London based rising Soul-Pop star Liz Cass continues to build anticipation for her upcoming EP with her stunning new single ‘Chaos’, recorded and co-written alongside Ed Graves (known for his work with legends like Alt-J) at Rainbow Wood Studios in Bath. ‘Chaos’ showcases Liz’s effortlessly rich vocals, creating a atmospherically dreamy, soulful soundscape.
To get to know more about the face behind the vocals, I sat down with Liz to talk all things music, inspiration and plans for the future which you can read all about below.
Let’s start at the beginning and learn some more about you. Where are you from, what first inspired you to start making music and who have been your biggest influences?
“I was born in Manchester but never actually lived there (long story for another time). I think I discovered I could sing when I was 6 or 7. My step-mum heard me and she used to do local am-dram and had a good collection of Musical LPs like Les Mis, lots of Rogers and Hammersteins and Gershwin. I first learnt to sing by singing a long to those records. My dad also has a big vinyl collection and we always had music on in the house. My influences over the years have been diverse. From musicals and jazz in the very early days, then becoming a choral scholar when I was 11, I started listening to a lot of opera and classical music. In my late teens I came back to the jazz and embarked on a live jazz career for most of my 20s. Sarah Vaughan was a real game changer for me and taught me about the importance of phrasing and how it can totally change the performance of any song. Kate Bush and Sade are also two of my favourite artists. Strong, interesting women with such a distinctive style and unique voices.”
“In my mid 20s I discovered house music and started top lining on producers dance tracks. It’s a pretty colourful musical background I guess! I’ve never listened to much mainstream pop if I’m honest. I’m normally stuck in the musical past. Although since platforms like Spotify took over I’ve discovered so many new independent artists pushing boundaries and putting really interesting music out. I take something away from everything I listen to. It all feeds into my writing. “
Your new single ‘Chaos’ is stunning, what inspired you to write the track and what was the recording process like for you?
“Thank you! I wrote Chaos with the producer Ed Graves at Rainbow Wood Studios. It was the third song we wrote so we were really getting comfortable with our writing process together and it flowed out quickly and effortlessly. I would describe Ed as my song-writing soulmate and we’ve gone on to write many songs together. “
“Chaos was inspired by a slightly toxic situation I was in at the time with another musician. Most of my songs are autobiographical and this one tells the story of being drawn to someone that excites you but is bad for you. But you just can’t put it down. Chaotic love I guess. I’m happy to say those reckless times are over and I’m more calm and sensible these days. My heart is locked in with music for now!”
Your style seems to have developed through a range of genres over the years, blending hints of jazz, electro, soul and pop into your own unique sound. How have you found your journey towards discovering your sound and what is your favourite genre to explore?
“It’s been a long journey and one that even saw me fall out of love with it for a few years. It’s not an easy industry to be in but if you can accept the swings and roundabouts it’s a love affair that lasts forever. I realised after a break from it all that it just wouldn’t be me if I’m not making music. It’s a huge part of who I am and it’s also my outlet. My jazz years will always have firm place in my heart but now I’m on a journey with my own sound it’s much more exciting. I’ve learnt so much working with Ed Graves and I think my songwriting has developed the most in the last 12 months. I only really found my sound this year.”
You’ve worked with some huge names in the industry, what is the best bit of advice you’ve received while working on a project?
“Do your own thing and be true to your own style. When you start working with someone new, especially if they are a big name or really successful artist it can be daunting and it’s tempting to dive into their back catalogue for inspo to guide you. It’s fine to be aware of music they’ve put out in the past… but they’ve come to you for what you can bring to the project and the most important thing is to be yourself and have confidence in the value you can add to the music. Working with Daley (Hot Since 82) on several tracks this year really helped me with that. He gave me a lot of space to do my thing and was so encouraging. He also really cared about my opinion on the music and the direction it was going and that meant a lot. I can tell you not all producers are like that.”
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would you choose and why?
“Ry X a thousand times over. His music is true art and his voice is celestial. I have huge respect for him as an artist and his music really is timeless. One day maybe… here’s hoping.”
Do you have any exciting upcoming projects that you’ve been working on recently?
“Many! Lockdown was good for one thing and that was writing. I’ve been working hard on my solo project and I’ll be releasing more singles leading up to a 6 track EP early next year, plus a new feature out on Tiesto’s label AFTR:HRS on 25.09.20 with Leftwing:Kody. I’ve also got some big collaborative releases coming up under my DJ alias Pablo:Rita on Circus Recordings and Crosstown rebels.”
What is your ultimate goal for your music career within the next 10 years?
“To make timeless music that touches people in a very real way. And to perform it in stadiums obviously! “
Do you have any recommendations for other up-and-coming artists that you think we should all be listening to?
“Yes! I recently discovered Hemi Moore. He is from Zimbabwe but now UK based. His voice blows me away but it’s also his lyrics. They are powerful and so relevant. Check him out. I’m also really excited for Ed Graves my producer. He is an incredible solo artist in his own right and I think you’ll be hearing from him very soon. Another current favourite is Zsela. Her voice really touches me.”
If all that doesn’t leave you wanting to hear more from Liz, I don’t know what will. Don’t forget to show her some love on social media and stream ‘Chaos’ on Spotify via the links below.