Earlier this year Elyse Saunders released an EP titled “Free”, you can check it out here. "Free". the title track for the EP, has a deeper meaning for Saunders. “It went on to be so many other firsts for me including the first (song) I released during a pandemic, the first to provide me with numerous nominations and 2 awards”. Elyse wrote “Free” as a song for everyone. “It shares a lot of snippets of my life growing up in my hometown and those moments of having first time experiences and that feeling of being a little freer of responsibilities. It's nostalgic while empowering with a message of finding those moments to do things that make us feel free.” Saunders loves country music as its down to earth, authentic and a community, but she really connects with the genre as it is a host for her to tell stories. “I've always loved all types of music but I connected most with country music because of the storytelling and that I could be true to myself”. On this EP, Elyse worked with Paul Shatto, David Wills as well as Dan Swinimer.
Saunders, who hails from Peterborough, Canada, just a couple hours outside of Toronto, started songwriting at 6 years old after she saw her mom play guitar and write songs for herself. Since that moment, Elyse loved the idea of expressing herself through lyrics and songs. Saunders started doing some dance competitions which then snowballed into singing competitions. In the end, Elyse used the competitions as a platform for her music. After the competition days, Saunders moved on to playing gigs at local clubs. “I have so many memories of us getting me in the door, and me hopping on stage at these well-known live music nightclubs and then singing with some of the strongest entertainers out there. For the first few years of this happening, I was underage and couldn't legally stay past 10pm, but I would be allowed to pop in and then get out.” While Elyse had to slow down the live performances during the pandemic, she reflects on her favorite parts about performing which includes seeing everyone uniting for the love of music.
Saunders looks up to a ton of artists but especially Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash. “I have so many people I look up to and it's changing all of the time. It could be because I love an artist's work ethic, branding, songwriting, or entertainment style, but ultimately my hero artists that I aspire to be never change”.The powerhouse vocalist and country music songwriter wants aspiring artists to know that they should “Give yourself the time and permission to work on your craft and once you've owned your craft, be willing to make sacrifices and work hard to reach your goals. This is just as much as a business as it is your art and they have to go hand in hand!”.
You can follow Elyse on Instagram at @elyse_saunders_music and find more information on her website here.