Elisha Esquivel

Photography by Adam Goss

Photography by Adam Goss

Hi Elisha thanks for taking the time to speak to us, we’ve been loving listening to your music here at Native. First of all tell us a bit about yourself and what first got you into music?
Hello! I’m originally from Weymouth, Dorset and have been making music since I can’t remember when. Home and family life was complicated growing up which meant I’d often write as a way of processing the situations around me as well as my emotions. I wasn’t particularly academic at school either and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than singing and song-writing, so that’s what I spent most of my time doing! When I was 16, I decided to leave home and move to Coventry, where I enrolled at Nexus Institute of Creative Arts and specialized in vocals for 3 years, which was an amazing time of growth for me personally and musically.

2018 has seen you release your brilliant new EP, ‘From the Ground Up’ through Kickstarter after quite a break from making music. How did you find the process of making this EP?
It was a wonderful process! I had been trying to release new music for such a long time, and had worked with various people on different projects that had just kept falling through or never materialising. As I was coming to the end of Uni, one of my friends (who is also a producer) reached out and asked if I’d be interested in doing some recording, as well as offered to help me launch a Kickstarter. I had been thinking about this already and so this gave me the push I needed to just get on with it. The creative process was amazing too. It’s the first time I’d had the chance to consider what I wanted my music to sound like beyond just me and a piano. I think you can hear on the EP that I’m still figuring that out– but it was great to be able experiment with different sounds and go on that creative process with my producer, Daniel Clark.

Photography by Adam Goss

Photography by Adam Goss

How important do you think platforms such as Kickstarter are for musicians such as yourself as well as artists and other creatives to bring their ideas to life?
These platforms provide an incredible opportunity for creatives. Budget can be such a huge barrier for artists in being able to produce high quality work, or get a leg up in their career and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter can play a huge part in overcoming this. There is something lovely about the grassroots feel to it as well – knowing that there are real people who believe in you enough to put their money behind you is very humbling. And for the pledgers, as well as receiving the end-product of your work, they get the incredible feeling of knowing that they have played a significant part in the creation of it, and ultimately your journey as an artist. I just kept wanting to find new ways to thank all of my Kickstarters, so this was a really fun element too!

Would you say this EP tells of a very personal journey?
I’d say it tells of a collection of personal journeys… The songs were written over quite a long period of time and represent different trains of thought or experiences – for example, From the Ground Up was written during a significant period of change in my life (I had just got married!), and you can hear that I am trying to process that in the song. Whereas, I wrote Come Home a few years earlier as a reflection on one of my close friends’ experiences and journey. So yes – all of the songs tell of a personal journey – but they aren’t necessarily all connected and they aren’t necessarily all mine.

Photography by Adam Goss

Photography by Adam Goss

Your music is full of euphoric pop-rhythms and some hip-hop like beats, what inspirations have helped shape this?
I had just discovered Joshua Luke Smith – who’s actually more of a rapper – but there was something about the rawness and honesty in his music that I loved, and the combining of hip hop elements with an acoustic, stripped back feel. So he was probably quite a big influence for me at the time. Production wise, we were loving Sigrid a lot, as well as artists like Gabrielle Aplin, Ed, and Coldplay, who were all releasing great new music at the time too! They all probably helped to shape the sound in one way or another.

You’ve played a fair few gigs this year including a show down in London. Which gig has been your favourite?
That’s hard… I’ve loved them all! The Big Feastival in Oxford was amazing because we got to try lots of delicious free food! But I think my EP Launch gig has to be my favourite of this year. It was the first time sharing my new music and the first gig I’d done in years, so I was really nervous and didn’t know if anyone was going to turn up! But in the end the support I received from friends and family was just incredible. We managed to sell out the venue and it was just an all-round magical evening. I wish I could do it again!


Written by Tom Godwin and photographed by Adam Goss.