Songwriter, producer, engineer, instrumentalist and “conductor for colour” - Annie Elise is putting a tough year behind her as she shares her "empowering" new music
Electronic music pioneer and producer Annie Elise says that the release of her first EP - 'Breathe In, Breathe Out' feels "both vulnerable and empowering". The 20 year old classically trained violin player first started to share her music in November 2020 and has since released a string of singles through 2021. 'Breathe In, Breathe Out', Annie's new seven track EP and first release of 2022, is her largest collection of songs to date and includes 'Changes', a track she says "is a song about depression, a song about being stuck in a place where it seems it can’t get any worse", 'Too Scared To Ask', a collaboration with j. hurlock and her final single from last year - 'Again And Again'.
Annie says that - “Breathe In, Breathe Out is my honest, genuine story of my worst year to date. It's filled with grief, loss, doubt, stress, surgeries, hospital visits, and sexism - but also perseverance, finding inner strength, identity, and recognition. The emotional story of the EP starts with confusion, depression, and overwhelming pain and grief and as those feelings get explored, the EP ends on a lighter note of optimism and peace.”
Buoyed by her latest release, an Axel Flóvent remix she's just dropped with SCayos and another upcoming single on the way we caught up with Annie to find out a little more about her.
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
I would best describe my sound as colourful electronic pop. I use a lot of synths, vocal harmonies, and strings in my songs, which creates some cool textures!
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
The biggest challenge for sure has been trying to navigate the industry as a female producer - less than 3% of producers writing the top hits are female, and I’ve worked with some people who had an unfortunate bias that made the experience really difficult. Of course, there are people who have been lovely to work with - but overall, there’s this pressure to “prove” yourself and your skills to people before you even work together. And that can be difficult!
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
I think the music industry has changed drastically. I tried making viral social media content for a few months, but the negativity and sexism made me realize that having viral success there wasn’t what I wanted. I think there are different ways to make a “name for yourself” in the industry, and not all of them require a die-hard fan base. For me, it means having my work be of high enough quality with enough of a degree of success that more work keeps coming. Whether that is in my artist project, as a producer, as a vocalist or string arranger, or even mix/mastering engineer - that doesn’t matter to me. I love to be involved, and I like to think that I can bring something new to every song I am involved with.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
Very important, always. When I’m working with other people, the “control” part isn’t as important as having creative input. It’s very important for me to have my ideas heard, even if they aren’t implemented in the end. Different collaborators have different strengths and having them all shine through will often create the best end product.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
A lot of my inspiration on this EP came from my personal life - so much has happened this past year, good and bad, and these songs were a chance to tell the story the way I want to remember it. In the past, I’ve drawn influence from stories about my friends or friends of friends. Stories are important and it’s what keeps the music going.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
I’ve been blessed to have some great collaborations with SCayos, Josiah Soren, j hurlock, and Sebastian Olaya, and I’d work with them again in a heartbeat. I’d also love to collaborate with Abel., Bad Snacks, or SoWylie - it would be the ultimate female producer collab!
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I can’t whistle! Seriously, I’ve had many people coach me. I just can’t do it.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
My biggest goal is to create an industry that is more inclusive to women working behind the scenes in music. It would be amazing to have my project inspire someone to pursue production for the first time - I wish I had someone like that when I was growing up.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
I hope to be happy and healthy! Music has been keeping me going through a year of grief and sickness. I hope next year I can continue to be making music, but hopefully out of excitement rather than therapeutically.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
There are some releases that I worked on coming out soon that I’m very excited about! Follow me @annieelisemusic or on Spotify to hear all about it :)
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