Elizabeth Hunter Talks Motown Influence, Really Loves Breakfast

Meredith Schneider

via Facebook

New York’s Elizabeth Hunter is a breath of fresh air. Her gorgeous, sea foam colored eyes tell an optimistic story that adds to the positivity she breeds in her music. She is a singer and bassist that introduces cross-genre elements in her work, including – but certainly not limited to – funk, soul, and pop. Her work is absolutely infectious and if you don’t believe us, her latest video for “Coming for You” – a song about going after the man of your dreams – is right here for you to check out.

We were lucky enough to ask the up-and-coming star some questions to learn more about her background, her style, and why she loves breakfast.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m a recording artist based in NYC. I love Motown. And play the bass.

What’s something you think everyone should know about you?

Well, one thing that’s a bit unique is that I write all my songs on bass. Most singer-songwriters tend to go the guitar or piano route, but I always loved finding the groove first.

How would you describe your music?

Pretty retro-pop. I actually had the honor of being compared to Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson in a recent article in Popmatters. People have drawn the connection before, but it was pretty humbling to see it in print. I think my music is a tad more upbeat, but we have a lot of similar influences: love of Motown, affinity for horns, and roots in jazz.

Tell me about your upcoming single.

The next single, “Let it All In,” is usually the closer in my live set.  It’s a little different from the rest. The track has a slow build, instruments creeping in one by one, until by the end you can hear timpani, strings, and full choir.  The song is kinda about finding your feet when you’re world is changing around you.

What’s your favorite part of making music?

I do love performing. I didn’t always. My stage presence was certainly earned. Friends who came to early shows and sat through awkward silences and bad jokes can attest! But now I have a good crew behind me and I really feel at home up there. 

Writing and producing is hard work. I love it, but it can be frustrating and challenging always in new ways. Though there isn’t anything like that moment when something clicks and you’re frantically scribbling down a song you’d been unsuccessfully toiling at for weeks, or an arrangement floods in fully formed. Suddenly you’re Amadeus in that feverish scene where Salieri is scribbling down “Confutatis Maledictis,” and you’re a rock star. But most of the time it’s chipping away type work.

Who are your musical idols? Explain why.

God. How long do I have? I’m a huge fan of all things Motown. I remember hearing a Motown cover band in college, and my mind being blown.  I’d never heard anything that made me feel so alive. The songwriting in Motown is impeccable, and, of course, I’m a big fan of those fat bass lines that keeps the band moving.  There were plenty of other influences. I always loved a great song. I listened to the Beatles, Carole King, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, and Adele.

When I sat down to arrange and produce I took a lot of inspiration from Mark Ronson and the Dap Kings (the producer and horn section behind Amy Winehouse). They created such a cool, almost “wall of sound”-esque tone, which I adopted and tried to add to. 

If you could share the stage with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Probably Frank Sinatra – he was really the first voice I fell in love with.  I’d used to watch old YouTube videos of his performances as a kid, and all my arm hairs would stand up. He’s so effortlessly electric on stage, can’t imagine what it would be to share one with him. I also think I might have the most fun of my life doing “The Mess Around” with Ray Charles. (To this day, as a determined feminist, I still find myself singing along to “she knows a woman’s place is right down there in her home.” Too good.) 

Today, think I’d make a cool duo with Ed Sheeran, and would love to try to keep up with Bruno Mars’ stage presence.

If you were a meal, would you be breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Why?

I’d be breakfast. I’m a bit big on that meal. I can’t understand people who just drink a coffee.  I make smoothies and have a wide selection of cereal. On weekends I like to do it up with fried eggs and Belgian waffles.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

I’m releasing a series of 6 singles and music videos. A couple are out on spotify, iTunes, YouTube right now.  And I just finished a music video that should be out in early September for my song “Let it All In.”  I’m always adding shows. Keep up with me here.

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