By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“I know it has to end, but we can pretend.”
On a mission to increase the amount of female producers in the music industry and being one herself, electronic artist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annie Elise, 20, has shown herself to be a force with the release of her second single “We Can Pretend” earlier this summer, with a bouncy chorus sure to be stuck in your head.
The track – co-produced with Josiah Soren and mastered by GRAMMY Foundation Treasurer Piper Payne – explores the feeling of how when we “pretend” the world is perfect in our head and to just bring a little bit of that to real life could help set people on the right track.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Elise – also known for her notable TEDxLancaster talk about her synesthesia that has garnered over 115k views – about “We Can Pretend” and more.
Music Bugle – What do you enjoy the most about being both an artist and producer?
Annie Elise – My favorite thing about being an artist/producer is getting to work with so many different people. I love helping other artists bring their visions to life as a producer, but the only time I really get full creative control is when I am the artist. Doing a balance of both things leaves me super satisfied musically.
Music Bugle – How would you compare your new material to your oldest?
Annie Elise – Back when I first started releasing music, I was putting out ambient electronic tracks. They were easy listening tracks – simple soundscapes inspired by my synesthesia. Although I really enjoyed writing and producing music for that purpose, I was super drawn to creating pop music that was more commercially viable. Those two are pretty much opposite sides of the electronic music spectrum, but I am proud of the work that I did for both eras.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your single “We Can Pretend”?
Annie Elise – My goal was to make a song that I loved. “We Can Pretend” is the first single off of my debut EP coming in winter 2022. It’s a strong track, well-produced and it’s the perfect introduction into what you can expect for the rest of the EP.
Music Bugle – How would you say 2021 has treated you so far?
Annie Elise – Oh man, 2021 has been one wild ride. It’s simultaneously been the best and worst year yet. Some amazing musical opportunities have come up and I am so grateful for all of that! Recently, I was nominated for a CPMHOF Award, which was amazing, as well as getting to work with brands like Kilohearts, Baby Audio and MXL, but it’s also been the hardest year for me, personally. Although my music has been able to flourish, it’s hard to find the motivation to keep working when everything else seems to be going wrong. I’m very grateful to have a wonderful team behind me that believes in my music and supports my mission. I really don’t know where I would be without them.
Music Bugle – Do you feel your young age gives you any sort of creative advantage in today’s music industry?
Annie Elise – That’s a tough call. I think right now, I’m still in the age where I know I am still learning. As a result, I find that performers and producers around my age have a little less of an ego because this is all new to us. Plus, I love learning! I learn something new from every person I work with and I intend to keep doing so. As a result, I guess you could say that I have an open mind about music and I think that I certainly use that as an advantage.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Annie Elise – It’s really funny, all three of the singles that I have out right now were a first draft of lyrics. They just worked so well that I never felt the need to rewrite anything, or change the lyrics. For “We Can Pretend,” we actually ended up using the scratch vocals I sent to demo the song!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Annie Elise – It has the power to do both. Social media can be an awesome way to network, find new clients and share your music. It can also start feuds, fuel jealousy and make musicians mad insecure. In moderation, it can be a great thing. Too much and I think it can really burn good musicians and performers out.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your success to, so far?
Annie Elise – I think the success of my artist project can’t be attributed to any one thing. It’s a huge culmination of support from so many people – my manager Claire, my partner Sebastian, my family and friends and The Annie Elites community. We all are succeeding together to change the music industry for the better.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Annie Elise – The biggest change for me was that instead of doing all of my production work in a studio, it all switched to being online. I started getting more comfortable with producing things alone and now as things are opening back up, I am finding it different being back in-person. It’s really inspiring to get to work with other people and it’s so good to have it back after so long.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Annie Elise – When I need a break, I go home! I grew up in the middle of nowhere near Hershey, Pennsylvania. It’s such a beautiful place and it’s really great to escape the busy-ness of the city. Around here though, my go-to break spot is anywhere near a large body of water or some place with trees to climb. It reminds me of home and leaves me motivated and inspired.