Singer-songwriter Eloise Alterman displays the bareness of her emotions through her newest EP, Sad Bird, which portrays her personal experiences of heartbreak, healing, and self-discovery.
Through her sympathizable lyrics, she merges with her personal yet expressive transparency into piano ballads laced with choir-like harmonies, in addition to production by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb.
To further learn more about her recent EP, music video, and process, she sat down with Variance's Ethan Ijumba to talk about her recent release. Be sure to also stream Sad Bird on all platforms as well as follow Eloise Alterman on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for more updates.
You're now signed to Atlantic Records. With everything that's going on musically, wow does it feel to release the EP now that you’ve recently signed to your new label? What's the difference? Is it better, is it anything like changing your mind a little bit, or have there been any differences or comparisons at all?
That's a really good question, I was thinking about this the other day because when I came out with that first EP, I had to do almost all the work myself and it was at the height of the pandemic, April 2020. So I was in my car with a suitcase with all the different outfit changes and two guys in the camera and their main thing was photography, but they suggested let's try making a video and they had done some video stuff. But anyway, we're out in the middle of nowhere and it's super hot in Tennessee in the summer and we're just videotaping a bunch of stuff. I'm doing all my own makeup, hair, and outfit changes. And at the time you couldn't even shop for clothes for so long and I didn't have music video clothes in my closet. It was just so crazy compared to the hustle then compared to all the things I had to do for that video, my car, my apartment, everything was so trashed afterward but the creative process has always been really fun for me and I love being hands-on. But it's a different experience. You just have a lot more hands-on-deck, a lot more of a support system, and it just makes it a lot easier to create and to be able to live out all of the stuff that you dreamed up.
So speaking on that, when it comes to the creative process, a majority of this EP was produced by Dave Cobb. And you've also got some credits that go out to Ryan Daly as well as Ben West, and they've both done a lot of work with other impeccable musicians and artists in their own right. In terms of working with Dave Cobb, what was it exactly regarding his production style that cultivated how you guys work together and compose this EP itself?
Well, it began at Atlantic when they said that I was working with Dave Cobb and I'd heard his name before but I never met him and I was excited to work with him. We had met over Zoom the next day after Pete told me and I went into the studio and I was really nervous because you know, these are Grammy-nominated musicians who’ve won awards and I was a new signee who was very new on the scene. I had just signed to a publishing company during the pandemic and wrote all these songs then signed a record deal, so the last time that I had been in a room with musicians was during the pandemic and I was unsigned. So all of a sudden I was nervous because I was in the super important room and at that first second we were just going straight into it, we were going to start recording and he was like, okay, we're all going to take a family shot together. He was so nice and he was so warm and was so complimentary of my lyrics.
Are there any specific methods or techniques he uses during the creative process.
One of the most amazing things about Dave is that he really appreciates songwriting and my voice a lot and he was, you know, a lot of users will build a huge track around a singer's voice and one of the special things about him is that he really just lets the voice be like the front of a track.
With that being said, when it comes down to you as the artist and the songwriter your job of putting your feelings on paper and emotions towards themes and subjects such as healing, heartbreak, as well just self-discovery. When putting all the things that you've been going through in a musical structure which is sometimes easier said than done but based on showing signs of vulnerability. Was a lot of this just challenging to put your feelings into lyrics or did you find it easy to do so?
I mean, music for me has always been a form of feeling and I think we're all pretty guarded and we keep a little bit of mystery to ourselves when it comes to our emotions because it's a way of protecting ourselves. But when it comes to music, I'm never purposely walking into a co-write or when I sit on my piano to a song, I'm never purposely sitting down and saying, okay I'm gonna be super vulnerable today or I'm gonna let it all out and I'm gonna do it for this project. It's more like when I'm sitting on the piano, I need to get this off my chest right now, I'm going to explode and then I send it to my manager and it ends up in the label’s hands. So it's more like a way of therapy for me and the ones I guess where I was hurting the most, I was just having a really good day putting my words to my feelings. Just because some days we're not good at that other days, we just show it in anger or we just sit and stare at a wall and I've shown it in all different ways, but the days that I'm able to write a song and create something for it are the good days
To go along with that, out of all the six tracks on this EP that you've got pretty much I know they really have a big representation and they really speak volumes to your emotions and feelings and your experiences. Is there anyone out of the specific six tracks that really resonated with you the most?
You know, I am not an upbeat song type of girl, I love, love, love, love a ballad and I have my whole life. But when I wrote “Seasons” I was literally skipping to my car from the co-write immediately, put it on in the car, got home, and played it for my mom, I sent it to her and I'm not usually like that after songs normally I'm like, okay, I'm gonna sit with it, see how I feel about it after you write it all day I normally don't want to hear this again because I've been writing it all day long. It's also the first time I was in a place where I've been writing so many songs where I still had so much anger and sadness and I felt like I was still pointing blame and I wasn't meaning to, it's just there was still anger in my heart and it just kept coming out.
What exactly was it that made “Seasons” different compared from the others on the tracklist?
With “Seasons” I was so dead set. I said to myself I want to write a song where I'm not mad at anyone, I'm just hurting, and I'm just waiting for it to stop and I want it to be over so bad and I'm not a hopeful person at all. But I'm growing into a hopeful person and I know I'm not going to feel like this forever, but it really feels like it's gonna be forever. But “Seasons” is just about getting through the worst times with Tequila and maybe friends here and there and staring at the wall and being lonely and feeling like shit for what feels like forever and just crossing your fingers and hoping that it ends soon.
So when just going through the composition process of Sad Bird—a lot of artists normally have a specific purpose or meaning behind what their project is and what exactly they wanted to do, such as, they want fans to resonate with it. Was there any specific meaning that you had behind the impact of what you wanted this EP to do or have?
I definitely feel confident in the EP that people can either love it or leave it. But at the same time, I wrote these to feel better but past that they didn't feel they were mine anymore. I felt like I wanted them for other people once they healed me or they helped close the chapter for me. I truly fell in love with music because it made me feel more understood when you hear a song and you can't put your emotions forward and you hear a song and you're like, that's it, that's it right there and it just immediately makes you feel less alone. So that's how I want this EP to be taken for whoever is just who's sitting there in their feelings and they're lost but they hear a song and it makes them feel just a little bit better that day. It makes them feel less alone then that's all, you know, that makes me so happy. It makes me feel less alone too because I write these and I put all this time into them and it's like what's the point if they're just for me?
It's kind of like that complement that every artist loves to hear, “your song changed my life or your music saved my life”. It gives them more of a reason to keep going as well as a reminder for people also who go through what I go through.
Yeah, artists have a purpose to this including me which is why I love doing this.