Illustration by Caila Parks
We had the chance to interview Elliot Lee, an amazingly talented singer songwriter from Brooklyn. Their music tackles topics like mental health in a strong, straightforward way while also being so epic in the beat. As Lee said, "I perform music that we can yell and dance to while crying together!" and we couldn't have said it better! Read on to learn more about them and their music!
Name: Elliot Lee
From: I grew up all over the US, but my home base is NYC.
What/who are your influences?
I’m influenced a lot by the music I listened to growing up like Avril Lavigne, Cake, ABBA, and Twenty One Pilots. I’m also influenced fashion-wise by street fashions all over the world.
If you could collaborate with any musician, dead or alive, who would you pick?
I think I could make a really sick song with Min Yoongi! His beats are amazing and we share a lot of the same sentiments in our lyrics.
Have you had a favorite venue to play at?
My favorite used to be the Sidewalk Cafe because they kind of gave me my start with performing my music on stage, but they closed down a while back :(
What current contemporary artists have you been listening to as of recently?
I’ve been listening to a lot of BIBI :) Also WHOKILLEDXIX! I love the whole hyper-pop movement because it reminds me of the stuff I listened to as a kid.
What musical guilty pleasure do you have?
I don’t really feel guilty about any of the music I enjoy, but people tend to make fun of me for my love of K-pop/K-hiphop haha :)
What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
I love to draw, study Korean, decorate my room, and play Genshin Impact!
My favorite movie is Midsommar! I also adore all of the Ghibli movies.
What would you say was your defining moment in your career? The big turning point.
Meeting my fans at a show for the first time was the moment where everything suddenly felt real for me. Seeing them sing my music back to me for the first time was so surreal, I’ll never forget it!
Your music touches a lot of viewers and has a lot of meaning behind them; how do you go about choosing a topic to sing about?
I like to make music about whatever emotions or thoughts I’m having trouble processing myself. When I get stuck thinking about something for too long it eats me up, so I turn to music as a way to work through it externally.
How do you hope your music will impact your audience?
A lot of people have told me that the first time they listened to my music it was like a light went off and they realized that they aren’t alone in their struggles. I hope my music can do that for everyone who needs it.
What is your main goal/takeaway/or message as a musician you want your audience to have while listening to your music?
I hope my music lets people know that they’re never alone and that their voices deserve to be heard. I want them to feel like they can turn to my music when they are feeling lonely or confused.
Your style is one to be aspired to; how do you use your clothing as a way of self -expression? What is your favorite clothing item that best represents you?
I never really plan outfits, I always just start putting stuff on until it feels like it fits my mood for the day. I like to express a lot of facets of my identity through my clothes in subtle ways, from gender to politics.
I feel like my chains represent me the best because they are a way for me to take soft outfits and add edge to them. This kind of mirrors my soul in a way :)
What are some ways you've been able to overcome the idea of “fitting in” vs. being yourself?
I never fit in my whole life, so I guess I just had to embrace it in order to exist. I find it easier to accept that I don’t fit in when I consider the fact that everyone is always just trying to fit in, that’s a huge part of life for most people. So letting go of that struggle is incredibly freeing!
What is some advice you would give your audience about dealing with self-expression and how to fully embrace who they are, especially in the LGBTQ+ community?
Find people who embrace who you are and surround yourself with them! Internet communities are awesome because you can find like-minded people who understand what you are going through.
If you are always your authentic self in spaces where it is safe to do so, you will attract the people who like you for who you are. Among the Bubblegum Soldiers is a safe place for you to be who you are, we will never judge you or make you feel alienated here.
Who are your most positive influences in your life?
My younger siblings are huge positive influences on me. They help me stay progressive and they always make me feel accepted and loved.
Mr. Rogers is also a huge positive influence on me! I try to implement his ethical code into everything I do.
What are some ways that music has positively impacted your mental health?
Music has allowed me to open up in ways I never felt safe doing so before. It has also helped me find a community of people who understand my experiences.
How do you embrace the stigma of social media?
Social media is something that I really only use to connect with Bubblegum Soldiers anymore. I don’t use it much otherwise because it tends to be such a negative and draining place. I think it’s really important to set limits on social media use for this reason!
How do you balance your mental health and your career?
This is something I still am trying to figure out! I tend to ignore everyone, including my team, when I am feeling low. They’ve come to understand that about me though :)
What advice would you give those struggling with mental illness?
It’s ok to not be ok, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for feeling unwell. You only have one you, so forgive yourself and treat yourself with compassion!!
Congratulations on your new album! That is so exciting! Can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m sooo excited to finally have it in the world!! It tells a story about a misfit kid who finds people through music and builds a kingdom with them as the Queen of Nothing, but then things get out of hand and the queen burns everything to the ground. I wanted to talk about my anxieties about my own career through the form of storytelling :)
How do you determine the order in which the music is presented on the album?
The order just follows the story! Queen of Nothing is an introduction to the main character and the basic plot, LaLa Land describes the setting, Pink (Freak) Introduces the conflict, Drama Queen is the climax, and Rubies is the conclusion.
Is there anything else you would like to touch base on or say to your audience?
I have a lot of stuff coming soon once everything opens up again, so be patient with me while I get life figured out again!!!
Where can people find you on Social Media?
I’m on everything! Lately I have been using Twitch a lot because I’ve become a Twitch Partner, so you can hang out with me there at least once a week :)
Where can they buy the album?
You can buy/stream it on any platform where you usually buy/stream digital music!! And don’t forget to watch the brand new Queen of Nothing music video! :)
You can also find and follow Elliot here:
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/elliot-lee/1364029274
Thank you so much Elliot!! We LOVED getting to talk with you and wish you all the best with the new music! Guys, Elliot was seriously the nicest, most gracious person we've ever met. Please support and buy their music!!
All photos and video are property of Elliot Lee.