Young Coastie Project participant Elizabeth Rae’s talent was first spotted in year 5 by a teacher, who encouraged her to enter a school talent quest.
She didn’t win, but Elizabeth was buoyed by the school’s support, and wrote her first song at the age of 11.
“I’ve played the piano since I was six,” Elizabeth said.
“I started out just picking out tunes by ear. With that first song, I remember I had this melody in my head – in the early years I had to figure out if it was my own or someone else’s. But I wrote this song and I made my mum listen to it. She suggested I record it with my Dad [who’s also a songwriter].”
These days, her songwriting process is not that different.
“Often I get a line of lyrics, with a core melody, in my head – they often come together,” Elizabeth said.
“Then that becomes either the start of the song – the first line of the verse – or the chorus, a melody we come back to again and again.”
The resulting songs are sweet, quirky – and haunting.
“I love to move people, to make them feel what the songs are about,” Elizabeth said, who cites Regina Spektor, Sarah Bareilles and Brooke Fraser as influences.
“I’m trying to bring the song right to the core of who they are and take them on the journey with me.”
Elizabeth’s song for the Young Coasties album is called Three Little Words.
“It’s about the first time that you say ‘I love you’ to someone. It slows down that moment and breaks it down to the thought process and the heart process of saying those words.”
The opportunity to apply for the Young Coasties project came at the perfect time for her. “I was just getting back into music,” she said. “I’ve been drinking in the amazing wisdom and insights from mentors and it’s helped to connect with other people who have similar aspirations. It’s really given me a massive push and encouraged me to go after it and work really hard.”
While Elizabeth is working on a new album, which she hopes to release later this year, much of her time is given over to her new role as mum to Evelyn, 18 months – which will no doubt impact on the next phase of her life in music.
“[Songwriting] has always been the way that I process life and explore stories,” she said. “My own stories, things that have happened in my life, observations of the world and what’s going on around me.”
Elizabeth Rae will appear in the Young Coasties Showcase on Sunday, May 14 at the Burradise Festival at Culburra Beach. Get your free tickets at culburrabeachfestival.org.au.
The Young Coasties Song Music Project was designed by local youth and musicians to provide much needed training, mentoring and pathways to young aspiring original song writers and musicians on the South Coast.