Interviews

Q&A: Elise Hayes

Following the release of her powerful and uplifting single, ‘Float’, we caught up with singer-songwriter Elise Hayes to chat about going it alone, her inspirations and her plans for 2019. 

You’ve previously described yourself as “working behind the scenes” as a songwriter and have an impressive portfolio of songs. How would you say this experience has contributed to your own music?

Oh, I think it’s contributed to my music in every way. Mainly, I think understanding how each artist has a different way of seeing things has been really important for me. It gave validation to the way that I interpret my experiences and want to say things.

The songwriting process must be different when writing songs designed for others as opposed to the ones made for yourself. Do you find that you can make more of a personal connection with the songs you write for yourself as opposed to the ones you’ve previously written for others?

Yes, I definitely do. I love being a part of the puzzle for other artists, but there is really nothing else more satisfying than being able to say what I want to say, how I want to say it. I feel like that’s my true purpose and what connects me to listeners.

There’s a strong emphasis on “breaking free” on your latest record ‘Float’. What’s the story behind the motivational lyrics?

I wrote that song as I was deciding to leave my job as a background singer and keyboard player for a country artist. I was really going back and forth between staying in that role or breaking out on my own, but I knew in my heart that pursuing my own music is what I really wanted to do. I finished that song with a friend, Jonny Mo, who was actually going through a similar situation at the time. I think we both were just like — we gotta let go, make the leap, and go for it. It was really cathartic to write at that time.

Do you aim to make your subject matter motivational and uplifting, and if so, why?

Yes, I absolutely do! I really try to look at things in a positive light. I am a huge fan of personal exploration and growth, and I want that to come through in my music. Especially in songs like ‘Float’, that are about wanting to trust your intuition and move forward. I have plenty of other songs coming out in the next year that have a different colour in their mood, but I think at my core, ‘Float’ really captures something that I go through continually in my life. Every time I have been in a time of uncertainty, I have turned to music and songs that get me through… So it only feels natural to write them in those times, too.

Would you say ‘Float’ is a response to ‘Waves’? As not only are the words synonymously linked, but ‘Float’ feels like it answers a lot of the worried feeling found in ‘Waves’ with a reassuring message

That is such a great question! I don’t know that I was trying to respond to ‘Waves’ on purpose, but I do feel like those two songs do have a general sense of positivity – trying to get through a hard time and stay balanced.

What’s the message you would like to spread with your music and your latest release? What would you like listeners to take away from your songs?

I think that in general, I am trying to write honest pop music. I love catchy melodies and songs that make you wanna dance, but it’s also incredibly important to me for the subject matter of my songs to have some substance. I want to be the artist that listeners turn to when they need to feel seen or related to… or need something to cry to! Haha.

Your music is very scenic and picturesque with its metaphors. Is this a conscious choice of your songwriting technique?

Hmm, I don’t know that I’ve done it on purpose honestly! I think water for some reason is incredibly inspiring for me, just the push and pull of the tides and how freeing it can be to be by the ocean – when it comes to ‘Float’ and ‘Waves’ specifically. I think those big things in our world that continue without us having to try to control them just really amaze me, so it makes sense that it comes out in my writing.

What are your sources of inspiration when writing a song?

I am an incredibly emotional person! Ha. I am very sensitive and feel a lot of feelings, so the way that I have moved through that in my life is to write and sing and express myself. Watching my close family and friends in their lives inspires me, too. We all tend to feel the same things, even if we don’t want to admit it, and I like to try to connect through my music in that way.

What can we expect from Elise Hayes in 2019? Do you have any music related New Year’s resolutions?

You can expect so much from me in 2019!! Lots of new music. My New Year’s resolutions almost always revolve around music. I just want to keep working hard and keep getting music out into the world. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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Q&A: Elise Hayes
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