Hometown: Between Sydney, Columbo and Brooklyn
Listen to: ‘Take Me to the Sun’, ‘Your Rage is Necessary, Pt. I’, ‘Poison’
As a singer, producer, harpist, activist, and dancer, the multi-talented ELSZ (the alias of Australian-born Natasha Nathanielsz) is a force to be reckoned with. From the hypnotic crescendo of ‘Your Rage is Necessary, Pt. I’ and the snake-like rattle underpinning ‘Dark Room’, to the harp-driven lullaby ‘Take Me to the Sun’, ELSZ’s discography spanning 2016 to present is full of transcendent single releases, laying the foundations for what can only be a phenomenal first album.
It’s unclear when their two-part debut album, entitled Blue Scar will drop, but they created a Kickstarter page for it a couple of years ago—hopefully, 2021 is the year it sees the light.
Alongside the breadth of ELSZ’s solo releases ‘Poison’, ‘Your Rage is Necessary Pt. I’, ‘Bright Eyes’, ‘Dark Room’ and ‘Take Me to the Sun’, their collaborations show they’re capable of turning their talents to any sound. Their neo-soul collaboration with Versa and Karan Joseph on ‘Are You Okay?’ and the ethereal, cinematic ‘Broken Open’ with REO, show that ELSZ’s music is unconfined by genre.
If their soulful vocals, striking melodies, and multi-faceted production somehow weren’t enough to capture your attention, ELSZ’s lyrics are a punch to the gut. In their debut ‘Poison’, dedicated to the victims and survivors of gender-based violence, we’re put in the centre of a damaging relationship: “Waking to your forceful touch / You’re holding me down” they sing, “I sacrificed myself to you / To come back again and fix you.” In the music video, the song is sandwiched in between two emotive monologues, and it ends with that call-to-arms “Break the silence / Build solidarity.” In addition gender-based violence, ELSZ’s music also covers the intricacies of colonialism’s effect on everyday life—the repeated whispers of “Your rage is necessary” in the song of the same name is particularly haunting, and ELSZ calls it both a protest and a prayer. “This song speaks to the tectonic and seismic swell of rage that is necessary to be felt and expressed to heal and birth change,” they say in the Bandcamp page for the song.
If you’re looking to lose yourself in music and be serenaded by contemplative lyrics punctuated by mesmerising harps and the voice of an angel, look no further. While we wait for ELSZ’s debut album, I’ll be playing their singles to date on repeat.
Words by Kat Smith
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