|ELISA is the latest in a line of extraordinary singer/songwriting talents to emerge from the land of melody, Italy. Even more extraordinary is that ELISA writes and performs her songs with ease and flair in English, thanks to her love of reading poetry from the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Jim Morrison in their original versions.
A child prodigy and now a mature singer/songwriter; this 23-year-old girl performed cabaret, with a swing big band, a punk outfit, as a soloist in piano bars, and now at last she has her own group. Bom and raised in the Veneto region of north?eastern Italy, ELISA describes her small home?town of Monfalcone as having a lively musical scene inspired by the cultural influences due to its position as a meeting point with northern and eastern Europe. Monfalcone is close to Italy's frontiers with Austria and the ex?Yugoslavian Republic of Slovenia, a cultural cross?roads where the tensions of the Balkans meets the relative stability of the west.
Since signing to Sugar Music, ELISA has had two recording sessions in Berkeley, California where she laid down the tracks for her first album ?Pipes and Flowers" which was released in Italy at the end of September 1997 and immediately licensed to POLYDOR BV in Holland for the rest of Europe . The first single from the album, "Sleeping in Your Hand" was released in Italy at the end of May 1997 and got serviced to Radios in Germany and UK in the spring 1998. Other European countries such as Holland and Switzerland, following the hipe of the Italian success, commercially released the single "Labyrinth" around the same period.
The title of the album, ELISA says, represents her two extremes, 2 aspects of her personality. It is produced by Corrado Rustici, well known for his production credits with Whitney Houston and Zucchero amongst others. The album displays an impressive maturity and depth both in ELISA's lyrics and in her musical compositions.
ELISA's music and lyrics are personal reflections on a life on which she is keen to take in as many varied experiences as possible without putting up barriers, or imposing her view on others. That?s the reason why many of ELISA's songs are rich in symbolism and metaphors, which allow her listeners to share her personal emotional expressionism and to relate through her songs with their own interpretations.
Amongst ELISA?s influences are contemporary singer/songwriters P.J. Harvey, Tori Amos and Bjork who have provided inspiration through their open hearted lyrics, and the jazz and r&b greats Aretha Franklyn, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan who have inspired ELISA's impressively mature and distinct vocal phrasing. Add to that intriguing mixture ELISA's appreciation of rock outfits like Sonic Youth, and you begin to get an idea of her very individual music.
Up to today the album ?Pipes and Flowers? has sold over 220.000 copies in Italy; this means a double platinum record in this territory and an extraordinary support from all media.
The first three singles taken from the album (?Sleeping in your hand?, ?Labyrinth? and ?A Feast for Me?) have topped the radio charts of the Italian FM for the whole winter 1997/1998 and the respective video-clips were broadcast on ?heavy rotation? on MTV Italy and the most important music networks.
During the month of April 1998 ELISA's ?Pipes & Flowers Tour? has been touching the most important cities in Italy with sold out venues and an unanimous positive reaction from the media.
The tour ended up with ELISA's appearance at the "Festa del I° Maggio" concert in Rome, in front of an audience of nearly 600.000 people. Other guests participating to the event were, among the others, Jon Bon Jovi, Simple Minds, Julian Lennon, Avion Travel, Almamegretta and Prozac +.
The launch of the ?Pipes and Flowers" album, supported by the release of the single ?Labyrinth? (also added to Swedish Radio Bandit?s playlist), took place throughout Europe during the month of September 1998; a launch followed by the participation of ELISA as special guest to the Eros Ramazzotti's European Tour during the months of September, October and November 1998 in all the key European territories.
At the end of June 1998 she performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 40.000 people in Imola, Italy, at the "Festival di Imola" (the most important musical event of the year, along with the "Festa del I° Maggio" in Rome) with other international guests such as Anouk, Natalie Imbruglia, Tori Amos, Ben Harper and Italian rock star Vasco Rossi.
During summer 1998 ELISA has been requested to perform some additional dates of her "Pipes & Flowers Tour" in the south of Italy and islands, while attending a few recordings of the most important Italian summer TV Show "FESTIVALBAR", showcasing in Berlin, Germany, in front of more than 100 key?media people the night before her appearance as special guest with Eros on July 14th. Then she performed in Munich, Germany on September 1st , and spent some of her (little) free time in the recording studio, working on new material.
The 1998 edition of the ?Premio Luigi Tenco? (the Italian music award named after the famous songwriter who committed suicide in the late 60?s) saw ELISA in between the winners of such a prestigious prize delivered in Sanremo on October 22nd 1998 (category ?Best Debut Album?), along with names such as Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Vasco Rossi, Patty Pravo, Francesco De Gregori; after the delivery of the prize ELISA attended a number of TV Shows, covering both National TVs and private networks promoting her fourth single "Cure Me", produced by Darren Allison (SKUNK ANANSIE, SPIRITUALIZED, ... ), released in Italy October 15th and supported by an excellent video directed by Alessandra Pescetta (Ligabue, Negrita).
The single climbed the Italian airplay charts and has been added as a bonus track to the Italian release of ELISA?s album ?Pipes & Flowers?.
After that single there is a period of reflection, during which the group who played the first album goes separate ways. ELISA remains alone and with ever greater care she asks herself which new direction to give to her music. Months and months of travels, meetings and hard work during which ELISA creates 30 songs, from which she will start to realise her new album. Part of these songs follows ELISA to London in April 1999 to be pre-produced together with Darren Allison (Spiritualized, Divine Comedy, Skunk Anansie). In June Howie B., after listening with enthusiasm to her new songs, decides to produce two of these, ?7 times? and ?Come and sit?. The work continues in London on other two songs, ?Happiness is home? and ?Gift?, this time with another producer, Roberto Vernetti, probably the most innovative among the young Italian producers. The rest of the album has been recorded in Bologna, between November 1999 and March 2000, with the precious collaboration of Leo Z. and Mauro Malavasi. ELISA comes back on the scene on the 31st of March with the single ?Gift?, together with the video shot by Alessandra Pescetta. The new band on tour with ELISA features Bruno Farinelli (drums), Max Gelsi (bass), Giorgio Pacorigh (piano), Andrea Rigonat (guitars), Luigi Pulcinelli (programmer) and a Dj. The new album, entitled ?Asile?s world? was released in Italy on May, the 5th 2000 and up to now has sold more than 100.000 copies in Italy thanks to the singles ?Gift?, ?Happiness is home? and ?Asile?s world?. Not to mention all her participations in to the most important concerts and Italian summer festivals during the year.
In December 2000 ELISA wrote ? Come speak to me? (?Luce -tramonti a nord est-?). This song represents a great innovation in the artist?s repertoire, as she sings for the first time in Italian; music and lyrics have been composed by ELISA in co-operation with, for the lyric part, Zucchero Fornaciari.
?Come speak to me? (?Luce -tramonti a nord est-?) has been produced by Corrado Rustici, who also produced ?Pipes and Flowers?.
With this song ELISA took part, in the ?Champions?? section, to the 51st edition of the Sanremo Festival. On the occasion of the Sanremo performance, ELISA was accompanied on the stage of the Ariston theatre by the Neapolitan Solis String Quartet, already famous for its co-operation with well-known Italian and international singers such as Bennato, Baglioni, Celentano, Andreas Vollenweider and Dulce Pontes.
And ELISA won the Sanremo Festival! And she also won a series of prizes, which confirm the unquestionable validity of the final verdict: the ?Quality Jury Award?, the ?Best Performer Award?, the ?Critics? Award Mia Martini? and the ?Indie Radio & TVs Award?.
For the coming future, from March on, ELISA is going to start a tour which will bring her in the main Italian cities.