Eloise’s Song ‘Therapist’ Took Inspiration From An Iconic ‘Friends’ Episode—How She Wants Her New Album To ‘Nourish’ Listeners
Nodding and bopping our heads in agreement! Eloise’s “Therapist” is a song that we want to show to a lot of people in our lives. The 23-year-old English musician just released her third single from her debut album Drunk On A Flight, which is set to be released on April 14, 2023. STYLECASTER exclusively talked to Eloise about her music background, the new album and what inspired her to write “Therapist.”
Eloise—whose full name is Eloise Laurence—grew up with music surrounding her constantly, collecting records from her parent’s collections, but she went along in their career footsteps as an actress. She landed the role of Skunk in the 2012 film Broken with Cillian Murphy. It was there when she was making music for the film with Blur and Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn that she wanted to transition into becoming a full-time musician. Posting her own covers and songs onto social media, Eloise shot to virality once she posted her cover of Bruno Major’s “Second Time” and she sang a duet with him on stage and eventually collaborated on different projects and toured with the “Nothing” singer.
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Her two EPs, This Thing Called Living (2019) and Somewhere In-Between (2021), showcase her fluidity between genres and her inspirations of jazz and R&B—with herself calling it “girl next door energy” coming from her previous songs like “Who’s She” and “Left Side.” Though her songs have that specific energy, her fans are extremely vocal about how universal they feel. If you scroll through any Eloise video on Youtube, you’ll see the endless praise of her songs—like on the eponymous single off her debut album release, one fan commented, “no words to describe all the emotions and feelings that this music makes you feel every time you listen to it.”
“Therapist” is an upbeat and assertive track that revolves around having enough of someone’s BS. Starting with a grooving palm-muted guitar in the background, the song swirls around and grows with harmonies with a very gentle but staunch confidence—a tender rage, if you will. She outright tells someone “I’m not a therapist / I’m not a specialist / I can’t untangle this kind of web” when they pour out their unnecessary problems to her. We talked about the exact moment from an iconic TV show that directly inspired the song, her new album and growing up in the music industry.
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So you started your career in acting at a young age, and you even had a leading role in movies. What was the catalyst for shifting careers and pursuing music?
I had always wanted to be in musical theater because I loved music and acting. I grew up watching Judy Garland and things like that. Then this very bizarre opportunity presented itself to me: to do this film and be the leading character in it. I had the most fun ever making it and I would so do it again. The fun part of it was when the director [Rufus Norris] decided to bring Damon Albarn on board to write the music for the film. He knew that I made music and he invited me to go into the studio with Damon. We ended up writing a lot of music for the film together. I remember being in a studio environment for the first time and thinking this other thing of making music is great. This is where it’s at. This is where I need to be.
What was it like being in the studio with Damon? I’m curious to see what he’s like in the studio, especially with you at a young age.
I knew a lot of Blur songs because of my older brother, but I wasn’t that informed on him. So I wasn’t that scared, I was just excited. It was a grown-up who was taking me seriously, which doesn’t happen a lot when you’re 12 and you’re in a creative space. It’s really nice for someone to treat you like a grown-up. He just created the safest space. Every little thing. I was humming under my breath. He’d shush everyone and say, “What? What are you doing? What do you say?” So there’s me beatboxing on it. He’d be like, “What instrument should we use on this wall of mad instruments?” It was so free, and I was like “I’m in a playground right now” and made me think this is a job that you can have. He was just wonderful. We then went to Cannes Film Festival, and we performed together, which is wild. I think that was pretty much my first-ever gig.
Are there any struggles that you have as a young artist in the music industry?
I think the best thing you can be in this industry is young. Your age, I’ve realized, is definitely a silent currency. Which is such a shame because it’s also predominantly for women. I actually find that being young in this industry is really great. It’s actually the first time in my life (it’s quite early on in my life) I’m 23 and to be looking at myself at 18 I think “Oh, God, it’d be nice to be 18 now and have that level of energy.” Because now I’m that age where I’m seeing these 17-year-olds come up to fame and I think, “Oh my God, these whippersnappers.”
What’s the kind of narrative that you want to portray with this album?
Whatever anyone takes from it is the truth. But I think ultimately, the subtext is very definitely “Don’t be scared to make a mess and learn on the job.” And don’t feel like you have to be grown up by your early 20s. That’s just when the growing start.
I want to know the backstory of “Therapist” since I’m also at that age where I want to tell my friends to get a therapist. How did it all come about?
That was one of the songs on the album where I’d had the initial idea maybe a year before I had a lot of the melodies. I had the sentiment, I had the first verse, and most of the chorus. But I was sitting in my brain for ages and the little bits I had was going around. I thought, “I know this song is going to be something, but I can’t write the rest of it yet.” Then I was watching an episode of Friends where Bruce Willis is crying on Rachel’s lap, because she’s made him open up and then he won’t shut up. And she like “You’re giving me the ick, sorry.” But, can you deal with this? I was talking about it with my friend on a drunken Wednesday at my apartment. She’s a phenomenal songwriter and artist, and she said, “Let’s finish the song.” Within 15 minutes we’d written the rest of the song. We were just crying with laughter because it was so sassy and just savage, you know?
Was there anything that surprised you, or something that was challenging in the process of making this album?
I think the most challenging thing was getting over my little bits of fear that what I was doing, compared to the stuff I have out, is quite different. So I was having a few battles here and there with my ego and my pride, which you always have in this job. I was very definitely aware that I was making something that was different from the other stuff. And I thought, “Oh, this is actually going to come out and I have to back it if it’s going to be this different.” I have to really love it and say to the people who listen to my music, “trust me, and come on this journey with me.” That was the only challenging thing, but it was written and made within six months. So physically, it was a very easy album to produce.
The two songs you released, from my understanding, come from your own life experiences with Drunk On A Flight, or ones that you haven’t experienced with “Giant Feelings.” How does the exploration of feelings help you express what you want out of a song?
I think it’s interesting when the conversation of writing about something that hasn’t happened to you comes up because I’m very empathic—I can feel a lot. There are films that I don’t let myself watch, because I go to the place they go to emotionally, and I’m depressed for a week. So if I think about a scenario, or I’ve seen a scenario play out enough times, I’m fairly confident that if I were in that position I know how it would land in me, and I know how my feelings would come out. It’s kind of easy once you get in flow and you stop thinking and blocking. I think it’s interesting going into different sides of my personality. I feel like I’ve always had the girl next door energy in my old stuff, which I love. But this whole project feels a bit stronger. I sound stronger, the music is stronger and it’s way more heroine of the story. That’s really exciting for me and has been really freeing.
A lot of your fans expressed that your music is “just the right amount of everything.” How do you want people to feel when listening to your music?
I think that’s really ideal. I’m making a real point of essentially, not reading a lot of comments because I know I couldn’t take the bad ones. So that’s nice to hear. I think that’s kind of it. I’d love to be nourishing to the listener. I’d just like it to fill the listener’s cup. That sounds warm. I think the continuity throughout everything sounds it all sounds quite warm and cozy and vocals quite loud. I want them to feel held and full.
Eloise’s Therapy playlist
We also asked Eloise about what songs are therapeutic to her which ranges from acoustic song to dance bangers. Check out the playlist below!
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“Me at the Museum, You in the Wintergardens” by Tiny Ruins
“on & on (Sammy Virji Remix)” by piri & tommy
“Wild Is The Wind” by Nina Simone
“Queen of Wands” by Kainalu
Eloise’s Drunk On A Flight comes out on April 14, 2023. Pre-order the album here.
Drunk on a Flight by Eloise
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