A Day in the Life: Social Distancing with Elyse Saunders

Photo courtesy of Liz Rosa Photography
The new normal took some time to adjust to at first, but if anyone is used to flexibility, uncertainty and the need to accept ever-growing change, it’s artists!

For the first part of the year, I was on a roll. I had a ton of big opportunities and growing momentum that was all looking pretty exciting leading into this summer. What was to come next was something none of us could predict or have been through before, so when it happened, it really turned everything upside down just like it did for everyone else.

In March, I was at my mom’s celebrating her birthday and I was supposed to fly out at 5 a.m. the next morning to finish up the rest of the songs on my album. We had the studio days booked, a videographer set up, songwriting appointments confirmed. When the news broke that everything was being completely shut down in Vancouver (where I was supposed to fly to), my producer called to say it was all cancelled. I felt pretty devastated and it felt like all of that personal momentum and drive ran straight into a brick wall.

I spent the next couple of months in self-isolation with my boyfriend and two cats. After the first couple of weeks of eating bad food, watching Netflix and indulging in some beverages, I decided enough was enough and I wanted to start feeling inspired and have a purpose again. I started taking on a passion for cooking healthy meals, as it kept my mind busy and also felt creatively therapeutic for me. Then, I started doing home workouts as I was tired of barely moving – haha.

Around that time, I started to see some signs of recovery in our new world. My team and I put our minds together to see if it would make sense to release more music. My single was supposed to drop two months earlier but we decided that the end of June would be our target date no matter what as music is essential, no matter what’s going on in the world!

Between the pandemic and the release of new music, it inspired me to start my own YouTube vlogging series. Since I couldn’t be out on the road touring and connecting with my fans and I couldn’t be doing any radio tours to promote the single, I thought the best way to connect with everyone would be to show a more personal side of me online through these vlogs. It was super foreign to me and something I’ve never done before, but I grabbed my iPhone and started the series, which I edit all myself and have included topics that are relatable to my experiences as an artist and person. I’ve shared how-to videos, self development, “a day in the life” and behind the scenes. It’s been a great way to connect with everyone and has forced me to really take a stab at the online marketing world. (Which by the way, I’ve become super thankful for).

Before this point, I would always do what I needed to do online but now I’ve really become a full-time content creator, which has helped the growth of my online presence and audience reach. It’s also helped me to understand how all of that works a little more and it’s something I’ll be continuing to do as I go forward. I think that people are looking for that online connection more than ever right now.

As it turns out, my song “Free” couldn’t have been released at a better time. The song is uplifting and shares messages of feeling the freedom of being in the moment.

I wasn’t sure if I’d get the opportunity to release a full music video for “Free”, which I was super bummed out about, so I decided to make something happen anyways. I dolled myself up, grabbed my iPhone, recorded some video footage of singing and dancing and then sent it off to a videographer who did a great job of combining my footage with some of my live performance video as well as cool stock footage. We ended up with a super engaging lyric video that reached 50,000 views!

Since then, my videographer and team found a small window to make an official music video happen, which I can say was so rewarding after going through the challenges. It was just released at the end of July and has been getting great feedback so far, which feels pretty rewarding as everything I do, I want to make sure it gets other people excited and pumped.

The single has also been getting some great traction with now over 400,000 streams on Apple Music AND I just got back from my re-scheduled recording trip, where we finished recording the rest of the album.

For both the music video and the album recording, we took extra precautions, of course, and learned together what was necessary to create art with challenging new circumstances around us. It all feels like sweet victory now to have come out and shared music after the way that things started.

Through all of this, I believe we’ve learned lessons as a society and also individually. As an artist, I’ve learned through all of this that I hadn’t realized how much time I was investing in different parts of my life. I’m seeing now how much more my time means to me and where I want to invest that time to better my career and life. Thankfully and most importantly, my family has been safe and healthy through it all. On a broader scale, the last few months have also shed light on much-needed areas that have been left in the dark for too long.

As challenging as 2020 has been for so many of us, I believe that from a newer way of thinking and doing things that we’ve come to learn through this, all of it will work out. By doing better, we will be better.

While practicing social distancing, watch my latest music video for "Free":