Eliza Doolittle has had a vibrant career well-matched to her style and nature, with her first and eponymous album, released in 2010, debuting at number three on the UK Albums Chart and launching two UK top forty hits: “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up”, both of which were released straight into the top five on the UK Singles Chart. Since then, she has toured and recorded with Disclosure, and worked on a World Cup song with Gary Barlow. Last year she released her second album In Your Hands, featuring tracks ‘Big When I Was Little’, ‘Walking on Water’ and ‘Let It Rain.’ We met her just as she was getting back to work on her next record!
What is the writing process like for you?
It changes all the time! Usually I write little one-liners or titles and think about the project as a whole. On my first album I was just writing whatever I felt that day but this time I want to have more overall themes. Sometimes I’ll be working with someone who has a beat and so we’ll build it from there but I think it’s important to switch it up otherwise you get stuck.
What are themes for the next album?
You have to wait and see! I’ve only just started the writing process so I’m holding off because you always start with one thing, and it ends up being completely different!
How do you feel you’ve developed as a writer since you released your debut?
Personally, I think the structure of the song has come on a lot. As a teenager, my writing was a lot more away with the fairies, and sometimes I need to just focus and bring it back to the chorus! I’ve worked with some incredible producers and writers and have learnt so much by just taking in other people’s process. Collaboration always keeps your mind open.
Are there any dream collaborators on your mind at the moment?
I love Andre 3000- he’s on the list! I would love to work with Raphael Sadiq- everything he touches is brilliant and I think we could do something really cool. It’s got to be a natural thing, you have to have a mutual respect for each other.
You’re currently working on your new album. Is there a pressure to reinvent, either your sound or your image, with a new release?
I think you just have to be honest with what you’re feeling and what you wanted to make at the time. I like to move in new directions and explore- it’s important to grow. When I was writing my first album I hadn’t really experienced the world, or even lived much of my own life. There wasn’t a single love song because I hadn’t really gone there but now I feel totally different. Love is the most important thing in the world, and whether you’re experiencing it in a great way or in a sad way I think it’s so great if you can find the honesty in it and express that in a song.
You mentioned that you’re quite shy- is the live experience something you enjoy?
It’s my favourite part, I can’t even describe it. Being on stage is just the best thing. In fact, I can understand why that whole idea of sex, drugs and rocknroll exists because you have that amazing buzz on stage that nothing else can give you and you come off to nothing, really. And that’s when you could potentially indulge, I totally get it. I’ve always tried to be aware of that and separate one from the other.
Your music and outlook seems very quintessentially English- -is your British identity really important to you?
I wouldn’t say I’m the most patriotic person but I was raised in London and it’s so mixed I think it just makes you love lots of different cultures. But I’m proud of where I’ve come from and I absolutely wouldn’t want to stand for anyone else.
You seemed to have a lot of fun on the shoot- is the relationship between fashion and music something that’s really important to you?
I think you have to just enjoy it. Most of my favourite musicians have a lot of fun with their clothes as well, whether it’s David Bowie or Andre 3000 or even someone like Kurt Cobain. I think it’s got to just express your personality.
What is your FAULT?
I don’t have any (laughs). No, I’m definitely a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to my music or anything creative. But I’m trying to let go a little bit- it’s important to let people in who can elevate you and make you the best that you can be. I need to be less of a control bitch basically (laughs.)
Back issues of our first shoot with Eliza back in 2010 are available through the ISSUES page. Click HERE for a direct link to buy your copy of FAULT Issue 6: No Man is an Island, which also features Alesha Dixon, 2 Many DJs, The Vaccines, the Black Angels, Nick Cave’s Grinderman project, John Cooper Clarke, Benn Northover and the Correspondents.
Photography: Miles Holder
Words: Will Ballantyne-Reid
Stylist: a+c studio
Make-up: Emma Miles using Mac Cosmetics
Hair Stylist: Natalie Viner