Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

INTERVIEW with Eleni Drake on her new EP – Vanilla Sky

Vanilla Sky, the new EP from rising London singer-songwriter, Eleni Drake, paints the perfect picture of her intoxicating sound. Effortlessly blending jazz, blues, and indie rock elements, Eleni Drake shares her silky sound that reveals her natural grace, and smooth delivery of emotionally profound lyrics. She is an incredibly gifted artist who has discovered her unique voice and is fearlessly committed to creating music that is true to herself, and songs that are bound to stand the test of time.

Vanilla Sky is the exquisite follow-up EP to her 2019 release, Songs on Sundays. With Vanilla Sky, Eleni Drake delivers six gorgeous songs filled with dreamy melodies and line after line of poetry that intimately communicates to the listener the raw emotion of each delicately sung word. Whether through the undeniable hook of “King Street“, the jazziness of “Kilos“, the gritty vibes of “Kinda Hopeless“, or the ethereal sounds of “Melbourne Blues“, Vanilla Sky is a must-listen EP by a phenomenal artist on the rise.

Eleni Drake was very gracious to answer my questions about the Vanilla Sky EP, her artistry, inspirations, and much more:

Congrats on the release of the Vanilla Sky EP! We’re in love with your new music. Can you tell us a bit about the overall inspiration behind this EP and how it came to life?

Thank you! Very excited to finally have this EP out. Vanilla Sky is an amalgamation of happy and broken emotions. (It’s about to get a bit dark – I apologise) It actually touches upon death as the general ethos throughout the record. It’s about how we overcome these difficult times and heal ourselves. My Music is a reflection of real events in my life. I try and be as open and honest as I can through my music because I really struggle to express how I feel with some people in my life. It just ironic how I can tell a microphone how I’m feeling, but not a real-life human made of flesh and blood. Strange right? The inspiration came solely from things I had experienced in the past 2 years, from heartbreak to saying goodbye to people, to seeing the “figurative” light at the end. I believe these are things people have experienced, and if it can impact even a handful of people and provide some sort of solace, then I’ve done my job.

One of our favorite songs from the EP is “King Street”. It’s such a dreamy and enchanting song with a gorgeous melody. Can you tell us the story behind this song?

I think King Street is probably my favourite song on the record too. I wrote this song at the beginning of January (christ – we all had such high hopes for 2020 right?), the undertones of the song are actually very sad; it’s about someone passing away, and an ex-partner of mine getting back into contact with me, and I came to the realisation that some people just don’t change. You can’t rely on someone else, to make yourself feel better. 

You’ve stayed pretty busy the past couple years with multiple singles, your wonderful Songs On Sundays album in 2019, and now this Vanilla Sky EP. How would you describe the evolution of your songwriting and artistry between these projects? 

You know what, I just had this epiphany in 2020 (groundbreaking – I know) and I was like? what the fuck am I doing? I am NOT cool enough to be releasing these jazzy beats with the lofi vibe and the cool moody singing. I LOVE jazz, it runs through me… from your Billie Holidays, to your Mac Millers. But that’s exactly it, I realised I love consuming this, and immersing myself in the wide, wide world of jazz all these years… not actually creating it. I was constantly comparing myself to other singers/bands who were doing a similar thing, and I always came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t cool enough for this. I’m aware that’s a pretty fucking ridiculous conclusion, but it basically brought me back to square one. I’m a pop-punk/ rock kid at heart. I grew up listening to the greats. George Harrison, Billy Joel, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, The Story So Far, Blink 182, Knuckle Puck, Mazzy Star… the list is endless. And I just came to the realisation that this is where I’m better suited. I feel more comfortable, I feel far less inclined to compare myself to anyone, and just do my thing… and truly I feel like this is apparent to my listeners because the new music has been received so well.

Your sound is both unique and timeless blending various genres into smooth elegant works of art. What influences have played a part of shaping your sound and style?

I’ve always wanted to make “timeless music”, it doesn’t age. I feel the same way today when I listen to “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday as I did the first time I heard it when I was 8. It makes my heart so full, and I’m so lucky that the music I listen to still manages to make me feel the same way after almost 2 decades. Like I said above my music taste is by no means “unique” or “different”, but the music I listen to, doesn’t necessarily sound like the music I make (which isn’t a bad thing either) I also owe a great deal to my grandfather, he used to play flamenco guitar, and I was mesmerised as a kid, I just wanted to sound like him…and after all these years… I still haven’t mastered it. Living in London definitely poses its mark on you with the music this wonderfully eclectic city has to offer. Any genre you like – you will find it here. 

We can’t wait to hear what comes next for you! Do you have any concert plans to perform this new music live in the near future?

With Covid pretty much writing everyone’s plans off for 2020 collectively…there will be no gigs for me in 2020, but in January if all goes to plan and Boris Johnson chooses to not confuse the nation anymore… I will be performing my headline gig at the Servant Jazz Quarters in London! And from that… I hope to be performing more and more as 2021 progresses. Follow my Instagram to keep updated!




Vanilla Sky EP release date: 10.09.20

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