Eliza May’s beautifully sung and written single “I’m Coming Home,” from her forthcoming Emotions EP (dropping in 2021), is an ode to where she’s from and where she’s going. Eliza is not only a singer, she’s a DJ, EDM producer, and classically trained pianist; basically, an amalgam of endless talent. Her voice on “I’m Coming Home” envelopes the listener, and certainly makes you feel like you’re already at ‘home.’
Eliza is an international artist, having made her home and her name in Los Angeles, and has performed for audiences all over the world. Her homeland is Russia, and the European electronic music has certainly influenced her musical style, specifically Alan Walker, and she shares that she wants her “music to be full of emotions, feelings, and meaning. It’s so amazing when people listen to your music and can relate to it. I want my songs to inspire people, help them along their own journeys.”
The music video for “I’m Coming Home,” shot by Lauren Cohen, features Eliza in an abandoned house, laden with graffiti, in the Mojave Desert. The clip shows Eliza traveling to reach her destination; walking barefoot on an ambiguous road on an increasingly hot day; all of these elements represent the struggle(s) and crossroads to bear in order to get to the desired destination, yet once one gets there, the satisfaction and reward is all the greater.
Discover what Eliza had to say in her chat with us about her upcoming EP, Emotions, her multiple talents, what shooting the video was like for “I’m Coming Home,” and her fun music favorites.
Your new EP, Emotions, drops in 2021. I bet you’re looking forward to it! What was the writing and recording process like for it?
Eliza May: I didn’t originally plan on making an EP. It all started with the single, “I’m Coming Home.” It was a new genre for me. I had been mostly focused on trap, but one day I woke up and realized that I want to produce future bass! I always try to listen to my intuition, and I knew that I wanted my tracks to have more soul, provoke deeper emotions, and have beautiful vocals. I started to search for vocalists, and it didn’t work out right away – the first one ended up bailing last minute, but it led me to find another female vocalist who was even more perfect for my idea!
“I’m Coming Home” turned out just as I had envisioned. It’s filled with meaning, feelings, and emotions. That’s why I chose it for my first music video. I poured my heart and soul into it, and it was everything I wanted it to be. That’s when I got the idea to make a four-track EP.
It was very easy for me to produce the beats. Energy and motivation flowed so well, and I got one idea after another. Finding the right vocalists was a bit harder, but it all came together. I’m very proud of all the tracks. Three of them are ready now and I’m hoping to be done with the last one within a month. I’m super excited for the EP, and I hope many people will be able to relate to all the songs and sing along.
You’re a DJ, EDM producer, and classically trained pianist; how do each of these artistic expressions satiate your creative appetite?
Eliza: It’s all about music for me. My musical education helps me a lot in production and also helped me in learning DJing and scratching. I’m very grateful that my parents signed me up for music school, and that I was able to develop my musical ear at an early age.
Music school laid a strong foundation for me and a desire to continue to do music after. Production helps me express myself and my inner world, when I produce I always think of other people too as I’m sure that my music helps them in difficult situations, improves their mood, and brightens their days. And DJing is a way to share this music to people, to travel the world, learn about new countries and cultures, and reach new audiences. DJing is about exchanging energy. I love making people dance – it’s an amazing feeling to control their emotions and make their day.
Although your roots are in Russia, you have made a name for yourself in LA, and performed all over the US and in Europe. How have both the States and Russia inspired and motivated you musically?
Eliza: I’d say Russia developed my soul, and the USA developed my technical skills. When I was in music school in Russia, I was never the most technical pianist. But the teachers would always compliment the way I played, saying they felt I put my heart and soul into the music.
Since moving to the US, I have been able to focus on the technical side of things – learning scratching specifically, as well as new DAW for me, FL Studio.
And now, I try to combine it all in DJing and producing.
The first single from your upcoming EP, “I’m Coming Home,” is about finding yourself, the idea of home, and the journey getting there, and the music video accompanying it is visually telling. What was it like working with Laurent Cohen and shooting the video?
Eliza: It was a wonderful experience working with my husband on this music video. We were having dinner one night while in quarantine, and I just told him that I want to shoot a music video. And he was like, “Ok, let’s do it.” He also has a background in DJing and music production and has dabbled in photography and video, but neither one of us had ever made a music video on this scale. It was very easy for me to work with him because I feel like he is someone who fully understands what I need and want. He also cared just as much as I do, and he wanted the track and video to be a success. I had a basic idea for the storyline but took it and ran with it! He planned all the locations from the Mojave to Big Sur. It took a few months for us to shoot and edit. It wasn’t quite as easy as it looks in the video though! Shooting in the desert in the summer, we had to leave home in the middle of the night to start shooting at sunrise, otherwise, it gets way too hot during the day. I had to walk barefoot on rocks for some scenes and had to go into the cold ocean. My body turned blue by the end of shooting! Then, of course, there were many hours that my husband spent editing the video. But we did it, and it came out so much better than I hoped!
Amongst getting ready for your impending EP release, how have you been keeping creatively busy during quarantine?
Eliza: I’ve been doing some live streams, performing as a speaker for a few events, and am taking vocal lessons. I also signed up for some retouching, editing, and self-development courses. I am shooting a lot of videos for Tik Tok– I have an educational travel blog there–and working on releasing my merch as well.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite so far?
Eliza: My first concert was for a Russian singer named Irina Alegrova when I was around 4 years old! She called me to join her on stage, but I got scared and ran away from the concert hall. I used to be (and sometimes still am) very shy.
One of my most favorite ones was a performance by Steve Aoki in Las Vegas. I really admire him! He’s like a human-robot. He does so much and is so good at everything he does! He is one of my idols, and I even cried at the show.
What was your first album on CD and/or vinyl?
Eliza: I started out listening to cassettes, actually. My first cassette was either Britney Spears or some Russian band. But I do remember my first CD–I borrowed it from my friend, and it was Laundry Service by Shakira.
I started to collect vinyl much later and the first one might have been a vinyl with scratch samples.
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
Eliza: Some of my favorite artists who motivate me are Halsey, Alan Walker, Marshmallow, Steve Aoki, and Diplo.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
Eliza: Sometimes, I like to turn on the music I listened to when I was a kid, and dance and sing to it for hours! It’s usually a lot of Russian pop bands.
What have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to that has compelled you lately?
Eliza: I don’t watch much TV, but some of the books I read during quarantine include The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon, Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo, Ask and It Is Given by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks, and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Rober Kiyosaki. All of them taught me a lot of new things and supported me during tough quarantine times.