Music is the one language that unites us all. No matter what language you speak, when you hear music, both your body and your soul recognizes it.
What is Country-Soul Music?
You may have heard of country music and you may have heard of soul music, but what is country-soul music? Country-soul is defined as music that combines gospel-like interpretations of country songs. Some famous country soul singers are Tony Joe White, Yola, and Joe Simon.
Using her talent to inspire others, country-soul singer, Elsie, has used her musical talents to create music that is fun to sing and dance to. In addition to her music being fun, it is eye-opening, causing you to sit down, ponder, and reflect upon yourself, life, and those around you. Elsie’s music warms the soul with an amazingly powerful, yet soothing voice telling profound stories through each melodic lyric.
Who is Elsie?
Elsie is from Columbia, Mississippi. Her love of music started as a child. Growing up in church as a preacher’s kid, Elsie uses many of the familiar, rhythmic patterns of gospel along with the traditional country chords and storytelling methods in her songs. I had the amazing opportunity to interview Elsie to learn more about her musical process and what got her started in the world of country-soul music.
Keep reading to check out our interview below!
How old were you when you first got interested in music?
My interest in music began as a young girl growing up in the church (I’m a PK — “preacher’s kid”). I was in the youth choir at first, and then the adult choir. My parents bought me and my siblings a piano for Christmas when I was in the 5th grade. I started playing by ear, Country-Soul Singer: Elsie 3 and by the time I was in the 7th grade, my dad made me play for the church. I didn’t start playing and singing/writing songs until I was 17.
I know that the genre you sing is country-soul. When did you realize that country soul was the genre you wanted to sing?
I didn’t come out the gate saying “I wanna sing country”— that just happened to be the sound of the songs that God was giving me.
Who is your musical inspiration and why?
I have several different musical inspirations. I grew up on Kirk Franklin and God’s Property. I feel like you can hear that I grew up on gospel in my songs because I’m always taking it to church, especially at my live shows. Beyoncé and Dolly Parton are also huge musical inspirations. I’ve been in the Beyhive since I was 5. Beyoncé just makes you want to be the best at whatever you do. She’s the artist of my life, and I’m just so thankful that I was able to witness her greatness in this lifetime. As for Dolly, I admire her songwriting ability and the way she commands the crowd. I love just the way she paints a vivid picture with her storytelling. I try to emulate that in every song that I write.
What does your creative process look like with writing your songs and coming up with the instrumentals?
I used to have so much time to sit in front of my piano and pick out chords and the perfect melody to marry to some lyrics that I randomly came up with. But now after having kids, I have to do everything in my head. And when I get some alone time (usually it’s me driving by myself somewhere) I try to put everything together. After I figure out how the song is Country-Soul Singer: Elsie 4 gonna go, I take it to Nick at the Dippin Vat studio in Monticello, and we make a scratch track. After that, we just perfect it and eventually release it.
Do you think your music has evolved over time? If so, how?
Absolutely. I listen to the last EP that I released, and I hear so many ways that I could’ve made it better. I also feel like with the music I’m writing now I’m being much more vulnerable and open, which is really scary, but it has to be said.
I know that you’re already a highly skilled pianist. If you could play one more musical instrument, what would it be and why?
I beat myself up every day for not learning how to play guitar. Especially since literally everybody who sings country knows how to play. I’ll probably take some lessons at some point.
What would you tell your younger self as an artist?
Go for it with all of your heart. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t waste your time waiting on other people’s full support.
What advice would you give any upcoming country-soul singers?
Don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t belong just because of how you look.
If you could choose a favorite song you’ve written, what would it be and why? ⁃
Oh, that’s tough. All of my songs are my babies, and as a mama, you can’t have favorites, but if I had to choose it would be between “My Mississippi,” “Nolia,” “Forgiveless,” and this new song I’ve written that I haven’t released yet. It’s called “Babe”.
The Final Bar
Musicality is such an amazing form of artistry. Elsie does an exceptional job of using her gift to inspire, inform, and influence the people of Mississippi and the world around.