After blacking out in the dead of night in the ocean, Fremantle rising star Elli Schoen woke up in hospital on New Year’s Day, grateful to be alive. While traumatic, the experience proved to be a moment of truth and contemplation for the songwriter, eventually marking the catalyst to creating the music she’d always wanted to make.
“I was feeling really lost and I didn’t know what direction to go in with my music or if i should even continue or not,”she says. “On New Year’s Eve I lost my friends and went off on my own swimming in the ocean at 2am. I woke up in hospital. It was a really sobering moment for me as a person, and made me realise how much I value my friends – they have really saved me in my youth.”
It not often such a profound moment of reflection is thrust into your hands, spurring Elli to write the songs she could never quite express in the past. Her new track “Baby Face” is a dynamic indie-pop ode to her girlfriends – and her former self. “This song is actually me singing to myself in my early 20s, telling me to slow down and take it all in. I felt like I was such a baby then and I’ve learned so much.”
The incident also inspired a new direction with her sound. Although previous releases saw her play festival stages and support the likes of Tash Sultana, Gang of Youths and Ben Folds, “I wasn’t playing music I wanted to listen to,”she says.
“It was always so soulful and intense, and didn’t really feel like me as I’m such an energetic human. I still want to move people emotionally, but now I want to move them physically, too. I want them to feel it both ways – in the heart and in the feet.”
Elli Schoen ‘Baby Face” Single Launch August 3 – Mojo’s Bar, Fremantle WA
As well as a slick new live show to match, she went into the studio with producer Matt Gio (Troye Sivan, Birds of Tokyo) to help develop the sound she could hear in her head but couldn’t quite describe. “I was looking for someone who could help make me be into the artist I wanted to be,” she says.
The result is a summer-ready track with looped vocals and heavier bass – but with the same raw emotionality and piercing lyrics fans have come to love.
“It’s summery and bright, but still brooding. Imagine bright lights, driving down the coast of LA after dark. I still feel like I’m going to grow in my sound, but this is a new beginning for me. Where I’m at right now is where I’ve wanted to be for a long time.”
“Babyface” is out on all digital retailers on Thursday, July 4.