The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.
“Country music has always felt like home for Elyse Saunders. Blending her small-town Ontario roots with the bright lights of Toronto and Nashville, she regularly captivates crowds with powerhouse vocals, a dynamic presence, and an interactive charm. To date, Elyse has enjoyed album collaborations with noted producers Cyril Rawson and Joel Feeney, industry showcases at Canadian Music Week, Indie Week, and Canadian Country Music Week, and upcoming television placement for her 2017 single, “Rise”, at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Since the release of her last single – the socially-conscious “Me Too” in 2018 – Elyse has developed new inspiration through Nashville songwriting trips and extended studio time. As a result, she’s primed to mark her next musical chapter with a refined sonic synergy of country, alt-country, and pop sounds. Watch the video for her newest single, “Feel You Leaving”, on YouTube”.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve always kind of known. When I was a kid, I had an early passion for singing, dancing and songwriting and always just did it at home. I knew I wanted to be on stage and I was obsessed with listening to the art of vocals and songwriting. I didn’t realize that it could actually be a career for me until I was at the end of high school figuring out my next steps in life and started working with Cyril Rawson, a producer/mentor from my hometown. We went to Nashville, I recorded an album, I opened for a crowd of 10,000 people and I was hooked! I started to figure out the next steps and here we are.
Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?
I never officially went to school to be trained or developed as an artist. I learned by becoming immersed in it. My family didn’t come from a music background or career, so figuring out the music industry was a lot of work. There wasn’t an official “music career 101” study I could take and I knew I didn’t want to be a classically-trained singer or player, so I decided to make the leap and just do it!
I have trained with top vocal coaches like Tamara Beatty, learned basic theory through early school years and learned guitar through night courses. Aside from that, I learned from my mentors, by watching, collaborating, creating, growing and doing. When you hear that it takes about 10 years to really become a professional recording artist, it really does. And then some…
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
My musical influences are constantly evolving but growing up, I idolized LeeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, Mariah Carey and The Eagles. They all bring something unique to the listener experience as entertainers, singers, or songwriters.
How would you describe your sound?
Contemporary country with pop driven hooks and southern soul.
What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
I get asked this all the time and it’s always hard to choose because I’ve had a hand in writing most of my songs. I love them all! My current single “Feel You Leaving” is special to me because it came to me during a dream. I enjoyed the process of writing it with Doug Folkins and Shawn Moore, recording it, creating a music video for it and I have so much fun singing it live!
What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
They can expect a high-energy performance that’s personal, dynamic and engaging. My favourite parts of the show are when I can get my audience to sing along with me. Ultimately, I want to create memorable moments for my audiences every time I hit the stage. When they can feel like I’m speaking right to them, I know I’ve done what I set out to do!
Where can we find your music?
It’s available everywhere! Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube – wherever you’re listening, just search it up and it will be there. Also, make sure to sign up to my mailing list on my website ElyseSaunders.com to find out first about upcoming singles, shows, freebies and more!