Share your life story with us.
I was brought up in a very musical home, learning piano and singing since I could talk. I started writing music seriously at the age of 15 and bought my first recording equipment at 17, capturing dodgy home recordings and making my own CDs to sell to my family.
I attended the Australian Institute of Music and completed my degree in performance. I spent a lot of this time learning new ways to create harmony and melodies that capture and evoke emotions. After University I recorded my first EP and toured around Australia, performing in the major cities and creating a following. This brought me many opportunities to work with different people and have the career I have today.
Share your press release.
Elizabeth Riordan is a singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. After graduating from the Australian Institute of Music, Elizabeth started performing as ‘Elia’, touring the major cities of Australia and releasing two EPs of her own compositions.
The “Elia” EPs gave Elizabeth the opportunity to write for Universal Music as well as most recently with Nightingale Music where one of her songs “I’m In Love With You” won the prestigious Mark Award for Best Song (Vocal). The song has also recently been featured in two episodes of the Netflix series, Cable Girls and is quickly gaining in popularity on streaming services. Elizabeth co-wrote this great love song with Craig Beck (Skybaby Siren).
List the names of those that have assisted you so far in your music career and use this opportunity to thank them.
First and foremost, my Mum. Mum taught me how to play the piano since I could move my fingers independently and inspired me to keep up this skill. Also, my Dad, whose work ethic and strength always encouraged me to work hard for what I want.
My university piano teacher, Greg Coffin. He taught me the beauty of piano composition and helped me shape who I wanted to be as an artist.
My co-writer Craig Beck, who I met through Universal Music Publishing, for without his ears and encouragement my music would still be hidden.
Caron Nightingale and the entire team at Nightingale Music for supporting and giving me the ability to reach my career goals.
Narrate your experience while recording in the studio or while touring.
It’s always an interesting experience, particularly when recording songs like “I’m In Love With You” and “Where You Are”.
I write all these songs in intimate settings like my bedroom or living room, they’re like my secrets and true moments of joy or pain that I write for myself. So when I’m recording them and performing them it’s amazing to see and hear the reaction from people who hear them for the first time as they can always relate somehow. I find the process really special.
Go into detail about your songwriting process.
It’s different every time. Sometimes I will purposefully sit down and say “I’m going to write a song today”, but mostly I’ll be playing the piano for fun and end up playing a chord progression idea and it flows from there. I will either start with a really good chord that caught my attention accidentally, or one line of lyrics will pop into my head and I’ll think “That’s really strong, I’ll work from that”. Then again, sometimes I just wake up and have a full song in my head – lyrics and all. It sounds strange but they’re usually the best ones!
Brief us on what you have on the way for your fans out there.
I’ve been recording a new album that I’m very excited to share. You can expect more beautiful piano, melodies, and harmonies with this one! I have also been collaborating with other songwriters and artists to feature on their songs, so plenty of new music will come out this year.
Tell us what you are doing to increase your fan base.
Social media is an amazing tool to increase your fan base. Remaining present and showing who you really are, allows people to follow and support your music.
Tell us that point in time that you just feel like giving up on your music career.
A few years ago I made the decision to go full-time creative. I left my office job and gave myself a year to really start making my way up the songwriting ladder. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and those months where I was barely making my rent on time certainly made me question my abilities, but I just kept saying yes to the opportunities given to me in the hope that every yes took me one step closer to my goal.
Go into detail on how you make your instrumentation or melody.
The main thing I work on with my instrumentation is being able to accurately represent the music and sounds that are in my head, and transport those rhythms and melodies into my piano & Ableton. Often it will be the slow process of finding that one sound that becomes the base of my song and layering other instruments, melody, and harmonies on to that.
Tell us your complete understanding of music licensing.
The most important thing for me with licensing is to have a strong understanding of how publishing and royalties work yourself and make sure you have the right people representing you and your music.
I actually worked for a music publishing company for three years before deciding to go full-time creative. I learned a lot over those three years about the importance of being a member of your collection society – in my case APRA/AMCOS – and to get publishing with committed people who believe in your music and who are willing to work hard with you.
Tell us the best way to get in touch with you on social media.
Give us the links to your various stores.
Tell us your favorite genre of music.
It may be very cliché of me to say, but I can’t say I have a favorite. My top 5 genres would be Singer/Songwriter, Minimal Electro, Contemporary Jazz, Pop, and R&B.
Tell us the subject matter of most of your songs.
All my songs are written from personal experience. Love and heartbreak, moments I’m trying to make sense of or are proud of. Any major feeling I get, I write a song.
Tell us all we need to know about this song.
I wrote this song the day after my husband proposed to me. We’d just moved into a new home and when I walked outside to the courtyard he was standing there holding a ring. The next day I sat down at my piano in the living room and the song “I’m In Love With You” poured out of me and was written in under an hour. I’m proud of how raw and honest it is.
Tell us what you think about digital distribution and streaming.
Streaming services and digital distribution have certainly made it easier to promote and share your music, have insights on listens and the popularity of your music right at your fingertips. But there is also a negative side, which is revenue for the songwriter. I think there is still a long way to go for streaming services to acknowledge the value of music and the efforts that go into creating releases. I think it’s imperative for artists, publishers, labels & distribution/streaming companies to work together and find a fair solution.
Tell us various ways that artists can boost their revenue.
Play live as much as you can. Register with your collection agency and note every live performance you do, which songs you play. Getting your music on streaming playlists really helps; it creates new listeners and builds stream numbers.
Tell us your thought on self-training and going to an educational institution to study music.
I did both. I stepped away from proper lessons from age 12-18 and played music purely for the sake of being creative. Going back into musical study helped me to really shape the idea of what I had to offer in the music industry and gave me a better understanding of the industry itself. But I believe each artist’s journey is different and there is no right or wrong way to start your career – as long as you have passion and drive for your music.
Go on at length on what it takes to write a hit song.
I think the most important thing to do is to be authentic. It’s very easy to realize you’re singing about something you don’t mean or haven’t experienced. So keep your lyrics honest and write with intention. Keep your instrumentation at a level that compliments what you’re trying to say and evokes the emotion you are feeling.
Tell us what you will buy if you want to build your own studio.
I’m very excited to say I am currently building my own studio! My first necessary purchase was soundproofing. Living in an apartment building these last two years, trying to record vocals while next door’s dog barks all afternoon isn’t ideal. KRK Rokit monitors and the Aston Halo are top of the list, and nothing beats a beautiful old upright piano.
Go on at length on what it takes to gain the attention of the audience while playing live.
Much like songwriting, I believe the key to connecting with an audience is honesty and authenticity. If the audience doesn’t believe you, they won’t connect. Small mistakes vocally/instrumentally don’t matter if the intention is there.
List your five favorite songwriters.
Imogen Heap, Sara Bareilles, Esperanza Spalding, Joni Mitchell, and most recently Daniel Caesar.
List your five favorite music producers.
Mark Ronson, Alison Wonderland, Elizabeth Rose, Flume, Kite String Tangle.
Describe in detail how you feel when you hear your song on the radio.
I get taken aback; it’s not something I ever fully get used to. But it’s always a nice feeling!
Describe your best mood to write a song.
Centered, if I go into the studio and I’m too emotional or too distant nothing will happen.