photos by Asher Koles
Singer-songwriter Miss Elle may not be a new name in the music scene, but she is certainly taking new strides in her career, evolving her sound along the way. Whether you’re a frequent or curious listener of folk music, Miss Elle should be on your radar. As Elle puts it, “folk music is about telling a story” and that’s exactly what she does. Her lyrical storytelling abilities pull the listener into her melodic world, forming an emotional connection with her audience. With musical influences such as Nick Cave and Dolly Parton, her raw and authentic tone leads to a genuine, heartfelt listening experience that can be compared to the sounds of these classic icons.
Growing up in a home with folk musicians as parents, Miss Elle fostered a love of music from an early age. Her mother eventually introduced her to snowboarding which opened her horizons to a new group of people which expanded her musical interests as well.
Her music acts as a vehicle to convey her true emotions that she “may not be able to express into words”. After playing solo for years with her acoustic guitar, Miss Elle has now formed a band with other talented musicians to finish her first-ever studio album in Salt Lake City, Utah. Working with skilled musicians has pushed her creative boundaries, encouraging her to develop her sound and writing process along the way. Miss Elle has transitioned her music’s overall tone into a more electric soundscape while still maintaining her blues, old-time country, and rock and roll influences. The cooperative approach of working with a team of creative individuals has pushed her boundaries further than ever before. The band’s instrumentation skill set has allowed her to experiment more vocally and lyrically, freeing up time usually spent advancing her guitar skills.
After talking to Miss Elle, it is clear that her raw, authentic sound shines through in this new album. My introduction to Miss Elle was through listening to one of her early releases, The Hope Song. In The Hope Song, Miss Elle’s graceful voice and instrumentation create a personal connection with the listener, fostering a sense of belonging and comfort. Miss Elle’s genuine storytelling ability is what sets her apart from many of the various up and coming artists of today.
The genuine nature of Miss Elle’s sound represents her goal to stay true to herself in an unapologetic manner. Throughout her experience in the music industry, Miss Elle has always trusted her gut and has stuck to what she knows best: her music. Her greatest challenge throughout her career has been to “envision what’s possible and to believe in [her]self”, a struggle I’m sure, familiar to all of us.
photos by Alex Andrews
What has been a struggle that you overcame throughout your career?
"I feel like one of my biggest struggles was getting over my own insecurities because I believe that if you are grounded within yourself and know your own boundaries, you can navigate life in a more authentic way. There were plenty of times while living in LA where I turned down opportunities. I trusted my gut and I didn't want to be told how to do something or how it should sound or what I should look like. I pushed all of that away. All I was left with was me and my connection to the spirit of songwriting. I love the saying “no matter where you go there you are” The biggest challenge for me was to envision what was possible and to believe in myself. I still struggle with that sometimes. Writing songs and playing music can be overwhelming. Moving home to Utah allowed me to reconnect with my roots and move forward with my creative aspirations more authentically. Utah is a special place, it has helped me focus on who I truly am. "
What would you say to a young girl who wants to start a music career or play music?
“It’s important for young girls to ask themselves: ‘Does it make you feel good?’ It’s important with any art to do it because it makes YOU feel good. Don’t do it for any other reason such as attention or money. Make sure to always stick to your authentic values. Art is healing, let that healing be your guide.”
What artists do you admire recently?
“I’ve been experimenting, but I stick to my core sounds. I love Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Townes Van Zandt. I listen to a lot of music. I’m drawn to darker sounds and I've always been that way. My musical tastes are vast and what I choose to listen to mainly depends on how I’m feeling at the moment. I really like Tyler Childers, he’s a newer artist and I really appreciate what he’s doing, how he tells stories, and how he expresses them. I also love Colter Wall, Nikki Lane, and Gillian Welch. I also listen to different genres, and gain a ton of inspiration from all kinds of music!”
photo by Matt Alberts
How would you describe the overall sound of your music and how do you think it’s evolving with your new album?
Essentially I’m a singer/songwriter, which never seemed to do the songs justice. I would call it folk music. It does have a certain stripped-down, acoustic sound, but the essence of folk music is about a story. My music is very much rooted in a story. Nine out of ten of my songs are based on real-life experiences. It’s an outlet for when I feel like I don’t have the words to say what happened or what I’m feeling. It’s more of an emotional release. Folk music but inspired by blues, old-time country, and rock and roll. My new sound with the band is primarily electric. I’ve been playing solo for years with my acoustic guitar. Now with my band, I play an electric guitar, with a lead guitarist, pedal steel player, drummer, and bass player. A huge transition. It moved into a more produced sound. Dynamically, there are four more people. It’s loud and it’s all the things I heard in my head but couldn’t make on my own. I love my bandmates, they are so talented and have helped me progress in so many ways. Our album has taken some time to create due to the world crisis we are all experiencing, but we are so close to finishing. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!”
photo by Asher Koles
If you could collaborate with any musician dead or alive who would you pick?
“I’d love to work with Willie Nelson or Neil Young. Funny story, I saw Neil Young perform live and it changed my life. His performance was profound and so rock and roll. After he finished, I had to go lay down and digest what just happened. I missed all the other bands that played that night.”
I love listening to podcasts, you can find a lot of insight and it’s a great platform to hear what people have to say. I recently have been listening to a new one that a friend in Utah started called The Bomb Hole. It’s primarily a snowboard podcast, but they have some great people on there who talk about life, art and overcoming mental and physical health challenges.
I also really like this podcast that JT Van Zandt does called Drifting. He speaks with Surfers, musicians, and all sorts of inspiring people.
Hopefully, in the near future, I'll be playing some shows. Thank you to everyone who supports me, and I can’t wait to meet up sometime soon!
See more of Elle:
In The Field https://vimeo.com/315160720
The Hope Song https://vimeo.com/315160720
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