Community / 23 November 2019

Curation Team Pick: ElizabethDarcel, the R&B Songstress With Bucketfuls of Soul

ElizabethDarcel has been making waves in the BandLab community in the last few months. She’s a prolific collaborator whose top-notch vocal stylings on original tracks, covers, and collabs have made her one of our team’s power users to watch.

We spoke to Liz about writing ‘protest music’, the importance of getting in those vocal reps, and why recording in the closet is sometimes the fastest solution!

How did you get into making music?

My family is very musical. My mom usually had the stereo on more often than the TV, and she’s a big inspiration.

I started to seriously write my own music about two months after my mom passed from liver cancer. It became really cathartic. I always wanted to keep a journal, but I couldn’t ever make the daily commitment. So my music is my journal.

You have a big R&B sound with some really moody, soulful arrangements. How do you create your beats and write your hooks?

I borrow a lot. It can be an already existing song or beat, me trying to create my own version of something that I’ve heard. Or, adding loops to make a song I’m working on sound even fuller.

I write lyrics first and might record ideas to hear how they sound. But nothing is ever tied down. If I find a new beat that I like more than the one I created a few days ago, the song gets a facelift.

I’m usually working on a few projects at once and I like to keep rotating as I work on them. It’s just about patience until you find that great track.

What’s a song you’ve shared on BandLab that has special meaning to you, and why?

One that I wrote, this protest kinda song called S.O.S. I first wrote it in 2017, and the lyrics and vibe were originally trippy and electronic.

I came so close to scrapping the song actually, because it had gotten really cheesy! I stepped away from it until I got a bit of new inspiration years later.

Between 2017 and 2019, the world was going kinda crazy. I heard a news reporter say something like “God help us all”. And I thought, God? This has nothing to do with God. I don’t think he cares anymore. I don’t even think he’s watching. That [sense of helplessness and asking what was going on] became the motivation I needed to write the new S.O.S.

Do you have jazz vocal training? What’s your top tip for other singers who want to achieve a ‘jazzier’ vocal tone?

I have some choral and opera vocal training which helps with the breathing technique. But my top tip for anyone no matter what your genre is: rehearse! Getting those reps in will help you perform better.

As for a jazzy tone, listen to the greats, figure out which one is your favorite or which tone you want to mimic, and practice.

Any general advice for other musicians in the community?

Get you initial ideas out. Even if it’s 30 seconds long. Even if the idea doesn’t work with anything now. It could work in a few months.

Always keep a recorder (like BandLab) and notepad app on your phone to get ideas out!

Quickfire round! Favourite BandLab Loop or Instrument? 

I really like all of the voices [on Creator Kits]. I add them to a lot of songs in place of keyboards because I like how much ‘airier’ they sound.

Recording on-the-go or at home? 

I record only at home, I have to be in my closet (lol). It has all my recording essentials! I use an Audio-Technica mic, Akai mini midi keyboard, and my Macbook Pro.

What’s next for E Darcel?

Honestly I have no idea yet. I’m going to keep writing and recording. I’ve been getting invites to do live shows – super nervous about that but also excited.

I’m not going to plan anything out, because planning never works [for me] in the first place. I’m just going to seeing where this goes and hope that I get better every time I drop a new track.

Follow Liz or reach out to her for a collab at @ElizabethDarcel!

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