Freyja Elsy is an independent singer songwriter and composer with a nomadic past and a sound that pushes into the future. Creating songs with a keen ear whilst pursuing music education, she found herself within the vibrant, engaging Cardiff scene. Through both outside musical influence and internal personal conflict she started to establish a clear identity, forging a path forward to create Lungs, her first single.
With other musical endeavours in the form of collaborations within the band Blue Amber, alongside orchestral compositions performed by members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and thematic interludes created for commercial use – this single is her first, strikeout release and sets the course for a prolific career ahead.
Freyja recently spoke to Andy Howells about her music inspirations and influences.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
I remember hearing Grace by Jeff Buckley for the first time in my early teens and being completely blown away by the power in his voice, the wild instrumentation and the way the song builds. After being brought up with a mix of rock, classical, funk and pop in my childhood, I’d never heard anything quite like it. I was in awe and swiftly became obsessed with this album throughout the rest of my adolescent years (and beyond!).
A bit earlier on in my life though, I remember around 9 years old, sitting with my CD player listening to the album Keep On by Will Young and being completely overwhelmed by the final track Home, and how *sad* it was. I think that was probably the moment I fell in love with the idea of orchestral strings and flutes in pop ballads.
What was the first download you bought?
The first time I downloaded singles from Itunes, I bought two songs: Fallin’ for You – Colbie Caillat – I was very much into happy, upbeat indie/country love songs and ballads around this time…
… (before immediately transitioning into my pop-punk teen phase) and a live version of The Call by Regina Spektor after hearing it at the end of the second Narnia film. It’s a very cute, optimistic song about change and heading into the future. It’s sweet. And again, with the orchestral strings and piano… I can’t get enough of it.
What was the first album you owned?
Riot! By Paramore – another essential album establishing my music taste for years to come! It was constantly on repeat in my bedroom, whilst attempting to reach the heights of Hayley Williams’ vocal range, lending to being able to sing word-for-word each song over a decade later (less so the vocal range, but I tried!). It’s the album that inspired teen Freyja to start a pop-punk/rock band and start writing songs. Even though I’ve gone in a bit of a different direction genre-wise, some serious nostalgia listening back years later.
What’s your constant go to track?
Churchyard – AURORA
The power in this track is unreal. The close harmonised voices echoing into the distance at the beginning, building into a wall of sound with a driving beat and rising chorus, almost battle cry and tribal like, reflecting strength in the face of an abuse of power. Wow. So empowering. If ever I need a boost of confidence or a wake up call, it’s this song. (Also her albums A Different Kind of Human Part 1 and 2 are excellent).
What’s your constant go to album?
Grace – Jeff Buckley, the album which the single of the same name comes from. I’ve already mentioned the single, but the album is definitely a favourite of mine. A record full of non-skippable tracks. Buckley’s voice is enough to take you to another world, but the poetry of his lyrics and his musicality is something else. It’s so easy to get lost in Jeff Buckley’s music.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
I’ve been listening to a lot of other female producers and musicians in various electronica genres within the past year. I recently discovered Welsh artist twst with her singles Are You Listening? and Are You Filming Me?. Such an interesting sound, and such a talented producer. Love it.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
Lungs – my debut single, available now – It’s my most recent song, and it’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my music so far. The whole song is based around real voicenotes I sent to my best friend whilst struggling with the decision of whether to stay in a toxic, unhappy relationship. I’ve been exploring the synthesis between orchestral and electronic instrumentation within the ‘dreampop’ genre and I’m excited to share more of what I’ve been creating with these elements.