Friday, October 11, 2019

Playlists at Work: Elohim | Spotify for Artists

Her moody electro-pop has found its way to millions of fans thanks to broad, genre-bending appeal.

When Elohim’s 2017 single “Sleepy Eyes” landed on Spotify’s Viral 50 playlist, she knew her life was about to change—but she couldn’t have predicted just how fast. The L.A.-based singer, songwriter, and producer went from playing Bach and Chopin as a child to nabbing a spot at Coachella and collaborating with Skrillex in record time. Elohim credits her parents for pushing her into classical music at a young age, even as she kicked and screamed her way through piano practice. “Although I wasn’t fond of it at the time, this taught me incredible discipline, which helped me become the musician, writer, and performer I am today,” she says. “I still have that work ethic ingrained in me, which is why you can find me rehearsing my set on a Friday night at 10pm.”

As for her rise in the indie and pop ranks, Elohim points to Spotify as one of her most important tools. “In all honesty, I have no idea where my career would be without Spotify, which is such a wild thing to say,” she admits. Elohim has made use of the playlist submission tool on numerous occasions, first seeing success with “Sleepy Eyes,” which remains her most streamed song on Spotify.

She’s become especially savvy with her submissions. “It’s always hard to pick which song because they each become your baby in a funny way. I know my friends so well now that I am like, ‘I think they would love this one,’ or ‘I think this one could help people get out of their own head and calm them down, they need this one,’” Elohim says. Following her intuition has certainly worked.

Catharsis in song

Elohim has been featured on myriad other playlists, including New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Young & Free, Women of Pop, and Mood Booster. “I specifically remember, for the release of ‘Panic Attacks,’ I was featured on the cover art for Indie Pop. Seeing that felt surreal,” she recalls. Appearing on such a wide range of playlists is proof of Elohim’s multidimensional appeal. Her songs interweave a little of her classical roots with moody electro-pop wrapped in catchy, cathartic melodies. But instead of defining her sound strictly within the boundaries of genre, she describes it in the way it’s meant to make you feel: “It’s a calming place you can go when you need to feel unconditional love and support,” she explains.

Many of her fans would agree, turning to Elohim and her music as a source of comfort—and a big dose of reality, too. Emotionally raw tracks like “Panic Attacks,” “pills,” and “Xanax” speak directly to her struggles with depression and anxiety, but she’s also become a fierce mental-health advocate both online and off. For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Elohim donated 100% of the month’s proceeds from her BRAINDEAD EP to charities focused on mental-health outreach and support. As a musician she finds that having a support system is invaluable, and that being open and honest with her label and management has been especially crucial. “I think it is important to push yourself, but learn your limits as well,” Elohim says. “It has been really beneficial to be open with my team and the people around me. I wish that labels provided some sort of a therapy network for their artists. Therapy has been so crucial to my road to feeling ok, but therapy is incredibly expensive,” she adds.

Of course, music is a major part of Elohim's own therapeutic process, too, and being able to share her art and spread it to so many listeners is even more empowering—or, rather, electrifying. “There is a reason why they say an artist is ‘buzzing.’ It actually feels like that, like feeling electricity through your body,” she explains. “Every time someone simply says ‘I love your music’ or ‘Your music has gotten me through a hard time,’ I am so grateful.”

While Elohim has now hit millions of streams on several of her tracks, she still finds it can be hard to cut through the pack. “There is a lot of music being released, and there are also gatekeepers that have to believe in you, and that can be very frustrating,” she says. But at the end of the day, she strives to stay positive. “I think any way we can get music into people’s ears is a beautiful thing. Music is medicine.”

—Stephanie Garr


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