Elizabeth Seward
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Elizabeth Seward

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Folk Acoustic

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Jan
26
Elizabeth Seward @ The Delancey

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Oct
23
Elizabeth Seward @ The Delancey-CMJ

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Oct
01
Elizabeth Seward @ Knitting Factory

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
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Music

Press


Emily Zemler put together a really insightful piece for Alternative Press regarding the future of releasing music and the turns the industry is taking. The piece uses me and my Monday releases as an example of how things are changing. I took a hint from my friend, Dave Smallen, who was also included in the piece, and decided to post the full interview I did with Emily here on the blog…you know, in case you want to know more about why I’m doing there, here on this site, what good I think it might bring, my fears, etc.

(SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER?!?!)

What was your motivation for releasing a song every Monday for 2010?

The decision was kind of impulsive—a response to a suggestion a close friend gave me. He said something like, “You’re the kind of songwriter who could release a new song every day. You should.” and I said something like, “Well, alright, I bet I could do one every Monday of 2010.” Next thing I knew, I set up www.elizabethseward.tumblr.com and announced I’d be releasing a song every Monday of 2010 on the site. And now I’m just trying to keep my word.


Have you ever done anything like this before?

Nope! I’ve probably written an average of a song a week for years now, but as far as releases are concerned, I have only ever released EPs or full length albums both as a solo artist and with my old band, Devola.

Did you model it after anything a band or label has done in the past?

I didn’t directly model this method after anyone in particular, but other prolific artists have certainly inspired me. Ani Difranco has released well over twenty albums, I think. I’m still fully independent and don’t have the funds to release that many physical albums right now, so the decision to just start releasing songs regularly online really happened organically.

What are the pros and cons of releasing music over a span of time rather than at once in an album? Well, an album and a song are entirely different pieces of art. The collective feel of an album is what makes or breaks it—the chemistry all of the songs on that album have when played back to back is what determines how good an album is and there will always be something intimately special about a well-done album.

But the album developed mostly because it was logical before mp3s were widely accessible. It made the most practical sense to press records or cds with multiple songs rather than just one song because at the core of it all, that has always been the least expensive way to get the most music out to listeners. The internet is really reshaping that core. It’s amazing because we can release however much music we want, whenever we want, give our listeners worldwide access to our music, and keep them coming back to our website through practices like ‘one song a week’. If you can keep your fans checking in on your website regularly, then you’ve accomplished something harder to do now than ever before: keep a listener’s attention. The con of this is that you might really disappoint a listener with the first song they hear and never get a second chance. You also may dabble in different genres and overall feels a lot more with one song at a time than you would with an album and this can distract your listeners and make it difficult for them to connect with your music. The trick is to play your cards right and keep your fans engaged and always wanting to hear what’s next.

Are you only releasing these songs digitally, and are you charging for them?

Right now I am only releasing the songs digitally and I am not charging for them. I’m planning on compiling 2 or 3 cds this year using the best of the tracks and those will then be available at least on Itunes for fans to purchase, keep on their iPods, etc.


Do you see this sort of release model as the future of music? For younger or unsigned bands only or even big established bands?

I do. I don’t believe the physical album is obsolete (yet)..and maybe it never will be. But most musicians have a goal of getting their music to their listeners in the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way possible. With the expanse of the internet at our hands, I definitelythink this kind of release model will become more and more common—especially for younger and unsigned bands.

Does it detract from the cohesiveness of an album or from the power of album art/packaging to release this way?

Yes, I think so. I think this is a big risk that I’m taking. The website is plain, doesn’t offer any art or imagery for visitors to associate with me or my music, there is no set ‘album’ and therefore any cohesiveness between tracks is more accidental than anything. But this is an experiment for me. Do my short stories need to all be a part of a novel? We’ll find out. - Alternative Press


NYC indie rocker Elizabeth Seward continues the evolution of her musical career by claiming an award at the prestigious Sacramento Film and Music Festival. I have previously featured her winning video "Gray" here (and above) as well as another video/song she did titled "A New Town" (link: http://current.com/items/89964753_elizabeth-seward-a-new-town.htm ). The award she won was Best Independent Video (runner up) and that is kinda huge.

I think Elizabeth has a great deal of talent and since her former band broke up she is really finding her own musical voice/style with the material she is writing.

I asked Elizabeth about her career at the moment and she said that she has been talking to several record labels (including one very well known one) but isn't in a real hurry in that area. She is focusing on her music for now and will be doing some live shows in the near future. If you are in NYC next Thursday (August 27) you can catch her at The Delancey. Other dates are listed on her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/elizabethsound where you can hear some more songs as well. - Current TV


Elizabeth Seward was raised in Marietta and started playing shows in her early teens. She continued to play in the area regularly until she left for New York City at age 18.

Frequenting venues all over Manhattan, Seward eventually formed a band with a hometown-inspired name.

"Devola" was together for four years, toured the country multiple times over, released two albums, and raked in fans worldwide thanks to a grueling touring schedule and six songs they had featured in the Crook Brothers' locally filmed movie "Salvage."

Now back to focusing on her solo career, Seward is returning to Marietta to perform at the Brewery this Friday at 10 p.m.

Question: How did you get your start as a musician? Who or what are your influences?

Answer: Being a musician was a pretty organic direction for me to take. I was singing when I could barely make sentences, I was playing guitar by 11, and writing my own songs around the same time. It always has been my natural path.

Anyone who sings with conviction and sincerity has influenced me. From Nine Inch Nails to Ani DiFranco, authenticity has always been what I seek out in music and I hope it's what I provide, as well.

Q: What was it like transitioning to life in a big city after coming from a small community?

A: Well, it took a bit of time to adjust to the big city but, more or less, I dived right into it - like a born-and-raised New Yorker. I was all too eager then to dismiss everything small town about myself and explore the depths of New York and everything it has to offer.

Q: You formerly fronted the band Devola. What's going on with the band now? Any plans to reunite?

A: I've always been serious about my music career. I got to a point with Devola where I realized that I was on a different page than the people I was playing music with and getting back to my roots as a solo artist just made sense. The only thing I can say for sure about the future of Devola is that nothing is absolute. With that said, I'm certain that my solo music is what I should be pursuing right now.

Q: How would you describe your style? How do you find things to write about?

A: As a solo artist and with Devola, I've always been involved in different genres. That's made defining a style difficult. I'd like to think that some brand of spooky blues, folk and pop melodies play a role in most of my songs, though.

How I find things to write about is easy.... I get to know people, travel and try not to cut myself off from any experiences.

Q: What other things are in the works for you?

A: My head is spinning, happily, with all of the things in the works for me. I'm playing shows all over the world at the moment, talking to some record labels, recording new singles, developing my creative writing further, and will be heading out to California in October for a show filming, but that's all I'm going to say about that for now.

Q: Do you get back to Marietta often? How do you feel about performing at the Brewery?

A: No! Not nearly enough. I am officially making strong efforts to be back home more often. I'm absolutely ecstatic about the show at the Brewery. I first played at the Brewery when I was 15 or 16 and nostalgia makes that place really special for me. - The Marietta Times


Elizabeth Seward - “Nothin’ Gonna Change”

New York singer/songwriter/musician Elizabeth Seward made an ambitious resolution for the new year: to release a new song every single week. So far, she’s made good on that promise — and she shares these new tracks every Monday on her tumblelog. This is her first track, “Nothin’ Gonna Change,” but be sure to check them all out and follow her progress. - Tuneage


Elizabeth Seward is a singer-songwriter based in New York. In this interview she talks to contributor Cole Stryker about her background in Appalachia and the way the Internet has changed her songwriting.

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CS: Tell us a bit about where you’re from and how you got to where you are today.

ES: Well, I grew up in a small town in Ohio called Marietta. I started writing my own music around the age of 12 and by the time I was 16, I was constantly playing every show or open mic I could land within an hour or so drive from Marietta. I moved to NYC when I was 18 to pursue music, played some solo shows when I got here, but it didn’t take me long to form a band. I started a band that sounded nothing at all like my solo music when I was 20 called Devola. We toured a lot and worked really hard, but members quit and changed and it all started to fall apart just as I was starting to write songs again on my own. I’ve been getting back to my songwriter roots for the last two years. Most of my songs have been unpolished low-fi recordings birthed in Garageband and right now I’m just writing and recording obsessively, trying to be as good as I can be.

CS: You live in New York now, but you’re from Appalachia. Does your rural background influence your songwriting?

ES: Oh, I think so, yeah. It’s difficult to expect your home culture to not affect your art. Sometimes I feel a little too ‘in it’ to really see the influence Appalachia has had on me, but other people tell me they hear it all the time. The blues, the hint of country twang, the burden-ridden lyrics that you’ll find most frequently with country music, the finger-picking you’ll find most frequently with bluegrass and folk music. Come to think of it, I use a lot of country imagery in my lyrics–I mention nature, particularly hills and forests, more often than I even realized…until just now.

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CS: Tell us about your ‘Song a Week’ project.

ES: The ‘Song a Week’ project was an idea of my close friend and fellow musician, Ben Britz. He has always complimented me on how quickly I piece together songs and at the end of 2009, he challenged me to start an online project that would hold me accountable to my fans online. He said something like ‘do a song a day’ and I said something like ‘ummm, no, how about a song a week.’ And then I just started the Tumblr page for it. Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I’m still going strong with it, but it’s been a remarkable process. Putting yourself in a box can sometimes be the best way to come up with something you’re happy with.

CS: Are there any changes in your songwriting process when you’re forced to create new songs so often?

ES: Definitely. I’ve been fiddling with my melodies more, working myself harder with my guitar parts, playing around with the idea of using loops, playing piano here and there, etc. When you’re forced to create a new song every week, you strive to make each its own piece; to breathe life and individuality into each of them. So I can see how my songwriting has been changing over the course of this year and really, it’s a nice thing to sit back and watch. I’m not sure anything else could have cornered me into expanding on my style.

CS: You’ve written on your blog about your enthusiasm for D.I.Y. culture. How do you feel the Internet has changed the relationship between you and your fans?

ES: I’m such a big fan of the Internet. It has changed everything! When I started playing music and taking my career seriously, it seemed like there was one way and one way only to make fans: a record label. Everything you want to do you can do yourself. With the expansion of the Internet, I’m constantly thinking and making lists of what I can do next. The huge change the Internet has made is that I’m now in control and my fans can reach me. They can literally just send me an email and expect to hear back from me, leave me a comment and wait for my comment back, vote on t-shirt designs, etc. I’m excited to be a musician during this time.

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CS: What’s next for you as an artist? Working on any cool projects?

ES: This project has taken a lot of time just to get started and keep afloat, but now that I’m in the swing of it, there’s a long list of collaborators I’m planning on working with for the second half of 2010. A group project I’m not really allowed to talk about yet is underway, as well as a new band I’ll be going public with sometime this summer. Other than that, I’m just trying to organize my songs, get better recordings, release them as I see fit, and continue down the long road of songwriting improvement.

Listen to Elizabeth’s tunes at http://www.myspace.com/elizabethsound - Converse.com


For nearly two years, we've posted discussions from our SPIN.com Book Club between lit-loving musicians -- including members of Tegan and Sara, the Matches, Circa Survive, Anberlin, the Hush Sound -- about their favorite works. The series even spawned a one-of-a-kind charity event last month that saw Tegan Quin performing side-by-side with Running with Scissors author Augusten Burroughs.

Under the guidance of Book Club curator Emily Zemler, we will continue to feature rockers talking about their favorite books. Each artist will describe the impact of each book on his/her life, and talk about the most essential themes in each work.

For this newest installment, Spelling and Grammar's Elizabeth Seward selected Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing, a collection of the singer-songwriter's lyrics, drawings, and insights. Watch her videos here -- including an election-themed Sarah Palin impression -- to find out more about her selection.

Why Elizabeth Picked It: "I guess some of us are just drawn to certain motifs in our readings. We cling to certain concepts that we can reach, and we sail away with them. Leonard Cohen has always presented to me those concepts that I could sail away with. Existentialism. Sexuality. Spirituality. Loneliness. Artistry.

"All of Leonard's work has inspired me. Book of Longing, however, has struck so many familiar chords with me that resonate somewhere between my music world and my literature world that I knew this would be the book I had to share. No, it is not a novel. But there are strong themes that connect, and I hope that they mean as much to you as they continue to mean to me each time I read this book. Leonard has no hang ups about his own vulnerability. He lets you sink with him into a miasma of isolation and cold introspection without blinking an eye. I admire him for that."

Stay tuned to the Book Club page for even more rockers talking literature!

- Spin Magazine


Singer-songwriter-Brooklynite, Elizabeth Seward contacted me this morning with this intriguing message:

I’m reaching out to you because you help promote musicians who have something to say.

I have something to say. I am releasing a new song every Monday of 2010 and releasing older songs here and there on Fridays. I’m doing this all on: www.elizabethseward.tumblr.com

Can I make it the whole year? I think so. I’m pretty determined to. Is it hard thinking of material each week? Not as hard as it should be.

If you’re anything like me, this concept of releasing a new song every week for a whole year really caught your attention. Now you’re just hoping Elizabeth Seward is any good. Fortunately, I can say that, without a doubt, she is. Very good, in fact. I suggest you keep track of Elizabeth’s Monday Music progress (linking to blog posts tagged with “Elizabeth Seward music”).

Oh and Elizabeth? Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you. I’d really appreciate if you tagged your blog posts with “Monday Song” or something. It’s not that I don’t care about the other stuff you blog about, but it would be really cool if I can add that tag to my Google Reader. - Prettymuchamazing.com


Singer-songwriter-Brooklynite, Elizabeth Seward contacted me this morning with this intriguing message:

I’m reaching out to you because you help promote musicians who have something to say.

I have something to say. I am releasing a new song every Monday of 2010 and releasing older songs here and there on Fridays. I’m doing this all on: www.elizabethseward.tumblr.com

Can I make it the whole year? I think so. I’m pretty determined to. Is it hard thinking of material each week? Not as hard as it should be.

If you’re anything like me, this concept of releasing a new song every week for a whole year really caught your attention. Now you’re just hoping Elizabeth Seward is any good. Fortunately, I can say that, without a doubt, she is. Very good, in fact. I suggest you keep track of Elizabeth’s Monday Music progress (linking to blog posts tagged with “Elizabeth Seward music”).

Oh and Elizabeth? Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you. I’d really appreciate if you tagged your blog posts with “Monday Song” or something. It’s not that I don’t care about the other stuff you blog about, but it would be really cool if I can add that tag to my Google Reader. - Prettymuchamazing.com


"Holy Shit. Just when I thought that girl singers were becoming generic across the board, I am forced to shove my foot in my mouth. I caught the Spelling and Grammar show last night at Arlene's (Spelling and Grammar is Elizabeth from Devola's new band just-in-case-you-didn't-know) and was blown away. This chick is powerful. The music and band totally rock, every chorus is catchy, every song lyric is stinging, and her on-stage charisma is impossible to describe in words. I've downloaded the single, watched the video, and can't wait for the cd to be released in the fall. Yeah. I think I'm a groupie." - Devon-College Candy




"When I was handed the headphones at the crowded bar that Friday night, I didn't know what to expect. Elizabeth Seward's latest project could have been anything, as she is one of the most creative, artistic and passionate souls I've met thus far here in New York. However, the music of Elizabeth's newest musical enterprise "Spelling and Grammar" truly blew me away. With angelic yet edgy vocals and lyrics like "you are Adam and I am the snake..." I couldn't help but feel propelled into a subliminal, almost transcendental sexy blues/rock experience. Her sex appeal is undeniable, as she throws herself into each verse of her songs and brings the listener with her on each of her intimate and personal affairs. The live performance was also insanely good and the place was packed-- which was surprising, as it was their first show. The fans of Elizabeth Seward are many. Packed with the perfect balance of emotion and intellect, Spelling and Grammar is far superior to any of her previous records and for once, we get to hear the true talent that is Elizabeth Seward."
S - Eileen Esposito/MTV


I then threw on my running shoes and ran upstairs to the smaller stage at The Delancey to catch Spelling and Grammar playing an acoustic show (sans drums). Their act consisted of two acoustic guitarists and a guest violinist playing her wind-y violin parts over plucky guitar and bellowing female vocals. The plunking, blues-y guitar was layered with feeling as the two guitarists strummed intently at their instruments. The violin was an amazing addition to their sound; it created a frantic nature to their already blanketed and intricate songs. The vocals of Elizabeth Seward were thick and bellowing while the instrumentals pulsated evenly, creating a very intimate feeling, as if they were sharing their secrets. While there was that angst-y, singer/songwriter nature to their sound, the mixing of the instruments really did give way to a beautiful mix of folk and experimental acoustic rock. - thedelimagazine.com


Discography

"Gray", May 2010
Songs:

Gray
A New Town
I'd Rather Lie
Gray (piano/voice)

Other songs: myspace.com/elizabethsound

Photos

Bio

Having spent 4 years out on the road with a progressive/experimental band once deemed 'NYC's underground heroes' by The New York Times (DEVOLA), previous front-woman for the band, Elizabeth Seward, is, nonetheless, a songwriter at heart with a gift for melody and raw sincerity. Her passion for music has set her on stages across the USA and her new songs are her most intimate music--complete with a soulful, blues-infused backing band on some tracks and simple guitar accompaniment on others.

After two back to back summers on tour with the Vans Warped Tour, Elizabeth's solo project was birthed in early 2008 and after an EP release in 2010, Elizabeth moved from Brooklyn to Austin in hopes of a supportive music scene, tasty Mexican food, and better climate. She's preparing another EP for release before the end of 2010 and a full length release in 2011.