Wednesday, August 30, 2017

10 Questions For: Isac Elliot


He's one of biggest (and best) young talents of the European pop scene. We're watching him grow up and, along with it, develop his music more and more. And Sounds European! had the chance of having a very interesting talk to him. These are our 10 questions for Isac Elliot:

Sounds European!: You come from a music family. Was it always your aspiration to take singing as your career too? And what are your first memories of singing in public?

Isac Elliot: Yes, we have always had a lot of instruments in the house, gone to concerts, had music playing all the time and stuff... so music has always been a part of my life without even thinking of it. Together with my sister and one neighbor, we put together theater plays, musicals and concerts for my parents and the neighbors all the time. This was when I was like five. The hours my parents have spent watching these performances... oh, my God! And I have seen footage. We were not good!
The first "real" performance was in first grade, when I got a solo in the school play. From there, my music teacher told my parents to apply for this one boy choir. I got accepted, went on to getting picked to be part of musicals at the National Theater, and eventually ended up signing a record deal with Sony Music when I was 11.

SE!: Who were your music idols when you started singing? Who did you enjoy listening? Do you feel they have, in any way, influenced the music you make nowadays?

IE: At first it was, of course, kids music. But I remember we had this one compilation album in the car that I LOVED listening to, which was called "100 Motown classics". So it was The Jackson 5, The Marvelettes and stuff. I did not know any English, so it was a lot of mumbo jumbo when I sang along. My first own album was My Chemical Romance's "The black parade". I loved that album and the band. That was also my first ever concert, when my dad took me to see them in Helsinki. I was six. I then soon started to listen to pop and singers like Usher, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé. I would say those were the first ones to influence me as a singer. Michael Jackson, Sam Smith and a lot of R&B singers are the ones that inspire me now – and I constantly try to improve as a singer.

SE!: You started hitting the charts at a very young age – to be more specific, when you were only 12, with "New way home". How was it, for you, to deal with fame so early in life? And how did you feel when you realized your songs were getting steady airplay?

IE: It was a real surprise. When we worked on "New way home" in the studio, we knew it was good, people came in and were amazed, and I got told my vocals were good. However, we thought that if this could get one or two spins on the radio in Finland, it would be a massive achievement. I remember being in school, at the end of sixth grade, and our teacher let the whole class stay inside during recess to listen to the song's radio premiere. Once I heard it on the radio in front of all my classmates, I thought: "OK, I made it. This was the jackpot. It can't get any sweeter than this". Then the song became a radio hit all over Scandinavia and it was all just a bonus. It felt great and surreal. We did not expect or even dream about that.

SE!: As you got older, your music has matured along with you. How do you compare the songs of your first album to the ones you are currently making? And what do you still hope to musically achieve in the future?

IE: I am 16 now and have been in the business for five years. Being 12 and being 16 is a big difference. Five years is one third of my whole life. So of course I have grown, and my music as well. I had songs like "Party alarm" and "First kiss" on the first album. Good songs, but the lyrics were not too deep. Right now, I feel I am doing music that I think is cool, the lyrics hold more meaning and I am a part of the whole process of finding songs, writing and recording.
As I said, we have achieved so much more than we ever thought we would, so everything right now is just a bonus and I am just enjoying myself. I hope to be able to always look back on my music and career and be proud of what I have done and stand by my music. I have the most amazing fans. Some of them have been there from the start, and more have jumped in along the road. I also hope I can have the same amazing relationship with my fans as I have for the past years. They are the core of everything.

SE!: Finland is a country which is more known, internationally speaking, for its rock music. But we know its pop scene is very good, too. How do you analyze the pop music of your country? And was it hard for you to develop a pop career in Finland?

IE: There has traditionally been a lot of rock exports, that is correct.
But there has also been a strong traditional Finnish music style we call iskelmä [a kind of Finnish schlager] and tango. Those are old traditions, though. Right now, the music scene in Finland is really blooming. The rap scene is HUGE in Finland – which might seem strange. What is amazing is that we also have more and more artists and acts that are singing in English. At some point, no one did that. We have amazing songwriters and producers as well, who are starting to make a name for themselves abroad. Then we, of course, also have the joke or parody music that is really big. It feels a bit annoying, at times. If you make joke music, sing about drinking or sex in Finnish, you will have a #1.
It was not hard for me to develop a career. I had a great team, and my team is even better now. But most of all, it was the fans who made it happen and it is the fans that still are the core of everything.

"I hope to be able to always look back on my music and career and be proud of what I have done and stand by my music" (Picture: official Facebook page)

SE!: But your audience is clearly not limited to Finland. You have fans from all around the globe. How do you feel, knowing people from so many countries appreciate what you do as a singer? And how is your relationship with your fan base?

IE: I think it is just amazing how music travels through social media and how the fans help me out and spread the word. I love getting tweets from Brazil or seeing snaps from the Netherlands, where people are listening to my music together with friends, or seeing everybody singing along to my songs at a meet-and-greet in Turkey. I have my core fanbase in the Nordic countries and in the Baltics, though. Seeing them, having them at my show, listening to my music, is such a huge thing for me. They give me so much and do so much for me. I try to connect with them as much as possible, take pictures, stay active on social media and host meet-and-greets, competitions and signings. It can get a little hectic at times outside venues, airports or hotels, but I always try to stop and say "hi" and "thank you" and take a picture. They just want a little bit of my time.

SE!: We have seen some footage of your concerts, and it looks awesome. What do you feel when you are on stage? And what can people expect when they go to a concert of yours?

IE: The live shows are the best thing of it all. I have a great live team and we have so much fun traveling. I can't believe all the places we have got to see. At the shows, it is like a big party. Everybody is happy, we have fun and enjoy the music. I get to see the fans and how happy the music makes them. All the hours working on the songs in the studio, trying to perfect them, can be exhausting at times, but just having fun and enjoying the shows is amazing. It's like electricity. Just feeling it in all possible ways. Feeling everybody can enjoy the shows is important, and my team really focuses on that a lot as well.

SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?

IE: I have been working on a lot of new music. Feels like forever! We will release "FAITH" – that I can't really tell much more about, at this point. It is a huge thing for me. Something totally new in all sorts of ways. It will involve a lot of new music though, and I am stoked about it. I also have a new song called "AYO" coming out and it is an uptempo banger. We love that tune. During the rest of the year, I also have a few very cool collaborations coming out, and they are always a lot of fun. When you are a solo artist, it is so much fun to team up with another artist or another act.

SE!: About collaborations. You have already worked with some other great people, such as Redrama, Tyga and Tungevaag & Raaban. If you could choose anyone, who would be some Finnish and international artists you'd still like to collaborate with?

IE: I would love to work with Dua Lipa, because she is so cool, with such a unique sound. I have not yet had a duet or worked with a female artist, so that would be a really cool thing. Another great option would be Zendaya. She was my celebrity crush some years ago and I met her at a Grammy party in Los Angeles last year. She was super nice, and to make a song with her would of course be amazing. Harry Styles would also be amazing. I was the opening act for One Direction at a couple of shows of their latest tour, and got to meet and chat with them. They were all really nice, but Harry was like the best guy ever. We've got to talk, and actually chatted about a song that they had recorded, never released and then it ended up with me. To work on a song together with Harry, now that he is doing his very cool solo thing, would be amazing.

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Isac Elliot, and why?

IE: I will start by telling you that I have A LOT of new favorites coming up now, with the new releases. We have really worked hard on writing amazing songs and now we are finally at a point where I get to share them with my fans. I'm so happy! Amongst the old songs, it is hard to pick out a favorite. I can imagine it is like asking a parent to choose their favorite kid. A song called "Parachute" is a valid choice, and has a very special story and person linked to it. A fan that I have met, who has gone through a lot, and this song helped her. For that very reason, I will pick "Parachute" this time.

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