On her debut EP, I Am Enough, British newcomer Eloise Viola is here to make a positive difference.

With critical support coming from the likes of Clash Magazine and EUPHORIA, Eloise’s music tells empowering tales of self-love and is finding a fanbase thanks to her unpicking of socially constructed messages – one unshackling lyric at a time.

We talk to Eloise about why body positivity is such an important message for her to spread, and the difference between male and female artists when it comes to their image.

What’s in your Recently Played list on Spotify?

A little bit of a random mix of Dermot Kennedy’s new album, RAYE, Greta Van Fleet and Elderbrook. 

What are your favourite sounds to incorporate into your music? 

I love that my more dance-y pop tracks have an element of darkness, so we’ve maybe added a heavy synth somewhere that takes the listener by surprise. I think my biggest strength is probably my voice. I have worked hard to try to create different textures and ‘personas’ almost, so it is playing around with what sounds my voice can make that I get most excited about adding my songs. 

What emotions do you hope your music conveys to the listener?

Mostly I hope to inspire confidence for people to back themselves and not be afraid to say what they want! With the work on the EP, I am trying to tell a story of my journey with self-love, and I really hope my music makes people (especially women) feel powerful, and listen dancing along on the way to an interview or date to feel amazing about themselves!

Do you have a favourite lyric from your I AM ENOUGH EP?

It took me ages to come up with the EP name, I wanted it to be named something that is inspiring to me but also not cringey! Then I decided that I didn’t care if it was a bit cringe, and that backing yourself and your message is exactly the point of my music. So my favourite line is ‘I Am Enough’ because I think it is a phrase, almost like a mantra, that I hope really resonates with people, as it does with me. I think that it demonstrates strength through a journey coming from a point learning from vulnerability which completely embodies the theme of my songs. 

The artwork for your I AM ENOUGH EP is shattered – why is this?

I do believe that over the last few years there have been some great movements in popular culture towards a more self-loving society. I think we are now much more aware of the pressure that social media has on mental health, causing us to compare ourselves and try to look and present yourself a certain way. I personally really struggled with my body image, particularly in my university years, and I wanted the EP to mark my journey towards self-confidence and love, and to help influence others to move away from putting so much importance on, and hating, their bodies. The broken mirror artwork is saying, ‘I don’t need a mirror, I am enough.’

You were recently announced as a brand ambassador for We Are We Wear – why is body positivity important to you?

I studied Psychology at university and have always been interested in mental health and the power of the mind. In the past I have really struggled with control over my eating and obsessive calorie counting etc. which I think that a lot of people (particularly young women) struggle with. I was extremely lucky to be able to overcome this, although I still work on it everyday, and I hope that my understanding of this topic and my own journey can help others be kinder to themselves and actively love their bodies exactly how they are. 

Have you noticed any double standards when it comes to gender in the music industry?

I haven’t really felt any pressure from anyone in particular to dress or look a certain way. However, I always feel pressure about the importance of my image and how this reflects on my music and my ‘brand’. I do feel that how women dress and look is so central to who they are as an artist, and whether industry or fans alike want to buy into them, whereas I have really noticed that men can just wear a t-shirt and jeans on stage or in their promo photos and no one bats an eyelid. It just doesn’t seem that the image of male artists are so central to their brand and path to success as it is for women.  

How do you feel about the representation and portrayal of female musicians? Is there anything that you’d like to change? 

I really enjoy dressing up in a certain way and absolutely love makeup, but I do sometimes wish that my image wasn’t so central to my success and ‘who I am’ as an artist. Social media is incredible for reaching people who you would have never have had the opportunity to, and for connecting with people and creating social trends. But, I would love to have been an artist in a time where I could spend more time performing live or writing in the studio than focusing on my social media! 

As a woman, is there anything about the music industry that frustrates you?

I am trying to work with as many women, LGBT+ and people of colour across the board as possible, such as producers, stylists, photographers, videographers, graphic designers etc… But when you’re working your way up yourself, it’s really hard to be picky and you end up having to go with whoever you feel best understands your vision or usually whoever is most affordable! I would love to work with a wider range of people as I (hopefully!) progress and am given more choices myself.

What challenges do you think female musicians are facing today?

It is difficult because I definitely don’t want to see other women as competition, and I think it’s really important we support each other and know that we can all succeed, but I know that for me it feels like competition is the biggest challenge. There are so many people trying to ‘make it’ as musicians and artists, it is very difficult to break through and streaming services such as Spotify have lowered the barrier and made it so much easier for anyone to upload their music. However, I also think this is an incredible thing; there is so much talent and therefore so much different music. 

Are there any up and coming female musicians you have your eye on?

I absolutely love this new artist called Gracey. She’s an incredible songwriter, cracking voice and the production on her songs is just very cool. Looking forward to more work from her. 

What advice would you give to young girls and women looking to work in music?

I am 24 and for years I felt as though I wish that I had started my career earlier and that I am too ‘old’. But I now think that’s bollocks, and I am really glad I am a bit older because I think I am really resilient now, which has really helped me stay positive in the face of so many no’s and very few yes’, sorry if that’s a cliché but it is very true and seems even more true now so many people are trying to make it as a musician/artist. So my advice would be; be very clear about what message you want to convey with your music, be patient, resilient and be kind to everyone! 

What’s left to come in 2019?

I am really excited about my brand partnership with the fashion brand We Are We Wear, an incredible brand made by women for women, who have sizes from XS-XXL, no retouching and have a line developed from all recycled material. I am also planning to release new music, which I am extremely excited about as I feel the new music is even sassier and resonates with my message of self-love even more than the EP. 

Eloise Viola on Spotify

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