Bay Area songstress Lily Elise talks life after ‘The Voice,’ new album

LIily Elise/Beacons Point/Courtesy

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She is a goddess of smooth melodies and soulful vocals. She has got your attention, and maybe even your heart, from the moment she opens her mouth to sing. Her name is Lily Elise, and she has been working tirelessly on shaping and perfecting her sound for the past three years — since she was a contestant on “The Voice” — and now she is ready to show off the fruits of her labor.

“I write every day,” said the Bay Area native, an R&B and pop singer, in an interview with The Daily Californian. Now, after years of writing, she is coming out with an EP this summer, titled Taken. It’s a five-song EP, and Lily wrote it over the course of a year.

“I was going through this relationship that was not great, and I wanted to make a body of work that said to other people in bad relationships that they’re not alone,” she said. Already released singles off the EP include “Generator” and “Suitcases,” both mesmerizing, edgy pop numbers with EDM-y vibes. The songs are haunting and sultry, truly capturing the essence of the bad relationship she spoke of.

Lily’s musical style stems from a diverse range of influences.

“Growing up, I really loved old-school music like Stevie Wonder and Aretha (Franklin), but then on the flip side, I was listening to Spice Girls and Christina Aguilera, and I also am obsessed with John Mayer,” she said. Despite the mishmash of influences she cites, she insists that you can definitely hear it all on the EP.

“Some songs are more alternative-sounding with just guitars, some songs are more urban-sounding, and some songs are more pop, so I would say that you can really hear all my influences,” she explained.

Currently, as far as musical interests go, Lily is a big fan of the new Kendrick Lamar album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and the new Jazmine Sullivan album, Reality Show. “Sullivan’s voice is amazing — I just die for it,” she said.

Lily also claims to have grown up a lot since her stint on “The Voice” back in its first season. “When I was on ‘The Voice,’ I didn’t really know what I wanted my sound to be or who I was as an artist yet, because I was just too young and I was still discovering (who I was),” she said. But getting picked by Aguilera on the show gave her enough momentum to pursue the career that she had always dreamed of. After “The Voice,” Lily dropped out of the University of Southern California, where she had been in the music program for a year and a half. Now was the time, she realized, to start focusing on her own material.

“Once I got off ‘The Voice,’ I really started writing a lot. For pretty much three years, I just wrote every day, and got in with whoever I could. So I’ve come a long way,” she continued. Now, with the release of Taken, she hopes to soon be playing her music to as many people as possible. Lily’s biggest goal for the upcoming years is to be touring because she loves “meeting people and making people feel something on the biggest scale that (she) can.” She and her band are currently in rehearsals, putting a show together that she is inexpressibly excited about.

Lily’s strong desire to play for people makes sense, as she has been writing behind the scenes for years on end. She is more than ready to get her music out there. But in the meantime, she won’t be slowing down with writing anytime soon. Lily is already scheming to release a full-length album sometime in the near future, because as someone who writes every day, she has got one hell of a song bank.

“I’m definitely always working on new material,” she said. “When this EP comes out, I want to give it time to live for sure, but I am definitely already planning.”

Contact Madeline Wells at [email protected]