As Ottawa’s music scene grows, often times we focus on hip hop but the R&B scene is growing. Elle Spina is one of the talented new comers in this scene. As she prepares for her first single in 2 years named “Series Finale” here is our artist profile of this multi-talented songstress.
Bytown Blog: What inspired you to sing/become an artist?
Elle Spina: I started learning guitar, piano and singing when I was very young. Nothing, in particular, inspired me to do that – it was more of a natural inclination. My mom always had music playing in the house when I was growing up – artists like Aaliyah, Ashanti, Destiny’s Child, Fugees, Usher – and listening was always therapeutic for me in a way, so eventually, I wanted to take things to the next level and learn to make my own music.
How has your work changed and evolved over the years?
It has done a complete 180 from where I started. So much to summarize. I started off singing arguably embarrassing acoustic covers of Drake songs on YouTube back in 2010. After that I had a Jewel, Mazzy Star phase where I was writing a lot of pop/folk music. Then when I was 22 I decided I wanted to make the kind of music I actually grew up listening to which was R&B. Unfortunately, at the time, I was struggling financially, so hiring a producer wasn’t a luxury I could afford. But I still wanted to make songs, so I watched an absurd amount of videos on how to use GarageBand, then Ableton. I bought a cheap mic, an interface and midi keyboard and started producing my own songs. They weren’t good at first, but I kept making shitting, low-quality demons – practicing and experimenting with my voice, experimenting with my songwriting process, brushing up on music theory – and slowly started cultivating the sound I set out to make. I was simultaneously networking with music industry in LA who were able to offer me second opinions and mentorship which definitely had a hand in helping me learn so quickly. Now, 4 years later, I produce all my own music by myself, from my bedroom, and no one’s the wiser. Going from badly sung cover on YouTube to being a budding producer and independent artist is something i hang my hat on.
What are your future goals? Musically and personally?
Barring less interference from the pandemic, I would like to start playing more live shows. Pre-COVID, I was never much of a performer. Anxiety and nerves have always bested me when it came to showmanship, so I’d like to get more comfortable with that. I’d also like to put out my first full length album in 2022, so stay tuned for that.
As an artist, what are your views on the Ottawa scene? Good, bad or in-between?
I feel a bit indifferent towards the Ottawa music scene. In the past I’ve found it difficult to network in the local artist community because it’s small and elusive. Ottawa isn’t exactly the kind of city that nurtures creatives that same way Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal do. I’ve steered my focus towards promoting my music online, and that has allowed me to connect with a broader network of artists, producers, engineers, etc, in other cities and countries. I have worked with several Ottawa artists and produces as well that were extremely talented, but I’ve always been drawn to the idea of branching outside the city and not getting stuck where I started.
Any heat coming soon? Projects, mixtapes, albums, music videos, etc?
YES! On Friday January 14th I’m dropping my first single in 2 years “Series Finale”. It’s essentially a sneak pea of what’s to be expected from the rest of the album, which doesn’t have a release date yet but I’m aiming for April 2022.