Interview with Elizabeth P.W.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started taking piano lessons when I was really young but what got me hooked on music was picking up the trombone in 4th grade. I really fell in love with the instrument and the music it brought me to. I thought I was going to be an orchestral trombone player but I followed a few different musical paths that led me to composing and songwriting. I think if I weren’t doing music I’d probably be working at a horse barn haha. I worked at a barn throughout high school and college - I loved working with animals.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love to travel, specifically taking road trips. I think it’s the best way to see a new place. My favorite places to go are natural destinations. I think being in nature helps me slow down and clear my mind. There’s something about those landscapes that put me in touch with a part of myself I can’t always access through the noise. It’s like a reset.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been playing music since I was probably 5 years old. Writing music came later to me. I’ve spent the last 12 years cultivating my voice as a composer.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up visiting my extended family in Brooklyn, we were here constantly. This borough feels like home to me in a way that stretches back through generations of my family. It definitely comes through in my music, specifically on my new album - there’s a whole song that explores my family’s connection to this place and how I came to be the last living family member who remains here.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I actually have only played live a few times. I’m kind of shy when it comes to performing, I’m much more comfortable writing alone in my studio. My vision for a live show would be an intimate and cozy setting, a time to share music with people who want to connect.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I am playing my album release show at The Sanctuary on Roosevelt Island on December 10. I’m really excited to play at such a cool venue in a tight knit community. I’d love to play at more historic venues around NYC.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
My favorite artist right now is Madison Cunningham, I would absolutely love to play on the same ticket with her.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I’d say don’t be afraid to carve your own path. There’s a lot of people who will tell you that you have to follow a certain set of rules, that you should focus on one particular thing but I think ultimately what brings you the most joy and success in making music is following what sparks your interest and curiosity. Another hugely important piece of advice is do not quit. The people you see doing what you want to be doing have hung in there and if you do the same you’ll get somewhere great.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It’s so hard to pick! They all feel like my babies. One song that is super close to my heart is “Someone Who Believes In You”. I wrote it late in the album making process after a conversation I had with a friend about our goals and insecurities. This song came to me as soon as we finished talking. I wanted to write something that my friend needed to hear at that moment. That we all need to hear sometimes. I hope that when people hear this song they feel that support.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“If I’m Ever Happy” is super fun to play. Everyone is jamming on these plucked rhythms. So far people are connecting with the title track “The Company You Keep”. It’ll be exciting to see which songs people connect with as I play the album more.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process starts with a strong feeling. It can be conceptual or personal but it always is something that feels like it needs to be teased out and explored within me. Most of my process is internal - I really do a lot of thinking and introspection until I start to hear a melody in my head or a bit of lyric. From there I start putting things onto paper. Some songs are easier than others to get out. There’s a lot of inspiration I draw on when creating - things I’m experiencing, other artists’ work, nature - inspiration is anywhere you look for it.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I hope that my music makes people feel less alone and more comfortable being vulnerable and themselves. I cover a lot of topics in my music from my experiences with chronic illness, mental health, and tough relationship experiences. I think there's something special about sharing personal experiences and having your audience see themselves in what you share. It makes us all a little more bound in our imperfections and humanity.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am a composer for film & tv and I have a few projects that I’m working on that will be at upcoming festivals and on streaming services soon. For one film in particular I’ll be writing both the score and 5 original songs. I’m super excited about it and I can’t say much more about it but be on the lookout.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?