There’s an extensive musical pedigree that I could dissect out of Elliot Lee‘s “Drama Queen.” However, with her feet firmly planted in the present and an eye towards the future, her/their sound is firmly hers/theirs and nothing can rob Elliot of the genuine candor that this new single emanates.
‘Case you didn’t know, Elliot’s legions of adoring fans are called the “Bubblegum Army” and you’ll be able to tell exactly why the second you listen to the music that drives them close to each other.
We had the good fortune to ask Elliot some questions about music and life in general to get to know this amazing young voice better, check it out:
So you explore “materialism as a coping mechanism” in this song. Do you think we’re becoming more materialistic to cover up for how unsatisfactory modernity can be?
I think materialism absolutely can be used as a bandaid for the feeling of unfulfillment that the modern capitalist life often brings. It’s so easy to buy things for the quick dopamine rush, and I’m sure there’s some sort of instinctual drive fulfilled by collecting things as well. We are all just trying to be happy, and for some reason sometimes stuff just makes us happy.
What inspired the concept behind the upcoming “Queen Nothing” EP? is it social commentary or is it more of a personal narrative?
People always ask me where I see myself in the future. I wish I wasn’t like this, but I tend to be a very pessimistic person. When people ask me that question my imagination just starts to go crazy with all the ways my life could unfold, and particularly I start to imagine how badly my life could go. Maybe my music will spread far and wide, and I’ll feel like I’m on top of the world, but then the fame will get to my head and I’ll go off the deep end, losing everyone and everything. It sounds a little dramatic, huh? 🙂
So this EP is kind of just my honest answer to the question “where do you see yourself in the future?” in the form of a story.
And I think by talking about my personal experiences it ends up being social commentary in a way. I know that my experiences aren’t fully unique, and neither are the emotions that float around in my silly little head. Humans are more alike and interconnected than we like to admit. Hopefully Bubblegum Soldiers all over the world will listen to the EP and feel represented in some way. One of the songs is all about them.
I suspect that there’s also an element of social media influence and how it enables “Drama Queen-ing”, do you find it challenging to walk away from social media to avoid that drama?
Social media definitely plays a huge role in the narrative of the Drama Queen. People always feel the need to comment on everything, sometimes without any regard to others’ feelings. They say such extreme things like “this is the worst song I’ve ever heard”, and if you respond then you’re accused of feeding into the drama. I find it very hard to step away from social media since it’s a huge part of what I do, so I try to just do my best to cut through all the noise and make sure my message gets to the kids who need to hear it.
Do you feel like you’re ever a “Drama Queen” yourself?
I’ve been very emotional my whole life, and I tend to see stuff in extremes if I’m not careful. I get passionate, I get loud, and I cry a lot. So I’ve been called a “drama queen” many times in my life. In this song I kind of just wanted to say “okay, fine. If you wanna call me a drama queen then I’ll be a drama queen!!”
How big of an impact would you say your hometown Brooklyn has had on your music and character?
I actually grew up all over the US, moving from state to state every year or two. I settled in NYC after dropping out of college to do music and now it feels like I could never live anywhere else.
New York has taught me how to stand up for myself and walk with my head up high, and in such it’s taught me to be more sure in myself, my music, and everything I stand for.
You’ve described yourself as Non-binary before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the same for everyone, does it? What does it mean for and to you?
Gender has always been a confusing experience for me. I started feeling different from the group of girls I was friends with when I was about 12, in a specific way that I couldn’t quite understand back then. But now I think that’s when I really started to feel a disconnect with gender as a whole.
I guess the umbrella term “non-binary” feels mostly comfortable to me now because it means I don’t have to put too detailed of a definition on my identity. I’ve always felt like an “other” in a lot of ways, and the label “non-binary” makes me feel less alone.
Allow us to judge a book by its cover just this once: You like anime and video games, don’t you? What are some of your favorites? What are you hooked on right now?
I do!! I have been watching the Higurashi reboot, since the original is one of my favorite series ever. I’ve also been super into Kingdom Hearts after replaying the series recently. My all-time favorite game is Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak tho. 🙂
One of the more poignant lyrics in the song is “I’m just trynna be happy” What are some of the simple things in life that make you happy?
It took me a long time to realize that for me, happiness almost always comes in the form of small things. I try to pay extra attention to what those small things are now that I know. Some of them are:
The sound of birds outside a window, sun filtering down onto me through trees, hugs, colored pens, getting a text that says “this reminded me of you!”, trying new food, sitting around a fire at night, and making people laugh.
CONNECT WITH ELLIOT LEE
photos / Mike Mazza
story / Samuel Aponte