Our newest PledgeMusic Emerging Artist Spotlight shines on alt-pop singer-songwriter Eliza Shaddad and the PledgeMusic campaign for her debut full length album Future. Read our interview with Shaddad to get to know a little more about her new album, her fascinating childhood spanning across multiple countries, her love of ’90s soundtracks, and much more!
Learn more about Shaddad’s PledgeMusic campaign for Future here: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/eliza-shaddad-future
NoiseTrade: You’re currently in the midst of a PledgeMusic campaign for your debut full length album Future. Tell us a little about what listeners can expect to hear on this album and why you’ve chosen to partner with PledgeMusic.
Eliza Shaddad: This album is the sum of two years work and the end of a relationship. It’s an almost diary-like record of the ups and downs of dealing with the decision and the fallout, but from a slightly different perspective than usual, I think. I recorded it in deepest Devon with Chris and Andrew Bond and it’s 10 tracks which range from solo acoustic to wall of noise grunge. I was lucky enough to be awarded funding from HMUK in conjunction with PledgeMusic as part of their Emerging Artists Fund, so we’ve partnered with them for our physical records, including some limited edition translucent pink vinyl and signed merchandise.
NT: You’ve got an incredible backstory that involves growing up in a variety of countries (Nigeria, Spain, Russia, and more) where your parents exposed you to an incredible mix of academia and art. Can you share a bit of that journey with us and how those experiences have shaped your creative output?
Shaddad: I was lucky enough to move around a lot with my mum who worked for the British Council. She’s actually a poet now and her mother was an artist, so there was an understanding from early on that travel and art had worth and meaning. My dad is an academic and lectures in Sudan, so I think I get my research genes from him. Both sides have really fed into my progression as an artist. I always had a lot of questions and so at first after school I studied Philosophy, which no doubt informed my lyric writing. After that I wanted to become a musician, so I went to study Jazz at a Conservatoire in London. I’ve sort of become an artist through academic means.
NT: How do the lyrical themes in your songwriting on Future compare to your previous EPs, Run and Waters? Do you hear any notable lyrical evolutions between the releases?
Shaddad: I reckon I still write the same kind of way, possibly I’m becoming more succinct. I think it’s more that the content has changed. For Waters, I was feeling romantic and the lyrics reflect that. For Run, I was feeling belligerent. For Future, I was on the brink of making this huge decision and then riding the wave of consequences that followed. It’s a much broader array of emotions and stories – always terrifyingly honest though.
NT: Are there any specific artists or albums that influenced the instrumentation and sonic atmosphere of Future, especially compared to the folk influences of your previous releases?
Shaddad: For some reason the more music I make, the further back my influences seem to reach. This album nods to a lot of the music I enjoyed as a teenager. Stuff my sister introduced me to like Tori Amos, Hole, and Jewel, and then bands like Skunk Anansie and Portishead. They just have so much vibe! That’s what I wanted for these songs. I wanted them to represent moods. I think it was more of the moods I was looking for when thinking of those records, rather than taking direct influence from their instrumentation. Though, no doubt everytime sub bass featured I was thinking, “yum, Portishead.”
NT: Finally, your PledgeMusic bio mentions that your new album revels in (among other things) ‘90s soundtracks. As a ‘90s soundtrack obsessive myself, I’m curious as to which soundtracks of the decade you enjoy the most and if you have any favorite single songs from those releases?
Shaddad: There’s so many good ones, but I think my all-time favorite soundtrack – and one of my favorite ever albums – really has got to be the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack from Baz Luhrmann’s film. It’s hard to choose a favorite song, but I think Mundy’s “To You I Bestow” is right up there for me with “Talk Show Host” and “Everybody’s Free.” That collection of songs is just magic to me. So many incredible genres and styles and yet they all meld perfectly to create one absolutely banging and yet moving album. I just love it. That album really gave me hope that even though my tracks were really varied, they could come together to tell one personal story.