When Lizzy Land describes where she is, she paints me a picture of the quintessential relatable artist - sitting on her bed in LA, dressed in a robe and gazing out her window longingly at the hammock in her backyard. I've called her one late afternoon. But, due to lack of phone service outside, unfortunately the hammock would have to wait. I've been eager to talk to the Portland-native since listening to her debut EP intro music plays. It’s a long story that brought us to today, and I guarantee it was worth the wait.
The EP is a landscape of interconnected tracks, all unique in their style and sound, but connected at the core. It's because they all came to existence from Lizzy, who has been working towards this EP for years. When she moved to New York City after high school, her aim was to make music. “I was playing at these little dive bars and using a loop machine,” she tells me. After a brief stint with a band she pieced together via Craigslist and personal connections which didn’t work out - Lizzy prepped to return home to Oregon. When I ask her about home, she tells me that looking back, her arrow always seemed to point to music. “I’ve seen videos of me as an infant bouncing around to music and playing instruments, it’s something I’ve always been naturally drawn to.” As a child, she clearly craved the artist experience, saying she would record songs on a tape recorder and place it on the dashboard of a car, pretending her music was on the radio.
It was through her own music that her current manager found her. After stumbling upon a YouTube video that Lizzy self-recorded, he flew her out to LA and the wheels began turning. At this point in the story, I expect Lizzy to launch into telling me the chapter of recording >intro music plays< . However, it wasn’t that simple. “I had a lot of sessions with different producers. But at the time I still wasn’t sure what I was going for with my sound.” This realization led to her taking a break, accepting she wasn’t thrilled with what she was writing. It turns out it was the best laid plan. Enter the band Mating Ritual, an LA-based alt-pop duo. Amidst touring and playing live with them, Lizzy earned her first Spotify track as a featured artist and co-writer on the band’s song “Cold”and she began to carve out her sound. At this point I asked - how did this bridge the gap to your first single?
“I started writing with Mating Ritual member Suede James and he had the instrumental for “Sweet Melodies” already written. I sat down with it and wrote the song in under two hours.”The opening track to the EP, “Sweet Melodies” is a strong display of what Lizzy can do. It’s an absolute bop, worthy of dance parties near and far, and in itself acts as the intro music to her EP. Fittingly, it’s this song that Lizzy credits as base camp to starting the journey of creating it. “It was at that point that I knew what was going to set the tone for it [the EP].” In fact, we talk extensively about the ‘feel’ or vibe of her songs. It’s something she has carefully considered throughout the entire creative process. As she describes the difficult task of being convinced that what she was creating had the sound she wanted, I begin to understand just how devoted Lizzy is to her art. “I have written probably hundreds of songs in between” she explains when I ask her if the tracks that make up the EP all came together at once. “These tracks feel the most cohesive to me."
It’s no surprise that someone with the attention to detail that Lizzy has eventually tried her hand at producing. She laughs as she tells me that she really has no idea what she’s doing. “It doesn’t make sense to anyone but me. My whole life I feel like I’ve done everything very DIY”. She relies on instinct in the producer’s chair, admitting that it sometimes doesn’t work out, but when it does, she’s able to inject the full emotion into something the exact way she wants to. She stops abruptly in this explanation as I hear a clawing sound on the other end of the line. “My cat is scratching at the door - hold on”. I hear her walk over and give a delightful greeting to her cat, Hattori, named after the Kill Bill character. As a mutual cat lover, it’s this that seals Lizzy in my mind as an inspiration - that and her love for red wine, which we chat about for a good portion of our limited time.
The more we speak, the greater in depth our conversation goes into the amount of personal connection Lizzy shares with her EP. Each song is an experience, and chosen to fit among the other tracks. All are related by themes which existed in her life leading up to the release. “Call Me” is Lizzy’s latest favourite. Written to celebrate a friendship that remains strong despite distance and time, she also produced it herself. “Messed Up” reflects Lizzy’s dependency on visuals - something she explains to me is a characteristic of her creative side. “I always have a mini-movie running through my head when I’m listening to a song I’m working on.” The video for “Messed Up” is about celebrating the baggage we all carry and the accepting of social anxiety. istening to the EP again after we speak, it becomes obvious she channeled her musical inspirations for intro music plays. I can hear the ethereal Enya and new age genre she tells me her mom played in her childhood home in ‘“Bad Things”. Also apparent is the energetic voice of Shania Twain, the high rising vocal power of Celine Dion in “Messed Up”. I understand what she means when she describes “Bad Things” as an 80s throwback with “mermaid vocals” laced throughout. Each song is atmospheric, with modern pop styles and Lizzy's own unique twist intertwined. As our conversation comes to an end, I figure out why this EP feels like the modern definition of pop. Lizzy laces each track with sub-genre elements - the aforementioned new age, indie, and alternative. These are not your standard radio-played tunes. The EP is a collection of beautifully individual pieces each carefully crafted with the nonchalant and bubbly confidence that is Lizzy Land. It is also honest work, with realistic themes reverberating throughout. It’s been a long road for Lizzy to find the EP she wanted. And when I ask her to describe the EP as a whole, I believe she has truly found it. “Each song to me plays out like these anthems, themes and stories that have played out through my life. I just felt like this was my intro music, like a movie about to begin.” Lizzy Land is hosting an EP release party at the Lyric Theatre in Los Angeles. A second EP is expected this coming fall. Connect with Lizzy Land: Website | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram