Exclusive Interview: Actor, Singer, and Songwriter, Elise
Elise is a LA based actor, singer/songwriter, and NBA spirit squad member for the American basketball franchise Los Angeles Clippers. At the age of nine in her home of Dalla, Texas, she began her acting career, before making the move to Los Angeles at age twelve to really pursue her passion. Elise has worked on several independent films, enjoyed a stint on the Disney Channel, and booked various national and international commercial and print ad campaigns.
At the age of 18 Elise enrolled at Texas Christian University, where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, with an emphasis in Commercial Real Estate. During this period she discovered her true love of songwriting and began writing for herself and other artists. Throughout the years she continued to study acting, took various music and voice courses at TCU, and performed the National Anthem live on the Fox Sports Network on multiple occasions. Elise also played several shows at House of Blues Dallas for their Foundation Room “Chick Singer Night.” During this time she simultaneously worked with the Texas Rangers, and this MLB experience helped her land her current position with the NBA as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers Hoop Troop.
Now this rising artist has put her heart and soul into her debut single “Few Words”. I was so captivated by this sultry vocal prowess I had to find out more. Check out my interview with Elise below;
Hi Elise and welcome to OLC! How are you and what have you been up to?
Hi! Doing very well- happy to be doing this interview with you. Broadly speaking I’ve been working and writing; just taking it a day at a time!
You made a massive step at age 12 to move from Texas to LA to pursue your dreams, how scary was that for you being as young as you were?
At the time I don’t remember it being all that scary. I think the naive nature of being young helped in part with that, because I was only focused on the possibilities of my goals and not so much focused on the potential hurdles or related opportunity costs. My family was (and is) extremely supportive throughout the process, too, which I’m extremely thankful for.
Was being a part of the entertainment industry something you knew you wanted to do or something you were born and raised into?
I’ve known I wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents are musicians (among other things), and my dad has freelanced in film and television for over 30 years now, so I grew up on and around set; surrounded by music, lighting and miscellaneous film gear! My parents have always been very supportive of my career goals, but at the same time have always expected me to put my own honest work into achieving those goals, which I really respect.
What shows were you a part of on the Disney Channel, and what was that experience like?
I was briefly involved with the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, which was a truly wonderful experience. I learned a lot and grew in my on-set experience, and gained a few friends along the way!
How did your friends back home handle your new found fame when you came to LA?
Well I don’t know if “fame” is the right word haha; “really cool experience” maybe? This was also pre-“social media boom” so it was a pretty different landscape in terms of recognizability and personal promotion. But most of my friends were very excited and supportive. There are always people who don’t relate or understand fully, but that’s just part of life and we all have our different ambitions/paths and talents to offer; it’s all valuable!
How challenging was it for you to live a normal life as a teenager and be a part of the entertainment industry?
It definitely added some interesting texture to my personal experience and outlook on life and relationships. I think it was a great thing overall because half of the year I would attend public school in Dallas, and the other half of the year I would home school in Los Angeles, auditioning and acting full-time; two very contrasting experiences! I honestly felt like I got the best of both worlds. Being immersed in differing environments like that helped broaden my understanding of a wider range of cultural experiences and backgrounds, and love for people from varying walks of life.
What changed for you, that you wanted to solely focus on your music career?
I absolutely love being in the creative “driver’s seat,” if that makes sense. It’s really fulfilling to put words to subconscious thoughts through my writing, and to be able to have agency over the development of the piece as a whole. There’s a different sense of fulfillment for me when I’m able to create something from beginning to end and share it with others, as opposed to contributing one piece to a much larger picture (sort of like show running versus acting). I will always, always continue to act, however. Just like I love bringing lyrics to life through music, I love bringing other writers’ characters to life through acting!
Being a fan of the NBA myself, I have to ask what was it like working for the Los Angeles Clippers organization?
It’s one of my favorite things ever! Honestly- I’m a big fan, and so getting the chance to contribute to the franchise and call Staples Center an “office” is pretty sweet. I’m really thankful for every game experience I have there and for the friends I’ve made in the process. I hope to stay involved for a long time!
Let’s talk about your debut single “Few Words”, what can you tell us about it, and what inspired you to write it?
“Few Words” is influenced by elements of Contemporary R&B, Soul, and Pop. The lyrics are written from someone who is weighing the sustainability of a long- distance relationship; questioning whether loving someone in the best way means holding onto them, or letting go to allow space for individual growth. The lyrics reflect the thoughts in my own head before solidifying a decision with my SO before a move, and the song ends with this back-and-forth process; searching for the consistency of this person and connection, while at the end of the day knowing you will stay on their team no matter how the landscape changes along the way. I try to be the best person I can be, and I truly believe that good people attract good people, which can make it difficult when everything else is on-point but circumstance and timing are out of your control. So what’s the right decision- do you let go, or hold on tighter? That’s the crux of the song. I’ve learned there’s no real “right” or “wrong” way to go about it, as long as there is respect, understanding and selfless love.
Who did you work with on the song?
I worked with one of my favorite producers, Craig, at Auraltech Sound Lab. We became friends as teenagers, and knowing each other for such a length of time has really created a free-flowing and fun environment to work in! I’m passionate about writing my own lyrics, and I could not ask for a more talented person to collaborate with on the composition side of things. He also picks up where I lack in technical knowledge (and then some!), which is an asset I’m very thankful for.
Can we expect a video to accompany the song?
There won’t be a video with “Few Words,” but I’m very excited to say there will be visuals/videos to accompany future songs (pre-prod is underway)!
What can you tell me about your debut record and when can we expect it?
My goal is to release another single later this spring, and my EP this fall. I’m very excited to put in consistent footwork in the studio through this summer. It’ll be so fun to release more sounds later this year- I’m addicted!
What’s the ultimate goal you want to achieve in your career?
I want to create lyrics that put articulate words to subconscious thoughts, and write music that pulls influence from artists that I admire while also bringing new sounds/ideas/feeling to the table. If I can continue to do that throughout my life (while solo and in collaboration with others) and love the people in my day-to-day life the best that I can, I’ll be one happy person.
Do you have any plans to return to acting?
Absolutely! Many of my close friends are writers and producers, or work in other areas of production in the film/television spheres, so I love jumping on projects with them. I have always stayed in acting class to keep exercising and growing those skills, and I’ve been on set consistently in smaller projects over recent years. It’s something that I’m still pursuing and probably always will. It’s a passion of mine and I’m not quite my full self without it!
What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music and acting?
I spend as much time as I can with close friends and family- those circles are top priority to me in the big picture. Working with the Clippers is also a big part of my life, and I work in commercial real estate on a commission basis as well. Other than that, I love any excuse to be outside- running, hiking; beach, mountains- you name it, I’m there!
What’s next on your agenda?
I’m continuing to work and write with other artists, and I’m excited to put in more work toward my music release goals for this year! People can follow along with the process on Instagram (@elise_kristiane) anytime. Thanks again; it’s been great talking with you!