New York City has always been a Mecca for young artists to find artistic inspiration. For Elizabeth and the Catapult, she grew up in the heart of New York City’s creative capital, and it’s been a huge source inspiration, along with touring with some of the mightiest musicians touring today. Her latest album, Keepsake (release date October 20th via Compass Records), is Elizabeth and the Catapult’s most personal album, and an album we personally recommend you go out and get.
Keepsake is your fourth album and as you described, your most personal album. Why is it your most personal?
Many of the songs on the album were written from bits and pieces of “lost songs,” poems, or diary entries that I found from earlier years, so I felt like I was able to take these small glimpses of my past life and make them current again, like filling in my life backwards. I found that the lyrics kept revisiting the same themes – negotiating loss, reflecting on the past, and forgiving myself and others.
Were your previous three albums also personal? How would you briefly describe each one?
It depends on what you mean by personal – being alive is hard work. I like writing about people’s struggles or journeys. I’m interested in how people overcome mental challenges. So, a lot of my songs deal with compassion, but some of my music is more humorous and sarcastic. Over the years I’ve gotten better at laughing at myself, even if it’s at my own brooding lyrics.
Living in New York City as a singer/songwriter, does it inspire many of the songs you write?
I grew up on Minetta Lane, down the block from Bleecker Street and the famed Cafe Wha, so I spent a chunk of my childhood listening to Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Donny Hathaway and Woody Allen, specifically because I knew they had performed on my block. I had lots of neighborhood pride and that has surely influenced my work.
You’ve toured with many accomplished singer/songwriters? Do you take a bit of inspiration from each of them as well?
Most definitely. I started looping a lot when I was opening solo for Kishi Bashi (I also didn’t have a band so what better time to start!) I was super inspired by Sara Bareilles’s general bad-assery on stage; she sings and performs like a queen and just has the most incredible control over her voice. I was consistently inspired while touring with Gabriel Kahane and Rob Moose some years ago, as they are hands down some of my favorite composers and musicians in the New York music scene. It really is a great feeling to tour with people you truly respect. It makes you try harder to put on really meaningful shows every night.
What would you like your fans to get out of hearing Keepsake?
Stylistically this record is very diverse. The first half has a bright, nostalgic quality, whereas the second half is darker and more contemplative, with more slow jams. So, I’m really hoping there’s something for everyone.