With her debut album ‘Chaotic’ out today, let us introduce you to an alt-pop rising star Ellise. Once you listen to the Bay Area-born newcomer, you will hear she gravitates towards pop music for its ability to access darker sides of human experiences. Supporting her enchantment with spooky, horror aesthetics, Ellise has two Halloween EPs under her belt.
‘Chaotic’ is her first full-length project featuring singles ‘Over Breakfast,’ ‘Feeling Something Bad’ and ‘Bubblegum Brain’. After already having a successful year, Ellise lets her stan fanbase deeper into her heartbreak with the debut album. ‘Chaotic’ accentuates hyper dark-pop elements with still sounding nostalgic.
Ellise’s efforts to build an unstoppable brand are in full swing. She desires to create a sound that is distinctively hers: “I’ve been in love with singing since I was a little girl, and it’s always felt like a calling to me. My love for creating original music and making my own sound all stemmed from my love for singing as a kid”, she says.
As a 22-year-old today, Ellise reveals she’s been creating for only a few years: “I got started by just creating. I began making original music at the age of 17 and released my first song at 19, and from there I kept working and making my own sound, and it progressed from there. When I saw people gravitating to my early music, it really inspired me to keep going and developing my sound”.
Entering the industry as a teenager, Ellise had the advantage of fully understanding the impact of social media and the opportunity of staying connected. Throughout the years, she’s built a ride-or-die audience of over 238k Instagram followers and 37.5k followers on Twitter. She speaks on the subject: “I have a love/hate relationship with social media, as I’m sure a lot of people do. But I will say Twitter and Instagram have really helped me to become close to my fanbase. We can just talk to each other all day long; it feels more like texting with your friends rather than this large separation between artist and listener. I love how the internet makes it fun and easy to connect with the people who enjoy your music. My fans are hilarious, and I feel very close to them”.
Not hiding away from the dark side, Ellise rather confronts it with open arms. She explains why plus the reason behind releases two Halloween EPs, ‘Can You Keep A Secret’ and ‘Under My Bed’: “I’ve always been into the dark, spooky, disturbing stuff. Horror, Halloween, gore: these have been my interests since I was young. It definitely plays a role in my music and aesthetic. As far as the Halloween EP’s, I had always seen artists do Christmas music, and to me, Halloween is like Christmas. So, I decided to make music centred around my favourite holiday. Plus, at the time, my life was super dark, and the aesthetic of Halloween felt like the perfect vibe to get out all my negative emotions”.
Her first single of the year was ‘Bubblegum Brain,’ a track that perfectly encapsulates Ellise’s discography. She elaborates: “Bubblegum Brain is my little paradox. The song is super upbeat and happy, but the lyrics are actually about being depressed, substance abuse, and even thinking about taking my own life. I made the song when I was in a terrible place mentally, and nothing felt real. I was existing, but it didn’t feel like I was living. I wanted to make a happy-sounding song to try to lift my spirits while also pouring out the emotions of self-doubt and sadness that I was so intensely feeling at that time”.
For one of the lead singles from ‘Chaotic,’ ‘Over Breakfast,’ Ellise decides to go all the way in, putting down her rawest emotion. “I write all my songs in my notes app! I had the guitar loop for ‘Over Breakfast’ in my phone already, and I had just gotten broken up with. As soon as the boy left my house, I was lying in bed crying, and I pulled out my phone and wrote the song”.
As well as the track itself, Ellise matches the palette for the visuals: “For the Over Breakfast video, I really just wanted something that looked beautiful and soft while still keeping an element of gore and pain. The idea was to make everything look ethereal but enunciate the pain of heartbreak with the blood and the metallic tears. The song is soft, so I wanted the visual to match. There isn’t really a storyline; it’s more up for interpretation”.
Recording about negative experiences enables artists to let go. We wondered if the songwriting process of ‘Over Breakfast was therapeutic for Ellise. She answers: “Honestly, no. I was still very much in pain even after writing it. Usually, I wait until a situation is healed over before writing about it so that I can look at it from a different perspective. Sometimes if I try to write about something while it’s still fresh, it feels messy and doesn’t come out as good. But with ‘Over Breakfast’, I was so hurt, I knew at that moment the rawest emotion would come out. No overthinking, no nuanced lyrics, no overcomplicated melodies, just very simple and honest heartbreak. It didn’t help me get over it, but it does stick out in my head as one of the easiest songs I’ve ever written because it flowed out of me so quickly at that moment. I don’t think I could have written something so simple and sad otherwise”.
Defining herself as an innocent pop princess on her socials, we perceive Ellise as a Bratz doll gone rogue while she explains her style: “My style is really just a compilation of what I like. Some days I want to wear super girly dresses and sparkles and big platforms. Some days I want to wear oversized hoodies and jeans and Nike’s. I really like big shoes and little outfits, like Bratz doll vibes”.
As we already mentioned, today marks the release of Ellise’s debut album ‘Chaotic’. This project is a one-chapter record dived into from every possible angle: “Lots of sadness, heartbreak, and a few bops as well. The name “Chaotic” is really the best descriptive word for it. It truly is a body of work that describes one single heartbreak in detail. I went through a traumatic relationship this past year. The album tells the tales of the trust issues, the heartbreak, the feelings of jealousy, guilt, sadness. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it”.
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Words: Karolina Kramplova