Written by Lauren Rosier
Imagine growing up in a country surrounded by musicians that possess an incredible work ethic. That’s what 17-year-old Elise Eriksen experienced growing up in her native country of Norway.
“Growing up in Norway was really fun. We had the opportunity to be outside all the time and kind of be independent. Everyone kind of lives next to each other, you know. Where I grew up, all my neighbors were my best friends. And you can just walk around and it’s safe and fun. I absolutely loved it. If I have kids one day, I will most definitely raise them there,” Eriksen explained.
Eriksen recently began her music career with her debut single, “Less,” and the reaction to the track has been phenomenal. Without a doubt, growing up around musicians as a child, you can quickly see “the reality of how hard they work, and that they’re real people with real talent.”
She adds, “They work so hard. They’re not just something you see on a billboard, or, you know, some song you hear on the radio. What you hear and what you see represents hours and hours and long nights. I think that’s really important to recognize, and I feel really glad to have learned that early on.”
Music was something that she was always interested in, but really began taking a serious interest in when her singing and piano playing became good enough, and she felt like she had something to say and a message to share.
“I thought that now was the perfect time because, you know, we’re at home all day and it gave me the time to actually launch my career,” Eriksen explained.
That’s an interesting way to look at things because many artists would say quite the opposite because they aren’t able to tour with the pandemic going on. However, Eriksen feels there is a silver lining.
“We’ve been given the time to kind figure out who we are and what we want to do. I’ve had time to work on music, and, you know, get better at my craft,” she admits. “Although collaboration with others has been more difficult, doing everything remotely has opened up a whole new world of technology that makes it easier to chat with people across the world – or even just five houses down!”
Eriksen has been lucky enough to collaborate with some of the greatest songwriters and musicians in the industry, including Julia Michaels and Sasha Sloan. On her song, “Less,” she says the song for her, is “about being disconnected from everyone in the world.”
“I have friends that live in Norway, I have friends that live in New York, I have friends that live in LA, and I’m not able to see any of them because of this pandemic. That was really tough because it wasn’t a gradual thing, but just all of a sudden, everything was shut down. It’s definitely tough. When we reworked the song and added my type of production and the influences I love, such as some funky bass, and R&B/indie influences, it really became something that was mine and I was proud of. It really reflects my personality. [And getting] Julia‘s seal of approval was just the most fantastic feeling. I was so excited,” Eriksen explained about her first song, “Less” and working with Julia Michaels. Also on the track, she was able able to work with Blu DeTiger and Shoffy.
“I met Shoffy, but I haven’t met Blu in-person yet. The video was super fun to film. We started in my hometown in Norway, which was really exciting. We were able to film at a bunch of different locations because the pandemic hadn’t really hit yet when got everything together. Meeting Shoffy was super fun, because, you know, we’d already been in contact over email for so many months. Getting to see him in person was super nice. Filming the video was great, and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to, so I was just thrilled,” explained Eriksen.
Eriksen’s most recent song, “Smile,” allowed her to work with the wonderful Sasha Sloan. “Sasha has such a distinctive writing and singing style, which I’ve always really looked up to. She’s someone who I aspire to write like, and I think that being able to make one of her songs my own has been a real learning experience. It’s hard to not just copy what other people do and to instead make things sound like yourself. ‘Smile’ really taught me that because I was able to bring in some elements that I liked and were my own, such as my piano playing in the back. I think that I really learned how to bring something original to the table in a song, even if it wasn’t written by me, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
I especially love how relatable “Smile” is and how it focuses on mental health. “I think that mental health is something that gets brushed over and not paid enough attention to. For my songs, I have a rule that I always want to empower women and shed light on serious things that go on in people’s lives in a way that can still be enjoyable to listen to. That’s it. While some songs are more clearly linked to those things than others, that’s definitely something that I keep in the back of my mind.”
Eriksen‘s debut EP is planned for a spring 2021 release. “The EP is going to be filled with exciting remixes and features. It’s a really personal, fun, and exciting project. I’m looking forward to the world hearing it and I hope that they can relate to the songs as much as I do. I hope that people enjoy it.”
Connect with Elise Eriksen