We had the pleasure of interviewing Eloise Alterman over Zoom video.
Singer-songwriter Eloise Alterman makes her official ATCO/Big Yellow Dog/Atlantic Records debut with the release of her moving new EP, 'Sad Bird,'.
Alterman creates music of...
We had the pleasure of interviewing Eloise Alterman over Zoom video.
Singer-songwriter Eloise Alterman makes her official ATCO/Big Yellow Dog/Atlantic Records debut with the release of her moving new EP, 'Sad Bird,'.
Alterman creates music of exquisite sensitivity, finespun songs that capture the subtlest nuances of heartache and loss. A self-taught pianist/guitarist who began penning soul-baring songs in her early teens while growing up in Detroit, Alterman deferred her acceptance to the University of Southern California and moved to Nashville alone at age 17, without knowing a soul in all of Music City. After spending years working on her own to sharpen her craft, Big Yellow Dog Music’s Carla Wallace signed her and brought her to Atlantic. Alterman soon signed with ATCO Records (a recent reactivation of the iconic Atlantic Records imprint first founded in 1955, including previously signed acts like Genesis, the Bee Gees, Cher, Donny Hathaway) and Full Stop Management (Harry Styles, Meghan Trainor, John Mayer) on the strength of the music now showcased on 'Sad Bird' - music that Alterman is now sharing with the world.
Etched with gorgeously evocative lyricism and centered on Alterman’s moody vocals, “Her” emerged after a long period of adamant resistance to its subject matter- the singular pain of knowing the one you love is hung up on someone else.
With an understated yet captivating sound informed by longtime influences like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, 'Sad Bird' presents an up-close portrait of heartbreak, healing, and self-discovery. Eloise Alterman boldly pushes outside her comfort zone to craft the kind of timelessly poignant pop songs that cut right to the heart. Songs like “Her” and the deceptively anthemic “Sad Bird Still Sings” – the latter penned while alone in a hotel room near Utah’s Zion National Park – reveal the emotional intensity Alterman has brought to her music since she first started writing songs on the piano in her family’s basement. On “I Still Love You,” Alterman infuses that emotional clarity into a devastating piano ballad, lacing her lilting melodies and choir-like harmonies through a detailed meditation on post-breakup grief. Newly based in L.A. after six years in Nashville, Alterman – whose recent TikTok cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” went viral with over 3M views and 115K likes to date – has already noticed a shift in her self-perception after so thoroughly exploring the many stages of heartbreak.
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What's going on?! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we hung out with Eloise Alterman over zoom video. Eloise was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and she talks about how she got into music. She started playing piano around 10, 11 years old. There was a grand piano in their living room or the foyer. She always sang, but wanted to learn how to play an instrument. And when she started playing piano, she started taking lessons, but her mom moved the grand piano down to the basement. That was kind of her little music room. She talked about starting a nonprofit that would help fund music lessons for kids that couldn't afford it in Detroit, that nonprofit ended up raising over a million dollars in just four years, which is incredible. 3 (2m 18s): So you hear about that. She eventually moved to Nashville after high school. She tells us about the struggle she had while living in Nashville and trying to make it get rights and different co-writes with people doing everything she could to network with anyone in the industry. She tells us how she was able to get her songs in front of the ANR at big yellow dog. She talks to us about writing, recording, and releasing the other side, her EAP from 2021 and all about her latest EAP, which is called sad bird. You can watch the interview with Eloise on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. 3 (3m 4s): And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be awesome if you follow us there as well and hook us up with the five-star review. 4 (3m 14s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 3 (3m 20s): We're bringing it backwards with Eloise Alterman. 5 (3m 23s): Thank you for having me. I'm excited. 3 (3m 26s): I'm Adam, by the way. And this is about you and your journey and music. And we'll talk about your new EAP as well. 5 (3m 33s): Cool. 3 (3m 34s): Awesome. Awesome. So first off you're wearing the sweatshirt, but are born and raised in Detroit is Otter red. 5 (3m 40s): Yes. 3 (3m 43s): Talk to me about that. 5 (3m 46s): I grew up there and my dad was from there. My mom's from Ohio pretty boring, but my dad was in the car industry. I love cars, all American, especially American muscle. You've probably noticed the cover, the EAP on an American car, but yeah, it was a great, it was a great childhood. I mean, it was pretty cold for most of the year, but we spent summers at the lake and I miss it, but 3 (4m 17s): That's really cool. So your dad was in the car industry then? 5 (4m 20s): Yeah. 3 (4m 21s): Very, very cool. So were you just constantly surrounded by, you know, muscle cars and, and cause I know there's obviously a huge industry in Detroit. 5 (4m 29s): Yeah. I mean, it's how Detroit was pretty much formed. I guess it was like their main industry when it was, which is really sad now that it's not, but yeah. I mean obviously if like the Woodward cruise and stuff, have you heard of that? It's every summer where pretty much everyone who lives in Detroit area seems to have, especially like the older generation seems to have some sort of older car in their garage and like for a weekend in the summer they all come out and Woodward is like the main strip of road through Detroit, all the suburbs and stuff. And it's just a big party. 3 (5m 11s): That's awesome. My neighbor across the street, he's from Illinois, but he's big and he works for Ford and he's got like, it just reminds me of him. Like he's got this old, a Mustang and it's like in his front yard, he's constantly working on. 5 (5m 24s): I know it's like every single person in between there. Like I'm working on my car again. Like there, they love it. I dunno. I used to country accent there it's Michigan. 3 (5m 32s): Sure. But do you like growing up is, does your dad like work on cars? Like is something that you were taught like a skillset growing up? 5 (5m 39s): Not as much. I mean, I know everything about cars because God forbid I ask a stupid question. Like if you know, like an oil change or something, but the big LOE is, are you serious? But he was more, he made the engine blocks. So more like the parts that go into the instead of the entire car itself. So I know a lot about engines, 3 (6m 3s): Which is really cool. What a cool skill to have. 5 (6m 6s): Yeah. Like who needs that information? But as a girl in California where all the engines are electric, 3 (6m 16s): I was going to say, well, what about music? Anyone in your house? And artists? Musical. 5 (6m 23s): No, but we had, so we used to have a grand piano in the foyer ever under calls. 3 (6m 27s): Oh, that's cool. 5 (6m 29s): Yeah. I mean, it was the thing is for Luxe and then 3 (6m 33s): He played it 5 (6m 34s): Now. And my mom used to, my mom used to play and she ended up putting it in the basement and one check once I started trying to play because I was learning at the time and she was like, 3 (6m 52s): She didn't want to listen to you learn. 5 (6m 55s): No. Cause I haven't. Have you ever heard someone to learn how to play the piano? And then once it's, once I started writing, she was like, okay, enough immediately enough. Like, cause when you're writing a song, it's the same thing over and over and over again. 3 (7m 8s): So she made, she moved you down to the, to the basement? Yes. Okay. And how old were you when you started learning piano? 5 (7m 16s): I'd say I was in like the sixth grade. 3 (7m 19s): Okay. Other than the piano being there, was there something that drew you to wanting to learn how to play? 5 (7m 27s): I had always loved singing my whole life and I was a huge karaoke singer. I had all my little kit and my mom said to me, she was like, okay, enough of the karaoke, if you would like to be a singer, you're going to have to learn how to play an instrument. And I was like, if they only got that piano point in the foyer, however you say it, I say foyer. But she was like, oh God. So then I started learning on that and that's what I got moved to the basement, like by professionals, you know, reverse. 3 (7m 59s): Oh really? Like we're hiring somebody to get this thing out of here. 5 (8m 5s): Immediately hear here from all over the house stop. And I'd just be <inaudible> and be like, okay, sorry. 3 (8m 15s): Oh, wow. Well that's cool that, that you continued on, you know, minus like instead of being discouraged or like, oh, I'm going to go to, I'll just go down to the basement. I'll do it, whatever. 5 (8m 26s): Well, that's what ended up. That was where I wrote most of my songs. I loved the basement. It was, it ended up becoming like my music room and the basement itself was like unfinished. Like it wasn't like a cute basement. It was pretty crazy down there. But then there's a ginormous, beautiful grand piano, like in the scariest looking basement. And I was like, we're going to branch it out, down here. So, but the reason that they were always yelling at me is I have a lot of siblings and parents doing their homework and parents are working it's after school and I'm like banging on the peanuts, trying to do my math facts. And I'm like, I'm trying to learn piano. 3 (9m 5s): I mean, how many siblings do? Yeah. 5 (9m 7s): I have two brothers, so we're all two years apart from the next one. So my brother under me and then another, sorry. And then a little sister. 3 (9m 17s): Okay. So four. And you're like the middle ish. Okay. That's cool. And so you have a bunch of stuff. You have other siblings in the house that are trying to do school work and you're downstairs playing the piano. So your parents are like, okay, we're gonna move you downstairs. At what point do you start writing songs? Is it pretty early? I mean, you said you were writing when you're writing songs, your mom's like, okay. You know, I don't wanna hear the same thing over and over and over. 5 (9m 41s): Yeah. I mean, I started writing my freshman year of high school. That was, I really, I think it was just filled with a lot of emotions during you through puberty. That's what a flood of emotions. I think that's just like the only word for it. And I just, I write like these like nine minute songs and I was like, who do I think I am led Zeppelin. I was going to sit through this with a, you know, 14 year old. What does she have to say? But I had a lot to say, I guess there's like, I mean, the courses themselves are four minutes. 5 (10m 21s): So 3 (10m 23s): Epic ballads. 5 (10m 25s): They were just stories with music, writing them. 3 (10m 28s): We always a writer like where you always writing. It sounds like that was a way you were able to, you know, therapeutically, get your emotions out. 5 (10m 36s): Yeah. It was a pretty emotional kid. I, my family is not emotional at all. Like, they're all pretty like hard at their health hardasses. Like they're very like strong people. They, you know, lots of armor. I don't know. I mean, as brothers and then my little sister's like a tomboy and I was just like really soft, sweet, like scared child, just like everything made me nervous. I was very protective and just like careful. And then I had like these crazy brothers and my mom was just like a firecracker, like she's super fun down for anything. And then my dad, he was working all the time when I was, I was self filled with so many different emotions and so many feelings and they just looked at me like a crazy creature. 5 (11m 22s): They're like, what is wrong with this girl? And so over the years I just held a lot of it in because I was like, okay, we're not supposed to show how we're feeling. And music B ended up becoming an outlet for it because you know, when you hold in a lot of feelings, they bottle up and then, oh, so it ended up becoming a great outlet. Just like, I think a lot of creatives. 3 (11m 46s): So you started writing songs, you said in freshman year, like when were you to the point where you were comfortable showing people your songs or was there a moment that you wrote something really, really proud of? And you're like, I'm going to show this to blah, blah, blah. I'm going to play this live or, 5 (12m 1s): Yeah. So I had started this charity and in high school called teens for arts and w pretty much like there's this program in downtown Detroit called mosaic. And you can have pretty much what they have scholarships for kids to be able to do. Like it's like music, it's a music program, the scholar. And to be in this music program, I guess it's kind of expensive. And we raised money for scholarships so that anyone can be able to do this music program downtown Detroit because of, you know, there's a huge issue with just homelessness and stuff like that. But there's so many talented kids. And I was like, how is it fair that all of us are taking piano lessons and taking guitar lessons and you know, going to school and doing all this. 5 (12m 44s): This is so stupid. That's not fair at all. Anyways, started this charity, but we put on this huge event and we would play music with the mosaic kids. We put on a show with them pretty much at like at like the country club in our area. And we'd invite all the parents and make them bring out their checkbooks for the, for us cute little kids playing the Michelle. 3 (13m 9s): Sure. 5 (13m 9s): We were doing. And we have a catered, obviously when we're children, we can just like, oh, and embracing a million dollars over the four years. 3 (13m 22s): And man, that's awesome. 5 (13m 24s): You know, it was crazy. I think it's what got me into college for sure. Because my act score was a joke, but I think it was like a 17, which I don't think it gets much lower than that. 3 (13m 34s): I can't remember. 5 (13m 35s): I put on my calculator, which I'm pretty sure you need for like the entire thing. 3 (13m 41s): Try to do the math on like paper, 5 (13m 44s): Like, excuse me. I think you need a calculator is like, I should have brought that. I was like, okay, I guess I was like, I'm not trying to go to college anyway. But anyways, I had, I had played a song at one of these charity events, long story short and all the other parents that were there and stuff were like, Wendy, did, you know my mom's name's Monday? Did you know your daughter wrote songs? She was like, yeah. And you know, they, they had, had gotten some good feedback. So from there that just gave me the confidence to keep doing it. I think sometimes you just need, for, at least for me, I need like a little gold star on my forehead, like 3 (14m 21s): Yeah. And validation that you're doing, what you should be doing kind of. 5 (14m 24s): Yeah. Yeah. And so I just kept doing it. And then, so this was about, this was my end of my sophomore year of high school or junior. 3 (14m 34s): That's impressive to start a, like a charity like that. What was, do you just have this idea, like, you know what, we should be able to provide lessons for anyone and then you just reach out to some people and got this charity going. 5 (14m 49s): Yeah. I mean, 3 (14m 50s): It's incredible. 5 (14m 51s): I had played sports, but it wasn't for me and I didn't have any extracurriculars. Then I just went and played music in my basement every day after school. And I finished my homework in school every day because I wasn't paying attention in the other classes. So like, I'd get homework in first period. And then the second period I do that homework. So it's 3 (15m 12s): Actually, 5 (15m 15s): It's actually really smart, but by the time I'd get home, I'd have no homework. And I really prioritize my music and it made it, I didn't, I mean, I didn't find school too hard is he deals a little harder, but I had a lot of free time and I, I absolutely have truly, always loved music, like not in a cheesy way, but I just have always loved it. I wanted, I like, it didn't feel like work, if that makes sense. Like I just, I wanted to have meetings with people. I felt those were the things that like got me going, not school and like field hockey games and all the other stuff. We're just like obsessed with. I just didn't, I didn't do the same for me, but yeah. 5 (15m 57s): I mean, so there were some seniors when I was a sophomore that we were friends that I was friends with and they were also in music and, and in our, in our area, like at least where I grew up, like, there's not a ton of creatives. Everyone goes to college. There's like maybe one kid from every school that goes to music school or something, you know? So we all kind of came together and started this together. And we had chairs for every, you know, like the decorations committee and all that stuff. 3 (16m 24s): Wow. Wow. That's really, really impressive. 5 (16m 28s): Yeah. We, we just went every Sunday, but also like, it was fun cause I went to an all girls school. So of course I had boys. 3 (16m 35s): Yeah. 5 (16m 36s): No. So there are snacks and it was fun anyways. 3 (16m 42s): Wow. Okay. And then you end up attending college in Detroit or did you move out of state or go to college? 5 (16m 49s): I didn't go to college. I think in the UFC, which I, I just a little bragging moment. I think it was it wasn't for my act scores. That's for sure. Right. 3 (16m 60s): Oh, wow. I mean, I grew up in Southern California and I could not get into that school. I could say that much. 5 (17m 6s): I, well, I don't know why I got in 3 (17m 10s): Probably because you raised a million bucks in four years with those non-profit that you started. 5 (17m 17s): I remember sitting with my mom, it was like a birthday treat. My dad got us to like, go get a spot treatment when we were out in spring, my senior spring break, because I didn't go and I'm sitting there and I'm like, why do all my emails say, congratulations, USC student. I'm like, that's so weird. They'd put that like on an email when they haven't told you yet, if you got it. And my mom's like, you can't are you stupid? And I'm just like, should I have gotten into school? You know? And I'm like, that's just really weird. They would like, you dumb go in your email right now. And I saw it and I was just like, oh my God, I got in. And then like a week later I was like, do you guys care if I don't go to college? 5 (18m 1s): So letting go, 3 (18m 2s): Your dad looks at the price. It was like, yeah, of course 5 (18m 6s): My dad didn't go to college. My mind pulled in. They're like, no girl, you do you like as long as what are you going to do? I'm like, I'm going to move to Nashville. And they're like, all right. If you want to tell us more 3 (18m 20s): And then used to say, yeah, you're like, I'm going to Nashville. I love songwriting and music. And that's where, it's where it's happening. The idea. 5 (18m 29s): Yeah. I had such an appreciation for songwriting and at the time, like I knew nothing about LA I'd been here once and it just seemed really scary at this time. Like it's still, to me, it's scary. Like it's large, you know, figuring out the whole place is so crazy. And I, I had been in Nashville like three times. And so I was like, okay, that place, you know, familiar. I know Broadway is with my mom and my aunt. And so I went to Nashville and I thought I had an internship lined up, turns out it was totally the bullshit. 5 (19m 11s): I didn't tell my parents that when I got there and it was just a big, old mess when I got there at first, but still didn't tell him. I was like, Hey, we're going to just finesse our way through this. And I ended up staying, I, I told him I was just going to try it for a year. So I deferred UFC for a year. So I can still go back the next year. I was like, 'cause, I w I was going to USC for business music business. So I wasn't going to be an artist. I was like giving that up to go to college. I guess. I just, I didn't think it was a thing, you know, like I was like, how do you go to college and be an artist, you know? 3 (19m 45s): Oh yeah. Music business is not only, it works if you're an artist too, but like, yeah. Obviously like, okay, this may be lucrative to me. If I finish, instead of like, 5 (19m 55s): I was like, how do I future plan while like editor? I was just like, I don't, it's so weird when you're 17 to like, 3 (20m 2s): Just live your life 5 (20m 4s): And like pick a college based on like, such a weird, like wanting to be an artist. I'm like, I don't think you need it. I don't think you what I'm doing, but anyway, just depends on what you're doing and what your path is through. I was like, I feel like if I go there, then I'm gonna end up getting a job and I'm going to miss out on something I really want to try. So I told my one year in Nashville, I was like, I just wanna try and be an artist for one year, six years later, all my college fund is eaten up after the four years because you know, I was delivering hot wings in Brentwood, Tennessee. 3 (20m 42s): There you go. I live in national now or south, but yeah. Around where you just mentioned. So 5 (20m 49s): Jefferson's, 3 (20m 51s): I haven't, I've only been here for like a little over a year. 5 (20m 54s): Well welcome. 3 (20m 55s): Thank you. But you were there for six years, so you could say, well, welcome to LA. Cause I'm from Southern California. 5 (21m 6s): Yeah. But 3 (21m 8s): So you're working at this, at this place and what just like for the six years, you're there, are you just trying to meet people, you know, getting these writer's rounds, like try to get a publishing. Like, what was your experience those first few years in Nashville? And like, how are you trying to like kind of navigate what you're trying to do 5 (21m 27s): My first few years? Like I looked back and I'm like, well, I'm just like, so I'm living in this house with this producer. Who's, which is, it's a long story. Not really a cruiser. I don't really know what's happening, but 3 (21m 41s): He's got a laptop of garage band. He's got a 5 (21m 43s): Laugh. Yeah. I'm starting to hear some of my songs with his book, his voice on them. And I'm like, this is weird. Things are happening. And I'm like, and then it was a mess, but like, we're not salty about it anymore. We forgive him. But anyways, I move out into this apartment. I'm 18 now, still a baby. And I feel so bad because I'm like, I'm so stupid. But looking back, I'm like, you know, still a kid, you know, and there was no internship. He had produced one of my songs when I got there. And then I, I moved into this apartment all by myself in a weird area. 5 (22m 29s): I didn't know where I was. So it was only my first three months there. I, I still did tell my parents that I had stuff lined up, even I didn't. And it's really difficult to be in Nashville when you're not 21, because everyone is in college. And so I'm not going to be making friends like to me or to them, I'm weird. Like, why am I living? Like, what am I doing to them? You know, like they, weren't trying to hang out with me. They're in their sorority stuff, they're doing their things, you know? And then everyone who's older is like, why is this like 12 year olds living in an apartment by herself? You know? And like, like she can't come out with us, you know, cause everyone there is like a heavy drinker. 5 (23m 11s): And so I spent like two and a half years by myself in this apartment. And you know, I think it was character building. I'm 3 (23m 20s): Sure you, I wrote a lot of songs 5 (23m 23s): I did. And one of the songs will actually hopefully be released at some point. And I ended up writing by myself called last night stress. I started it in the chapel at my high school and then reworked it when I lived in an apartment by myself. And it's so cool to watch it like evolve anyways. 3 (23m 43s): That's so awesome. 5 (23m 45s): Yeah. So it's like a little piece of me through the years, but I, this is a funny story. I, I got bored like a lot in this apartment. And have you been pine with social or heard of it? Other places? The bowling alley. I kind of lived in the apartments above it. 3 (24m 2s): Okay. 5 (24m 3s): On rolling mill hill 3 (24m 4s): And I actually just went there recently. That's a cool spot. Yeah. 5 (24m 8s): My dad had bought me like a bunch of booze. He uses a boarder, filled my cabinets with them when he helped me move into this little apartment from Glasgow. And so I pour myself a nice, big old glass of white wine because I didn't know about mixing alcohol at this point. And I walked down to the pilot social, and this was my little trick. I would do this every weekend. And I would sit at the bar and I would get like a mocktail, like, I'd get like in a short crystal glass, I've asked for like a soda with lime and like a splash of Korean or something that just looked like a cocktail. And then I would go to the hostess and I'd say like finger the table, like for one. 5 (24m 48s): And she's like, yes. And so she would sit me at the table for one and then I have a winner and I'm like, can I get another? And you'd be like, what is it? I'd say like, you know, like vodka, whatever I was drinking. 3 (25m 0s): That's 5 (25m 1s): Brilliant. And everyone who works at Pinewood social is a songwriter. And my waiter, his name was Devin. He was a songwriter. And I ended up writing with him for like years. 3 (25m 13s): And 5 (25m 14s): I was like, do you want to write some time? Which is the craziest thing to say to someone, but I'm just like getting drunk by myself every Saturday at Pinewood, social eating broccoli. Cause that's one of their best dishes and being like, Hey, you wanna write some time? And they're like, how old are you? And I'm just like, 3 (25m 31s): Obviously 21 5 (25m 34s): Bring me this drink. And then we keep writing. And at some point I'm like, yeah. So like when I graduated high school last year, he's like, what? I'm like, what, wait, what? 3 (25m 48s): I'm at college. 5 (25m 51s): I meant my masters or whatever they're called anyways. So that was a funny story. But That's the hustle. Like I was like, everyone, no one's gonna write with like everyone who has a publishing deal is not going to write with me. You know? Like, who is this? Like truly like, and also when you're a young girl who like doesn't know anyone, it's just, it's hard to be taken seriously. And you just have to, you have to move your way through. But also everyone there wants the exact same thing. So it's really hard to set yourself apart. And I was just like, it made me realize how much I wanted it because I looking back, I'm like, how did I do that? 5 (26m 33s): Because me now, not nothing I'd get discouraged, but I'm like, that's a, that's not a hard work. 3 (26m 39s): Yeah. Grind. I mean, to do that for six years, like what happened to where you're like, oh, like you something there must've been some sort of milestone moment that you were like, okay, I need to stay here. Like this happened. So this is working. And then obviously you get to LA and like, how does you know, what was the path between that? 5 (27m 1s): So I had a lawyer as in Jeff Colvin because I had, I gotten advice from a studio engineer there that I need a lawyer. Like, that's the first thing you have to do. So I get a lawyer named Jeff Colvin and he told me, cause I was like, what do I do next? Like, my parents are on my ass. They are asking you what I'm doing every day. And I'm just like, I'm writing, even though I'm writing, like at this point with other people maybe twice a month. Cause it's so hard to find rights, people making your rights. And he's like, I would get songs recorded with a professional producer that are your sound, find your best ones. 5 (27m 42s): And I'll send them to publishing companies. So I used the rest of my college money. There's a lot and get it's expensive to get stuff recorded. Like it's so much easier when you have a company like, and being an independent artist is, that's why I was working at Jefferson's. Which I mean, those were dark times. Like I smelled like onion rings for like months For me. I made no money. Anyways. I should have worked at like a clothing store, but I, I was doing everything I could. And anyways, they recorded these six songs. 5 (28m 22s): I send them to my lawyer. I don't hear back for like five months. I mean, my parents are calling me every single day because they're helping me with my rent or helping me with groceries. Like, I'm there, like what is happening? I'm like, you're getting ready to move me home. And I'm going to work at my mom's store. And I'm like, oh my God, this has gone so poorly. Like this was the worst decision ever. Like I, all my friends are about to graduate like a year and a half from college. Like all this time has passed. I've totally screwed up. And no one replied like, I guess no publishing companies Revit turns out, I guess I don't, I don't know if he ever did send the stuff. I think there was like a miscommunication. I reach out again. 5 (29m 2s): He, he does send the email and that same day, Carla from big yellow dog was, I now want to meet with her right now. 3 (29m 10s): Wow. 5 (29m 12s): And I was like, before my parents are gonna move me back. Yeah. And I am in like an Amazon dress in converse and because my car is broken down and so I have to get like an Uber there and I get to this meeting. I walk in and she's like, I love Carla. She is funny. If you, if you ever meet her or know more about her personality, she, she found Megan and Marin Morris. So she is a publisher, but she's also like she finds 3 (29m 46s): Artists 5 (29m 48s): And I was really hesitant towards a publishing deal. Cause I was like, okay, like now I'm going to spend all my time writing for other people, you know, not to be like Peggy at this point. But anyways, I walk in and she's like, who are you again? You know, like, I don't remember your music cause that's kind of her personality. And I was like, I'm Eloise and she's kind of joking. Like she kind of sees how you react. 3 (30m 16s): Yeah, sure. That makes sense. Get vibe you out. You're like, 5 (30m 22s): And I'm as cool as a cucumber. Cause I'm just like at this point, this music, the music industry so far has just, this is not, you know then. And she, we play one of the songs that I had spent all that money on recording and she's like, I hate it. I hate the production. The production sucks. I'm like, oh, that's good. She's like, but I love the lyrics. I love your voice. Can you sit at the piano and play a song? And so I sat at the piano, played a song I'd written by myself. And those in that apartment, you know, she was like, let's do this thing. I want to sign you. And I was just like, I'm okay, I'm having a little bit of whiplash. 5 (31m 4s): And I walked out and she was like, I just like your thing. And I'm like trauma, you know, here's drama. And I called my mom and she was like, oh God, American movie hall. And I'm like, okay. And then depending on the kid, 3 (31m 25s): Oh man. So this happens right before the pandemic. 5 (31m 29s): So yeah. And so by the time the signing finally, okay. That my kit and 3 (31m 36s): Real quick, what song was that song on either EAP that you've released that you will, when you played for her? 5 (31m 42s): Yes. The other side. 3 (31m 44s): Oh cool. Yeah. 5 (31m 45s): Yeah. So then the pandemic hit and then my heart was broken. I, this is not a sob story. This is just, I'm just telling it in like, there's, 3 (31m 54s): This is amazing. I, I, this is so yeah. I love to hear this. 5 (31m 58s): There's great things that happened to me in between, but, and then I write an, like a huge group of songs over zoom. And then I put out like this literally P Pete game barred from Atlantic hears it. And we go into the studio with Dave Cobb, we record three songs and then he was like, yeah, I want to sign you. And I was like, oh my gosh. Like, but it was over zoom. And I literally was so shocked because when I was in high school, I used to wish every single day at 11, 11, right before lunch, I was like, I wish for a record you had, which we record to like every single day. Cause it was just all, I didn't even know what a record deal meant. 5 (32m 39s): I just knew that it was like, what? Like Hannah Montana. I think he had one like, 3 (32m 43s): Yeah. Any artists you probably knew at the time was all on a record company. 5 (32m 48s): So I was just like, here's how I want to tell. I want just like, get me out of the school, get me out of here, get me out of Michigan. And it was so wild because it was at my kitchen counter when I found out. And then I just like closed my laptop and I went to my workout class. It was like, so 3 (33m 4s): It was 11, 11 when it happened. 5 (33m 6s): <inaudible> maybe some clickbait legislated. 3 (33m 12s): Okay. Okay. That's but that's insane. Wow. So you get the deal over zoom and then do you move at this point? Did you, the other side was done, right? That's what they heard 5 (33m 23s): That 3 (33m 23s): Record. 5 (33m 24s): You heard what I thought it was. And he was like, I, you know, I had thought that people wanted to hear upbeat, fast, happy songs, and I'm just not that girl at all. And he heard what I thought it was and he loved it. And as I kept writing, I, you know, I would send the songs that I thought, you know, record and our people wanted to hear. And he was like, I want to hear the songs that you wrote on the floor of your closet, in your apartment. And I'm like, I have so many of those, you know? And I'm also like, this is a match made in heaven like that. He actually wants this. He is, he is the best. And I will always speak very highly of him. 5 (34m 7s): He listens, we listened to each other. I have such respect for him. And I feel like a lot of people don't get to say that about their ANR. I don't label, you know, but he just wants me to be me. And I also know that he knows everything that I don't about the industry. So it's a really great match. 3 (34m 26s): That's fantastic. Well, so was sad. Birder are the songs that you had from that time period with these songs that you wrote in your bedroom, on the floor at this now with this new record, you, is this all new stuff? 5 (34m 40s): All brand new. 3 (34m 41s): Okay. So tell me about putting together this new record and how different was that? Do you, are you in a studio with producers and in different people at this point in a, in a position that you weren't in working at the restaurant and trying to write from this, you know, apartment? 5 (34m 57s): Yeah. So it did. Yeah, it did escalate a little bit. Okay. A lot of it was still over soon, but I'm writing with people in each fans, huge fans of like their work and, you know, trying not to be too much of a fan girl over zoom because it's like super awkward already. I'm like, okay. So here's, here's what I'm going through. And I used to meet, But I, I wrote a four in the morning over zoom with someone in the UK that I'd never met a named Jonathan form. Me and I wrote separate, still sings over zoom while I was in Zion, because I was like, I need to get out of this apartment. 5 (35m 38s): If I'm about to write. At first it was to write a whole record. I was just, I was going to write as many songs as possible, but I, I was just, I was so happy to be able to just make a body of work and yeah, that was great. Cool. 3 (35m 57s): That is so cool. So most of it was written over zoom. And then what was your first, what was the first one that you ended up being able to write, like in person with somebody 5 (36m 5s): Seasons with Daniel Tasha and we had masks on, and then the third person, Jacob slate was overseeing drinking wine. He was in the UK as well. So it was like way later their morning for us, 3 (36m 23s): What a cool experience to, you know, see, to have all these things kind of happened for you after it was like, oh my gosh, like my parents are gonna move me home. And then, 5 (36m 32s): You know, those 3 (36m 33s): Two victories, 5 (36m 34s): What an ulcer, but sounds like it's just constant stress, like underlying stress. But I, at the end of the day, I love sitting at my piano. It's my favorite part. So I just, it's an, it all worked out. I mean, I love, I love doing it, so it's better than I guess, cubicle for me. Cause I would, I would just feed going the whole time 3 (36m 59s): Selling I'm in rings 5 (37m 1s): Literally. So I don't think I got tipped one time. 3 (37m 7s): Well that's wow. That's that's yeah. That's bad. Sorry, 5 (37m 11s): Every girl I must, I mean, no, one's going to believe that. 3 (37m 18s): Oh, well, are you still, I would imagine. Are you still writing now? Just on P do you have a pan at your house or you just go and write on 5 (37m 25s): Right around the corner? I'm I'm saving up for, it's like in a electric, acoustic, electric upright, but I'm saving up for a real outbreak. 3 (37m 33s): Amazing. Very, very cool. And have you had a chance to play your record out yet? Like, are you doing any live shows in LA? 5 (37m 41s): I played a show last night and the night before and Atlanta. Yeah, we're playing lots of shifts. 3 (37m 47s): How's that going? 5 (37m 49s): It's going great. Last night was very cool. I'm playing like the holy and everyone seems to really love the song. So that makes me happy. Cause that's a good sign. 3 (38m 1s): Yeah. It's a great record. I, I listened to it earlier today. 5 (38m 5s): Thank you. That means a lot because it's not a long time coming with these songs, but it's, and it's hard to plug when you write so many, you know, in such a long period of time, 2020 to now, it's like, how do you pick six, 3 (38m 22s): Six? And then yeah. Out of all of the, all of the songs that you had been working on for so many years, and then you wrote a bunch of new ones and then it's like, well, do I decide on 5 (38m 32s): Yeah, but having a label helps because they tell you which ones are best. 3 (38m 36s): That works well, Louise, thank you so much for doing this. You have such an incredible story. I appreciate your time. 5 (38m 43s): Thank you for listening to me. My I'm a chatty Cathy, so it's nice to have somewhere to have an outlet for that. 3 (38m 49s): I love it. I love it. Well, I have one more question. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists? 5 (38m 56s): Oh yeah. Go for it. I mean also like, like surround yourself with it and work your ass off because if I've learned anything like people who and I still have to work my ass off, like even getting a record deal, I was a kid. The work starts now because it's just more people to help you. But the work still comes from me because nothing works in less time working, you know? And I would just say work your little tail feather off, because if you really wanted it, it'll show and just be the best that you can be in your craft because everyone, unfortunately, everyone else wants it too, you know, but also don't try and be like anyone else because there's so many artists out there. 5 (39m 43s): And what sets you apart as being different?
Eloise Alterman creates music of exquisite sensitivity: finespun songs that capture the subtlest nuances of heartache and loss, each delivered in her crystalline voice. But despite the deep vulnerability that imbues all her output, the Detroit-bred singer/songwriter has built her burgeoning career on a fierce devotion to following her passion. A self-taught pianist/guitarist who began penning soul-baring songs in her early teens, Alterman deferred her acceptance to the University of Southern California’s prestigious Thornton Music Industry program and moved to Nashville alone at age 17, without knowing a soul in all of Music City. After spending years working on her own to sharpen her craft, she inked a deal with ATCO/Atlantic Records on the strength of her powerful songwriting—an element showcased on her new EP Sad Bird.
Made with multi-GRAMMY Award winning producer Dave Cobb, Sad Bird presents an up-close portrait of heartbreak, healing, and self-discovery. With an understated yet captivating sound informed by longtime influences like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, the EP takes its title from one of its most potent tracks, the deceptively anthemic “Sad Bird Still Sings.” “That song’s the backbone of the EP,” notes Alterman, who wrote “Sad Bird Still Sings” on her guitar in a hotel room near Zion National Park. “It’s about someone who hides what’s happening inside so they can come off strong on the outside—they’re putting on a show for everyone, so no one knows they’re watching a person’s heart break in real-time.”
All throughout Sad Bird, Alterman boldly pushes outside her comfort zone to uncover the kind of timelessly poignant pop songs that cut right to the heart. To that end, the hypnotic lead single “Her” emerged after a long period of adamant resistance to its subject matter. “I’d finished writing all the songs for the EP, but there was still one thing I hadn’t addressed—the other woman,” says Alterman. “I really didn’t think I would ever be able to write that song, but then I finally was able to be real with myself and admit what I’d been avoiding.” Etched with gorgeously evocative poetry (e.g., “Empty like a swimming pool, I took a dive”), the result is a raw but lushly textured track centered on Alterman’s moody vocal work, precisely channeling the singular pain of knowing the one you love is hung up on someone else.
Even in its most delicate moments, Sad Bird reveals the emotional intensity Alterman has brought to her music since she first started writing songs on the piano in her family’s basement. “Songwriting has always been a saving grace, especially as a very shy person who doesn’t always show what they’re feeling,” she says, naming such eclectic artists as Elton John, Led Zeppelin, and Lana Del Rey among her inspirations. “As soon as I realized how therapeutic it felt to get everything out in my songs, I knew it was something I needed in my life forever.” After abandoning her plans to attend USC, Alterman headed to Nashville and faced the harsh reality of trying to find a break in the music business. “For a while it was really lonely and really scary,” she says. “I was so young in a town where most people connect out at the bars, and almost everyone my age was in school. I had no idea what I was doing, so I’d go to restaurants and order mocktails and talk to people to try to set up co-writes and get my foot in the door.” Although she eventually landed her first co-write with an aspiring musician who waited on her at Pinewood Social, Alterman spent most of her time writing by herself—an unwavering effort that paid off when she scored a publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog Music (an independent music publishing and artist development company whose roster has included the likes of Meghan Trainor and Maren Morris). After signing with Big Yellow Dog in 2019, Alterman released an irresistibly moving single called “What I Thought It Was” and quickly caught the attention of Atlantic and ATCO Records (a recent reactivation of the iconic Atlantic Records imprint first founded in 1955, including previously signed acts like AC/DC, Genesis, the Bee Gees, Cher, Donny Hathaway, and many more).
Newly based in L.A. after six years in Nashville, Alterman achieved Sad Bird’s incredible depth of feeling by sticking to a highly intentional songwriting process. “The day before a session, I’ll sit down with a notebook and light a candle and put some calming music on, and then just write freely for a while to sort of check in with myself,” she says. On “I Still Love You,” Alterman infuses that emotional clarity into a devastating piano ballad, lacing her lilting melodies and choir-like harmonies through a detailed meditation on post-breakup grief. “There’s so many little things that make you really feel someone’s absence, like their coffee cup left in the kitchen sink,” she says. “I wanted to write about that hopeless sadness you feel when someone’s gone and you just don’t understand why.” At the opposite end of the spectrum, “Seasons” arrives as the EP’s most radiantly upbeat moment. “There’s a lot of hurt and anger on these songs, but ‘Seasons’ is about feeling that glimmer of hope that you’re going to be okay,” says Alterman, who co-wrote the track with GRAMMY Award winner Daniel Tashian (Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges). And on the darkly charged “Four in the Morning,” Sad Bird brings her confessional storytelling to an intimate glimpse at a particularly brutal form of insomnia. “It’s about how during the day I can distract myself from thinking about him, but in the middle of the night there’s no distraction anymore,” says Alterman. “When it’s four a.m. and you can’t sleep, all you can do is feel everything you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.”
With her next EP set to continue the story of Sad Bird, Alterman has already noticed a shift in her self-perception after so thoroughly exploring the many stages of heartbreak. “Before I made this EP, I saw my sensitivity as a negative thing—I felt like it meant I was weak, but now I feel so strong,” she says. “I still struggle with some of the things I wrote about, but it makes me feel good to know that people might take my songs and apply them to their own lives. I hope it makes them feel better and more understood, and lets them know that they’re not alone in their feelings.”