Elizabeth Rains, one of four performers at the Music Almost Famous concert series, hosted by Raz Mataz Magazine on May 4 in Toronto, has a big voice, to say the least. The girl can sing like nobody’s business, and has a a sweetly hard-edged sound that is uniquely her own.
Caroline caught up with Elizabeth after her performance to talk about her musical upbringing and her three-year plan.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): Is your real name Elizabeth Rains? Or is that a stage name?
Elizabeth Rains (ER): Elizabeth Rains is my real-life name. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
RMM: Where were you born?
ER: I was born in Denver, Colorado, and lived there until I was eleven or so. Then my family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I stayed until coming to Canada in 2006.
RMM: What kind of music was played in your home while you were growing up?
ER: Thankfully, I grew up in a very musical household, enjoying many types of genres. But, when I think back on it, I recall The Eagles, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday being the most frequent.
RMM: What instruments do you play, and were you professionally taught? If so, where and by whom?
ER: I play the flute, oboe, bassoon, piccolo, and guitar. I was professionally taught on the flute, oboe, bassoon, and piccolo by numerous different teachers and depending on my ability at the time. My bassoon instructor played for the Minnesota Orchestra, which really gave me a huge insight into what that career looked like. It was my dream.
RMM: How old were you when this started?
ER: Eight years old
RMM: When was it that you realized that music was going to be a part of the rest of your life?
ER: I can honestly say for as long as I can remember. I used to “practice” using my cassette tapes and singing my heart out, thinking the more I did that the better I would become. Then, as I grew older, I started writing, filling dozens and dozens of books with either lyrics or spoken word. Music truly is what I live and breathe.
RMM: What kind of music do you play? Do you have a specific genre?
ER: I don’t think I can really put a specific genre to my songs. I definitely write to whatever feeling or action is going on in my life at the time, so it could be rock, folk, grunge, oldie style. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal!
ER: Yes, I do.
Some songs I write the lyrics, and a good friend of mine puts the guitar piece together. I love collaborating with other people. You never know what the outcome is going to be.
RMM: What was the first song you ever wrote about; do you remember?
ER: “Anything” – basically about somebody who was dumped, and really wanted to know why. . . typical girl!
RMM: What would you say is your strongest element and your biggest weakness?
ER: My voice definitely would be my strongest element. My biggest weakness would be undermining my ability to play the guitar. I always feel inadequate [compared to] my friends.
RMM: What do you write about? Do you usually tend to stick to specific themes or is it all different?
ER: I’m really try and write from my heart and soul. It’s extremely difficult for me to write about something else when I feel the opposite.
RMM: Do you feel there is a difference between being an “artist” and a musician?
ER: Most definitely. To me, an artist is a person who does this – because they love it. They feel it. They breathe and sleep it. A musician is somebody who does this because they can.
RMM: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
ER: Moving to a different country and meeting the right people who share my love for music, and, therefore, giving me the opportunities I haven’t had before.
RMM: Do you play live often?
ER: I have played at numerous places in Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with being interviewed on Mid-Land radio based out of the Twin Cities. The Raz Mataz show [on May 4 in Toronto] was my first big show in Canada, and I’m really excited about it!
RMM: What can people expect from your live show?
ER: Heart. And hopefully they’ll think some good music!
RMM: What are your musical goals for the next three years?
ER: To finish the recording of my first album and to continue performing, of course.
For more information on Elizabeth Rains, visit http://www.myspace.com/elizebethrains