Photos By Describe The Fauna
Imagine picking up a guitar at the age of 9 and from that point forward knowing that music was your calling. From that first strum, Elena Coats realized that her love for music was something much more than just singing along to the radio. “I just knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she explains, “and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
Six years later, the ambitious singer-songwriter and her mother packed their bags and moved from Twin Falls, Idaho, to the big city of Los Angeles to focus on Coats’s career as a blossoming songstress. “Something I do wonder about is if people are comparing me to others my age or singers in general,” the 16-year-old admits. “I’d rather be compared to everyone else and not have my age weigh in as a factor.”
No matter the truth in that statement, Coats grabbed the attention of We the Kings frontman Travis Clark. Instantly drawn to her sultry, powerful voice, the musician/producer set out to collaborate and record with the young songbird, resulting in a duet featured on WTK’s latest album, special live performances and Coats’s upcoming debut EP. “In some ways, [my age has] been an advantage,” she says. “I have had more time to pursue my [music].” And with time and talent on her side, there’s no telling how high Coats can soar.
How did you initially connect with We the Kings?
We the Kings have always been one of my favorite bands, so when I met Travis through a mutual friend I was beyond excited. It was such an honor to know that he wanted to meet with me and was actually interested in my music. None of it even felt real. As soon as I met him, I could tell that he was such an honest and sincere person. That just made me want to work with him even more! To this day, I still can’t believe that I have performed and become friends with one of my favorite artists.
Since you’re used to writing and performing solo, what was the collaborative process like?
I think it’s great for any writer or performer to collaborate and work with other artists. For me, it was such an awesome learning experience. Before writing with Travis, I’d only written with one other person before, so it was definitely good for me to continue breaking out of this shell I’ve been in for so long. Since I’m so used to just doing my own thing, it was really intimidating at first to open up and share my feelings and ideas. Being put in that vulnerable position really helped me grow as an artist.
Travis asked you to perform with him as a special guest on a couple of dates on the Summer Fest tour last year. How did that go?
You have no idea how excited I was! It was something I never thought I would get the chance to do, so to be able to experience that was pretty amazing. When We the Kings perform, they give off awesome energy to the crowd, but actually being on stage with them and being a part of that energy is that amazing feeling times 10!
You spent the summer recording with Travis in Santa Monica. In what ways would you say he has influenced your songwriting, if at all.
Writing with Travis has really broadened my horizons. When we’re writing, he’ll come up with things that I would never even think of, and it just makes the song that much better. Now, when I’m writing by myself, I think a lot more about the lyrics and how I can make them better and more relatable.
What was your most memorable moment in the studio?
I’m not gonna lie, there was one time when we were in the studio and it was really hot in the recording booth, and Travis started fanning me with a pillow. It was my first time being in the studio with him, and I thought it was pretty funny!
What can you tell us about your debut EP?
I’m currently working on putting my EP together. I have written several songs already, and we’re now in the process of producing the ones that I think will really show the world who I am as an artist. The songs I write are all based off of personal experiences or feelings that I have, so every song really has a special meaning to me. My main goal is just to share my love of music with the world through my songs. I really want to reach out to every person that I can in hopes that they’ll be able to relate and get that same feeling that I had when I wrote the songs. R.
posted by Staff