuff out. London is always changing – along with everywhere else in the world. The venues are obviously disappearing. The positive aspect to that is that you get to make your own party, find your own fun and get more creative with the ways you put your music out there.
What have been some of the most important friendships and collaborative relationships in your career?
There’s this whole support system happening in London, I feel like people are encouraging really authentic art. NTS is amazing, I put out my first mixtape with them on their radio and Boiler Room has got some brilliant community events popping off. There’s a thirst for honesty, a thirst for something that moves you entirely. And all the friends and loves I’ve made all over the place are what inspires me every day. I’m making great friends every day, collaborating, meeting with minds, learning about individual experiences and sharing my own.
And what have been some of the conceptual or emotional inspirations behind your recent work?
I think it all coincides with the same idea of doing what you want to do, whether it’s the work you’re making or the life you’re living. It’s about being who you are, being selfish and that being a great thing. Being more like yourself. If you love what you do it’s amazing if somebody else loves it too. It’s more likely that they will if you love it yourself.
And how did you overcome that barrier of constantly questioning yourself and your work?
I think I just started to enjoy it. I learnt to enjoy myself.
How are you picking the tracks for your next release? Are there any trusted A&Rs that you’re working with or is it all done by you?
It’s all about what moves me. This is the thing, where I’m at right now, I haven’t got anyone in my ear telling me what they think. It’s nice to have friends in music that I get to play stuff to. Even then, I’m only playing them stuff that I know is moving me.
Completely! What about your visual branding? How do you tie the two together, and how would you describe it?
I don’t know why I find certain things beautiful. I tend to like lots of rich and warm colors, textures, silkiness and slinkiness. Same about the music, it’s got to be delicious. You have to just want it. What’s the point otherwise?
Tell me about your last music video for LIVID. You directed it, right?
I had the idea on a plane from Japan to Los Angeles. I was supposed to try to sleep on the flight, but I had seen a location and started picturing it in my head. I started typing every single frame, I knew exactly what I wanted. I’ve never had that before, it was so clear in my head.
Did you find it hard to translate the music into something visual and explain it to others?
No, because I knew exactly what was going to happen. For the first time in my life, I had every single frame in my head.
And do you want to do more of that right now?
One hundred percent. It’s completely opened my mind to just feeling capable, I guess. I don’t feel like it’s something someone else has to do. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t work with other amazing people, I like collaborating, but I think it just meant that I can get involved now. It’s been really eye-opening.
Tell me about your gigs. I hear you perform with a full band?
Yes, I just started performing again. We’ve done two gigs so far. It’s where I’m meant to be, on stage. Some people get nervous, but I don’t mind being ‘audienced’. Some people don’t like being audienced and some people do. I like to get up there and show what I’ve got, for whatever reason. I feel so happy when I’m on stage. My next project is so much more, music is the core of it but it’s a proper experience.
And now you’re about to go on holiday. You mentioned Greece?
Oh my god, yea. I just want to look at the ocean for like a week and take all the pressure off myself. It’s funny, I’ve been working towards releasing and sharing this project for so long that, like, I didn’t really realize the pressure that I put on myself. I just really need to take myself away. I haven’t been on holiday in ages. Swimming in the ocean, the amount that heals me… I just kind of feel like I belong on an island somewhere, but I don’t know how possible that’d be.
Photographer & Writer: Undine Markus
Stylist: Daisy Deane
Make-up: Emma Regan
Special thanks to www.shyness.space