Interview: Miss Elm

Australian ‘Ukelele Princess’ Miss Elm follows up her debut single with a hypnotic new release, The Castle.

Layered vocal hooks, delicately-stacked pop-folk arrangements and a message of strength and perseverance weave together to form a mesmerising and effortlessly catchy tune.

I caught up with Miss Elm to learn more about her writing process, the after-effects of recording with a sore throat and the dream of taking her one-woman show to Glastonbury Festival…

Hey, Miss Elm! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, I’m an Australian ukulele folk-pop artist who does layered vocals with a live looper.

I’m a Virgo who loves creating music, and I started songwriting when I was 12. Writing songs takes me to another place and sharing them with the world is my favourite thing to do!

I love your new single The Castle – it’s got such a vibe. What’s the story behind the song?

This song was a really fun unfolding process. I first had the idea in a dream where I was trapped in a castle awaiting a troop of people coming to attack. Then, from being part of a song club that writes songs every week with different themes (I heart songwriting club… it’s really cool), we had the theme of ‘kid in a candy store’. I was thinking about my inner child and what her metaphorical ‘castle’ would look like.

This year has been all about doing the things I’ve always dreamed of and not holding back.. so I became my own cheerleader, and wrote a song about continuing the dream. ‘Waiting is the castle where your rubies lie, so better keep on sailing, rowing, keep the dream alive‘.

I wrote the song in an hour with just vocals and clicking… then added some more instrumentation in the production process. 

What was the production process like? Were there any challenges with the track that you had to overcome?

I have a great producer – Shaun O’Brien. Working with him was so easy, as I have really clear ideas of what I want, and he’s great at expanding that sound when it comes to mixing and editing.

For this track, I actually was losing my voice when we recorded vocals… I was going through a really busy time with work and as a result, had to push myself to get it finished. Luckily, when you have a sore throat you can singer lower… so sometimes I actually struggle singing it when I’m healthy, haha, it’s at the bottom of my register!

Your live one-woman show sounds great. If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I love how easy it is to travel with less gear. The beauty of small instruments! I would love to do a show at Glastonbury Folk Festival – that place is so magical and it’s been my dream to play shows as I see beautiful parts of the world. 

What records are you listening to at the moment?

I love Avi Kalpan’s new single ‘Change on the Rise’. His voice is so hauntingly powerful in that track. The production gets to the bottom of my soul every time I listen! I’ve also been enjoying classic artists like Dusty Springfield and Stevie Wonder. 

What are your plans for the rest of the year / 2020? Is there more new music on the way?

I’m releasing a music video for The Castle next week on Youtube! It’s so fun, I dressed up as a queen in a warehouse… subscribe to my channel to see that.

I’m also finishing up an EP, which will be out Feb 2020. Big things on the horizon! Maybe a show in Glastonbury? 😛 

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