Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Young may only be 16 years old, but her wisdom and natural accessibility goes far beyond her years and translate beautifully into her music. Young has a remarkable ability to transform the life of a teenage girl into a universal experience. This sophisticated vocalist has spent years developing her musicality and playing local live shows outside of Washington D.C. where she grew up, but at last she’s ready to show the world her talent with her debut EP in September of 2020.
We had the honor of speaking to Elizabeth briefly leading up to this release.
Your new single, “I Won’t Fall,” is about anxiety. Could you give us some more insight into what inspired the song, and what you hope that people listening to it take away from it?
I Won’t Fall talks about how I can stand up to the difficulties of anxiety. Sometimes my anxiety can try to get the best of me and it can be hard to fight it, but I have learned that I can overcome, persevere, and not fall into the trap of my anxiety. My producer Chris Keup and I thought of factors in my life that help support me such as my family. My friends and family can help serve as a shield during inner battles with worries or anxiety. I Won’t Fall portrays an important message that means so much to me and I hope has an impact on others to help them feel stronger when fighting against inner worries or anxiety. With this song, I want to encourage others to stand tall and not to fear of being knocked down by their anxiety or have it stop them.
What is the Washington, DC music scene like? Do you have a favorite venue in that area that you loved to play or see shows at and why?
In Washington DC, I’ve been to the Kennedy Center several times where I have seen Lea Michele sing and other productions. I have played at multiple venues around my town one of which is the open mic night at The Old Brogue. I love playing at the Old Brogue because my family and I have been going there since I was little so it is a very comforting place. Since COVID-19, I haven’t been able to play at local restaurants which is sad!
You have a lovely voice, with a strong command over both soft and belted vocals. Did you have vocal lessons growing up? How did you cultivate your voice into what it is today?
I first found a love for singing when I auditioned for the musicals at my elementary and middle schools. I discovered how much I loved singing and I began taking voice lessons to grow and learn more about singing. I brought my guitar that my parents gave me to my voice teacher on a spree, and from there I learned how to sing songs with my guitar. I would practice all the time on my own, helping me to improve my guitar skills. I started performing at small live events and quickly discovered how much I loved performing and I wanted to get better at my music. I began to turn my interest away from musicals and found what I loved the most- singing songs with my guitar and creating music. From there I began jotting down some lyrics to some chords on my guitar. I began taking vocal lessons with Katie Talbot from Nashville over Skype where she helped me safely improve my voice. I also love to sing all around the house which can sometimes bug my family! I linked up with the amazing Chris Keup where we wrote songs together and created the EP.
Your upcoming EP deals with topics ranging from narcissism to toxic relationships. How does it feel to be sharing such intimate parts of yourself with the world? Do you feel nervous about revealing yourself or is it freeing?
It is difficult to open up and share yourself to the world. It’s important to me for my songs to be authentic and real therefore making me a little nervous to feel vulnerable. However, it is freeing to express myself and exciting for others to hear my thoughts through music and I hope people like them and can relate to them.
Was this your first time recording in a studio? How was that experience for you? Was it time-consuming and a lot of hard work? Did everything go smoothly? Give those of us on the outside a look into the studio life.
It was the first time I ever professionally recorded in a studio so everything was very new and exciting for me. I was so eager to learn how a song was created from an artist’s point of view. I discovered so many new things and working in the studio opened up a new world for me and I want to keep learning and improving. Chris is a talented producer and was very easy to work with especially for a developing artist like me. Working in the studio was hard work but very fun! I went down to Chris’s studio in Louisa VA on school days, after soccer tournaments, and on weekends to create the EP. The vibes in Chris’s studio made me feel creative and like a real professional! We spent hours each day recording, correcting, and adding to perfect the EP. Before my experience in the studio, I thought it would be quick and easy to record the vocals, but it took lots of time and hardwork to put them together. Creating the songs did go smoothly and I can’t wait to keep working in the studio in the future.
“I Won’t Fall” is a deeply moving song with personal lyrics that make the listener feel like they know you. What is your go-to method of writing songs? Do you have any advice for any budding songwriters out there?
Songwriting is all about authenticity and how the lyrics flow to the beat of the music. I love bringing out thoughts or worries on my mind into the songs to make them more relatable and personal. I really want to discover how to become my own artist and find my unique style to put into my music. I want to keep learning and growing! My go-to method is to take a regular idea on my mind or a topic that may be bothering me and string lyrics together. I use my guitar to find chords that fit my lyrics and the feel of the song.
What is your favorite song or album to listen to when you’ve had a hard week and you want to unwind and why?
The way I escape through music is to visit playlists I make on my phone. My playlist is made up of country and pop music. I really enjoy almost any music and I have a lot of variety in my playlists. Olivia O’Brien is an artist I love to listen to because I love the way she writes the lyrics in her songs. Taylor Swift is a classic artist but I love listening to her songs because I know most of the lyrics so it helps me to unwind by singing along.
Pulling from the blues, R&B, and powerhouse female artists she grew up surrounded by outside Washington, D.C., as well as female artists and songwriters like Bonnie Raitt, Alicia Keys, and Taylor Swift, this EP deals with wide-reaching topics in a cathartic and carefree way. Young’s forthcoming single off the EP, “I Won’t Fall”, is a tender anthem about anxiety. It’s filled with rich guitar chords that embrace silence with warmth. Young’s skilled vocals earnestly sing on top of a strong, slow beat that feeds into the anthemic sound. Her sailing melody line on the words “I won’t fall” sweep you off your feet and lift you up, instilling a sense of hope within you. Young’s resolve and softness recall the feminine power that her female influences channel, and hint at what you can look for in the rest of her soon-to-come EP.
In the meantime, check out her latest single, “Ricochet” here.