YEM Interview: Eleri Ward shares how she confronts nerves when she is performing live

Eleri Ward is a singer/songwriter from New York. She just recently released an album back in June titled A Perfect Little Death. The album is available through Ghostlight Records. YEM was able to speak with Eleri about how she broke into the industry. She also shared where she got her inspiration for A Perfect Little Death. Advice she has for new music artists is also in the interview.

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you break into the music industry?

Eleri Ward: By continuing to make music that brings me joy and putting that music out into the world in any and every way I possibly could. Persistence mixed with passion that’s carried by sharing my work.

YEM: Would you say that having a TikTok account helped you put yourself and your music out there?

Eleri: 100%. It was the platform I didn’t know I needed to reach an audience I had never reached before. No other social media platform pushes your content to a bunch of total strangers, and that was the key to finding the fans that persuaded me to release my Sondheim covers and to make an album. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for TikTok!

YEM: What inspires you as a music artist?

Eleri: Listening to music and staying inquisitive. All of my inspiration stems from the artists I love to listen to the most as well as living my life and feeling my feelings. As long as I continue to be in tune with my emotions, ask questions, and find new sounds to fall in love with, I’ll be making music.

YEM: Why is being a music artist important to you?

Eleri: It’s all I’ve ever known. From starting piano lessons at five years old to now having two EPs of original music as well as a full length Sondheim album, I have an endless need to share whatever music my brain comes up with. The stories I like to tell and the way I like to tell them are a huge part of me and it has always held a large space in my life as an artist. I can’t imagine ever stopping.

YEM: How would you describe your genre as a music artist?

Eleri: When it comes to my original music, I describe my sound as a lovechild between Sara Bareilles, Dua Lipa, and Maggie Rogers. As for my Sondheim covers, they are acoustic indie-folk. It’s been a fun journey exploring the various genres that live within the same vessel. They are very different worlds, but both are such a part of me and therefore both are valid.

YEM: Was there a time when you hit an obstacle as a music artist? How did you overcome it?

Eleri: I’ve always had to confront the obstacle of my nerves while performing, but it has been an even bigger obstacle for me coming out of the pandemic and not having performed for a live audience for two years. It’s been a challenging but amazing process working on my performance anxiety with my therapist and using EDMR. The past couple months have given me the first performances where I’ve truly seen growth and change with my nerves. It’s a process, and I still have a ways to go, but so far it’s been incredibly gratifying.

YEM: What was it like starring in your “Johanna (Reprise)” music video?

Eleri: I had such a great time portraying all four characters. They are all so different, which made it really fun to jump from one to the next. We shot the video over the course of six hours on one day, and while that was a challenge, it also was a great push to stay present and let whatever was meant to come out, come out!

YEM: Where did you get the inspiration for your latest album A Perfect Little Death?

Eleri: Conceptually, I have no idea where the album came from. One day I just decided to do an acoustic cover of “Every Day A Little Death” and then it just continued to evolve from there. Sonically, the inspiration came from Sufjan Stevens, who has always been a large influence on me. His album Carrie & Lowell was the largest influence over the album. In terms of actually putting my Sondheim arrangements together in the form of an album, TikTok was the thing that motivated me to do so. It’s truly a conglomeration of factors that brought this album to life!

YEM: Who is your biggest music inspiration and why?

Eleri: Caroline Polachek. Finding her music truly changed my life and I’ve been the most musically inspired than ever before since discovering her. Hearing her voice has allowed me to fully embrace my own in a way I never have before and her sound has given me a new perspective. I’ve never been so enveloped by an artist before and I think that’s because I’ve never seen myself so clearly by observing another artist and their work.

YEM: What is something about music that you know now that you wish you would’ve known a year ago?

Eleri: That any given song has the capacity to live infinite lives, and each one of those iterations is worthy of telling its story. 

YEM: What is a motto, quote, or saying that you live by?

Eleri: Go where the green lights are.

YEM: Where do you hope to see yourself in your music career five years from now?

Eleri: I hope to be working towards a full length album of original songs, more full length Sondheim albums, I’d love to do an indie-folk Christmas album, and to be releasing singles along the way! 

YEM: What is some advice that you’d give to new music artists?

Eleri: Be true to your authentic self. Share who you are and the content you produce generously. Rejection is not a reflection of your worth or talent. If you feel unsure and/or alone on your path, then you’re doing it right because your path isn’t supposed to look like anyone else’s.

You can listen to Eleri’s music here!