Creative Direction and Styling by Sophie Cherrett
Words and Photography by Karan Teli
The Latvian born artist is hard to pin down to a genre. Her music and style are unapologetically sexy and fierce, but as with any great artist, there is always a deeper meaning to Eliza Legzdina’s music and looks. Music is a big part of Eliza’s life, and how many people will know her, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all she is. Whether it’s empowering females to own their sexiness, or using her voice to speak out against the lack of queer spaces in Eastern Europe, with Eliza, we’re looking at a real trailblazer, rather than just an artist. “I love having general discussions outside of my art. I think my personality is very much disseminated in the music, but I think I am more than just my music. I think it’s cool that now artists have their own social platforms and can speak to their listeners directly. I put my heart in my music, but there’s always more things to read between the lines in the visuals and in the storyline. I hope people can find me familiar to them; like my music can be a place for them to escape, recharge, get excited and commit to themselves. My listeners inspire me, it’s a two way relationship.” Eliza’s mature and level-headed way of thinking is refreshing.
I remember the very first time I met Eliza back in 2018; The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. Introduced by a mutual friend, she told me she was an artist and I introduced myself as a photographer. We’ve developed a genuine friendship since then and worked together sporadically, and with her latest EP due in Spring, entitled Silver Linings, which the world is learning for first time, of course it was due for celebration. I sat down with Eliza for an interview to discuss her EP and much more, accompanied by Sophie Cherrett who brought to life a a neon and red light inspired vision.
Can you tell us about Silver Linings?
It’s all about the good side of falling in love, which can at the best of times be overwhelming and make one feel vulnerable. I found bravery in being in love and having my heart broken. I’m so grateful I fell in love with myself and the music at the same time. Growth is a wonderful thing.
Beyond music, how are you trying to connect with your fans in 2022?
Don’t play with my feelings, this feels like a trick question. I am looking forward to being able to perform live and meet people in real life. I’m working on some collectible items as part of my next project release and generally sharing my space with other artists. There’s loads of events coming up with Say It Back; our poetry community, and Venus in Flames; which I run with my girl Baby Pink in South London. I’m trying to build real time experiences, spiritual intersections. You can chase my NFTs any day.
Do you feel like you’ve been embraced by people back home in Latvia, and if so, in what way?
Definitely, getting recognised and the embrace is real. I am lucky enough to have my music played on the radio now. Last year, I played my first Latvian festival, and I have some exciting collaborative projects coming out this year where I sing in Latvian, which is so new to me and I’m looking forward to seeing the reception.
Are there things you’ve learnt about yourself during the last two years that you may not have known, had it not been for the pandemic?
I am a loving and grounded person and my self belief is carrying me through all of life’s turbulence. I am at peace with who I am and I do think all the time alone as an extrovert forced me to process a lot that had happened to me and I’m grateful for it all . I started releasing in the middle of a pandemic, not even Corona could stop me.
Your body positivity and confidence is something I can imagine a lot of your female fans are inspired by. But where did it originally stem from? Have you always been confident or was it something that grew over time as you grew as an artist?
Something that grew overtime for sure, I remember being a teenager and having a really negative relationship with my self image, but through performance, I was able to explore new parts of myself. Your body is amazing. My body is amazing. Bodies are incredible, and no one can determine your value, so why give anyone the power to shift your perspective on your own skin. There’s a lot of work to do around queer phobic, transphobic, fat-phobic and colourist beliefs, in entertainment and media, so we should really be doing more in order to celebrate people’s physical bodies and presentations in positive non sexualising ways! I’m confident and I want others to feel that way. We got one life, you don’t deserve the inherited social shame, we deserve to jiggle our bits and dance when we want to.
Do you feel your fashion style has evolved over the years and if so, what do you see your future style looking like?
I think I take bigger risks in some ways and maybe I’m more elegant in some things, but I still am a ‘sneaker and jeans girl’. Give me big silver hoops, mascara and a lip liner. I want to do even more elaborate performance looks and I love wearing fun things like bodysuits that entice our fantasies and give us a projection of the future, but I really want to work with considered designers. We should all be trying to buy sustainably. Check out Studio Hiiii, run by my best mate Skye (who generally let us use some pieces for Eliza’s looks). They’re doing everything right and it’s so incredible to see their process and be involved in their fashion projects. Sleek, futuristic, curve hugging, structured, sexy. Those are key words for me.
If she had a chance to speak to her, what’s 2022 Eliza telling 2012 Eliza?
Biiishhhhhh – I got you! Trust the process! You’re on a crazy journey and you should be so proud of where you are, everyone else is proud of you, so let the love in. Never put anyone above you, do what’s best for you even when it’s uncomfortable. And please take time to relax, it’s okay to admit it’s hard and that you need to play to get your mind right.
What changes need to happen in the music industry for independent artists like yourself?
DSPs need to distribute more of their profits to their artists. Also, there should be more readily available information on grant applications and how to spend your money wisely in order to make music a viable business opportunity. It’s awesome to see the Internet and globalisation bring down the barrier in music, but there’s still a lot of back door conversations that make it a hard industry to be within. Music is not content creation, although the two can align, we need more vocabulary on how the two overlap and how they are still different!
Check out Eliza’s latest music video Backflip below