Elena Erin as of right now is living a socialite’s life between New York City and London. Full steam ahead, she has performed throughout New York, hit number 2 CBC Radio, been featured on major Spotify editorial playlists (New Music Friday Canada/Fresh Finds), yields 8k monthly listeners on Spotify alone, and has eclipsed over a million streams cumulatively across the various platforms. It would almost seem like this was “all of a sudden” given the whirlwind pace she is moving at right now. However, the remarkable part of it all is actually how far she has come to where she is now. And not just talking about the beginning of her discography that dates back to September of 2018. No, prior to even that, the small-town Canadian girl has actually been playing classical piano since six years old! Started writing songs at ten years old. Attended Berklee College of Music. Indeed, from growing up on a cattle farm in rural Canada to Berklee to New York to now back and forth between London, one could only imagine the trials, tribulations, and stories that have come about from that journey. Well, imagine as much as you wish, but Elena Erin actually provides a great deal of insight and storytelling behind it with her latest album, “Holy Tender Artist,” released earlier this year in July. Musically, my initial first impressions would be that I recommend her music for fans of Gwen Stefani, Cyndi Lauper or Laura Branigan.
As I’ve noticed with many talented people, as gifted as she has been since such a young age, she still possessed a great deal of apprehension about singing her own songs, until one defining moment:
While in a studio session in New York in 2016, I sang on a demo and the producers decided to keep my voice on the track, saying I had a unique voice and should sing my own songs.Elena Erin
Elena took that advice and ran with it. Effectively, that is what “Holy Tender Artist” is an accounting of. It is telling the tale, so to speak, of a homeschooled small town girl with big city dreams meeting the realities of a dangerous, scandalous and cruel world. She refers to the album’s lead off track “Almost Famous” as a pinnacle of the overarching storyline. Featuring real-life phone conversations with her best friend, and ending with the self-assuring whisper to herself of: “You’re still Holy, you’re still tender, and no matter how much you try to escape it, you’ll always be an artist,” Erin is painting a vivid picture for her audience about her path to self discovery. Her Spotify bio summarizes:
This album is highlighted by royalty, sex, exploration, vulnerability, and in-your-face New York style of storytelling from her time there.Elena Erin
The official music video for the track “Mayhem World” was just released last month. Where “Almost Famous” is perhaps the figurative exposition of the album, “Mayhem World” is effectively one of the key conflicts in the plot. It is a song chronicling the woes of a lover who is at odds with the feeling of longing to be closer to someone that is also just as damaged in a similar way. Both put up emotional walls keeping anyone from getting close to them. Hence, keeping both of them siloed in their own worlds of mayhem. It’s such a strange thing isn’t it? How people can be together yet still so alone. Elena Erin admits that the song is penned from a perspective of vulnerability. The standout line of the song being, “nobody knows what it’s like to hold us closer.” As if to acknowledge that both parties take part in pushing each other away. The video depicts Erin sitting at a bar, having drinks and drowning in sorrow waiting for a call, a text, or some kind of communication from someone before leaving without resolve upset and sad. Clearly, the tragic part of the saga.
Holy Tender Artist (which “Mayhem World” is featured on) is about: Friendship, Heartbreak, and self-discovery are the main themes. The biggest one is the love that comes from friendship. A lot of songs are about romantic love that doesn’t really last or work out, but then there are songs like “We Could Grow Old Together,” where I sing about growing old and traveling with my best friend.
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