Many professionals in the music industry have earned the title, “Jack-of-all-Trades,” but Elizabeth P.W. has them all beat. “Elizabeth P.W. started her musical career as a trombone player” before “[discovering] her passion for storytelling through music while studying at New York University. She has since written the music for numerous short films, web series and stage plays. In fact, her music has been played at numerous film festivals, “including the Cannes Film Festival, Outfest, and Frameline.”
In 2018, Elizabeth decided to turn her debut single, “Anyway” into a “fundraising and awareness campaign to fight rare mutations of Cystic Fibrosis” with Emily’s Entourage, a non-profit. “‘Anyway’ is performed by two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Grease, Cinderella, Bandstand), Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening, Significant Other), Christy Altomare (Mamma Mia, Anastasia), Javier Muñoz (In The Heights, Hamilton) and Sarah Levy (Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek).”
Between all of her other endeavors, Elizabeth still actively freelances as a trombonist, ukulele player, and music educator.
Clearly, Elizabeth is no stranger to the music industry, and it shows with her debut EP, Haven’t Found It.
“When I Heard” begins with bright string tones and Elizabeth’s sweet vocals. While her voice is clearly trained, it hasn’t been stripped of its individuality: Elizabeth’s vocals are distinct and memorable thanks to their clarity and diverse range, which are matched with that special little something that makes a star. The hopeful positivity of “When I Heard’s” lyrics are matched by upbeat strings and plucked notes that flowing melodies. The track is four minutes, but it’s such a pleasant listen that the time flies by in a flash.
“Emily Waits” showcases Elizabeth’s array of musical abilities, especially her knack for storytelling as she takes us on an adventure through Emily’s life: “Emily wants to feel free / To travel out west to where she’s meant to be / If she just had time….” The lyrics roll off of Elizabeth’s tongue with silky smooth intonation, gliding above the masterful instrumental parts in a way that leaves them pleasantly separate enough to be enjoyed as a package, or even individually. Although “Emily Waits” has a certain sadness to it, Elizabeth manages to give all of her songs a hopefulness, even as they describe situations that should be without hope.
“Different” does depart from Elizabeth’s first two tracks, but being different isn’t a bad thing! The slow, ballad-style start to the track enhances the natural sweetness of her voice, the dragged-out measures proving the vocals’ strength. Elizabeth’s storytelling abilities come out once again as she tells listeners about her relationship with her sister, including “how that night could be / different (x2) / instead her light / it is different (x4) / And so is mine.” The track shows a beautiful resilience, and serves as a powerful ode to someone who is clearly important to Elizabeth.
The instrumentals of “Not Today” have a darker tone to them, making the track stand out from Elizabeth’s typically bubbly, energetic style. Her voice takes on a new persona, too, the saccharine layer still there, but underlaid with inky seriousness. This is one of Elizabeth’s best vocal parts, although it’s hard to pick just one. The instrumentals, too, are complex and interwoven beautifully, making the track as a whole sound practically perfect on every level, from the mournful horn parts to the plucky bassline.
“Haven’t Found It” serves its purpose as the title track for the EP. Soothing acoustic guitar melodies lead into Elizabeth’s flawless vocals as she paints a picture with flowing lyrics: ” I walk a lonely path / To see what I can find / The path diverges up ahead / And I can’t make up my mind / And although that path I walk is narrow / The next may be more wide….” While a path isn’t a new metaphor for moving through life, Elizabeth does a great job of utilizing it in a way that make sit much less cliche. The phrasing of the lyrics in “Haven’t Found It” is interesting and diverse, with pleasantly-rubbing use of syncopation in unexpected places, giving the track a unique feel.
“The Year” is the final song of Haven’t Found It. The track wraps up the EP nicely, incorporating several musical themes from songs before it, such as twinkling string melodies, ode-style lyrics, and masterful storytelling. The instrumentals build tension at the perfect pace, matching the progression of lyrics: “She threw glares that could freeze the sun / Or melt your heart if she so chose / What a silly thing to lose / And I know things don’t always work out / And people try to bring you down / And they’ll take, and they’ll take, and they’ll take, and they’ll take / But oh, what a difference a year makes.” Elizabeth’s last track does a wonderful job at showcasing her voice and other musical abilities.
Currently, Elizabeth “gives a guest lecture at the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts on effective collaboration between film directors and composers.” Elizabeth has already done amazing things, and she isn’t going to stop anytime soon: She’s currently writing her first musical as well as releasing her debut EP!
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