Hiya! This is my second interview on the blog. It has been my dream to interview my all time favourite singer Elizabeth South and it has become a reality. She kindly consented to do my email interview and I am humbled and overjoyed by it.
To begin with, Elizabeth is the winner of The Best Cover of Idina Menzel’s ‘Let It Go’ cover on the ‘March Music Madness’ 2014 on ‘On Air with Ryan Seacrest’.
She has collaborated with the legends of music such as Billy Smiley, Rick Florian, Vince Gill etc in her music videos. Her song ‘I Love You’ featuring Christian Pop icon Vince Gill aired on ‘The Country Network’ last year. She has a steadily growing fan base on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
She is also the music teacher at Durham Academy. That leaves us to guess that she practically breathes and lives
music. She has given multiple interviews on TV and radio. This North Carolina girl has come a long, long way and her beautiful voice inspires many people everyday.
We will now proceed to the interview without further ado.
Me: How did your journey begin?
Elizabeth: My journey with singing began when I was in second grade. My music teacher discovered that I could sing well. After that I started singing everywhere and especially loved doing plays and musical theater. I studied musical theater in college. I also got a music therapy degree. And then I got my music education masters degree. That was when I started teaching. But while I was teaching, I wrote a few songs. A friend of mine suggested that I record them. So I did some demo recordings in Garageband and posted them to Myspace. My current producer Billy Smiley discovered me and wanted to start recording with me in Nashville, Tennessee. And that is how the music recording started
Me: Did you have to sacrifice anything to become a successful singer?
Elizabeth: I have not had to sacrifice anything that is important to me except maybe my money since recording is very costly. People also told me that I would have to quit my teaching job and tour to really be successful in music. But I was determined that I would do both in spite of what people said! And I think that I have proven on some level that there is much to be gained by doing both and that I can make it work!
Me: What do you feel comfortable singing?
Elizabeth: I am comfortable singing any song with a great melody. I pretty much love all kinds of styles of music and will sing or record most any style as I have already done. But I would have to say that Disney and Broadway are probably where my voice is the most suited and natural. Singing rock or worship music gives me a lot of joy also.
Me: Who or what is your inspiration?
Elizabeth: I think that Julie Andrews was my inspiration from my early years when I was a little girl singing. I still think she had one of the most beautiful voices on the planet.
Me: You are broadening your scope of music by singing different kinds of songs: covers, spiritual songs and even a beautiful Cinderella song. What does it feel like?
Elizabeth: It’s just a lot of fun singing all kinds of songs because I have such a wide range of music that I love and it is good to express that. I always love a good challenge and I can’t stand someone putting me in a box telling me what I have to record. Singing “Let It Go” for example was a great challenge for me to accomplish. Like I said before, I love singing beautiful songs with beautiful melodies. I won’t write a song unless I think it has a great melody and lyrics. Most recently I am thinking about recording more cover songs, which I have not
done a lot of before. There are so many songs that I love, it’s going to be hard for me to decide what to record. I may even call upon fans to give me suggestions. 🙂
What were your expectations when you entered the industry?
Elizabeth: I did not have high expectations for getting a record deal because I was told that it is extremely difficult to get one. A record deal would help me to do all the things I want to do with music though. They would pay for the recordings, the music videos, the radio, promotion, etc. which is hard for me to pay for myself and I usually don’t end up getting promotion simply because I can’t afford it. So while that is something that I really want because it could help me, it is not something that I expect to happen. My only desire is that I get to keep on writing and recording and making videos. Doing these things is very expensive and I don’t think a lot of people understand how expensive it is and that I can’t keep it up forever unless I get some help in the future. It takes a lot of money and that is not something that I have a lot of. So when I write and record something, I am very picky. People ask me to record their songs, but they don’t realize that I’d have to pay a lot of money for that, so I can’t do it! That keeps me only recording songs I write or songs I really love.I think that considering I don’t have a record deal, I have been extremely successful doing this on my own.
Me: Whom do you like more: Elizabeth the music teacher or Elizabeth the celebrity? Do both these roles complement each other or are they different?
Elizabeth:That’s a great question and not something I have thought about before. I really don’t see the two as separate on many levels although they probably are. First of all, I don’t really see myself as a celebrity. I just see myself as a singer/songwriter who has had many people enjoy my music. I think the two jobs go hand in hand at least for now. My teaching job actually inspired me to start writing music because on the job I had to write plays. I loved singing and thought that if I could write plays, maybe I could also try writing songs. So without the teaching and someone at work who encouraged me to record my music, I don’t think the music career would have taken place. Often times I find myself teaching and sharing what I do outside of class with my music students also. I find that it inspires them.
Me: Do you feel the pressure of competition now that you are moreover in the mainstream industry?
Elizabeth: I don’t really feel much competition to be honest. I’m not a jealous person. I don’t look at life that way. I am happy with who I am and my own talents. I do what I do and that is good enough for me. But what I do like to do is look at other artists and see what I can learn from them.