James Elizabeth is a powerhouse vocalist who’s here to shake up the music industry. Hailing from the Bay Area, the singer-songwriter went from singing in her father’s band as a kid to collaborating with Bay Area legends Too $hort and E-40, to even opening for Snow Tha Product on her 2019 tour.
Fittingly, it was only right Elizabeth released her newest single “Breakup Body” featuring Snow, following their previous collaboration on “Over Now.” The two artists’ synergy is unmatched, with Elizabeth carving her own lane in pop and Snow adding her relentless bars and flawless spitfire flow.
In describing herself, she states, “I’m an up and coming artist, although it doesn’t feel like a new artist because I’ve been grinding for a while. I write about what I go through. I’ve been through a lot of stuff so I’m a relatable artist. I’m not somebody coming out that hasn’t been through a bunch of things to talk about.”
Elizabeth writes her honest and vulnerable lyrics from a first-person point-of-view, having faced and overcame her own struggles in this thing called life. For one, during her first pregnancy, she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her, hence moving to Los Angeles to pursue her musical dreams full-heartedly. Most recently, she just revealed her second pregnancy to her growing fanbase, showcasing her superpowers as a mother.
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Flaunt caught up with Elizabeth via Instagram Live who was posted in Monterey, splitting her time between there and Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss her sound, her roots in the Bay, friendship with Snow Tha Product, opening with her on tour, new collab “Breakup Body,” working with Jeremih, launching her own CBD oil, announcing her second pregnancy, a Christmas single on the way, and more!
How would you describe your sound?
It’s kind of evolved, but it’s definitely an R&B, pop vibe. I work with a lot of rappers, but it’s definitely a pop vibe for sure.
What was James Elizabeth like growing up in the Bay? Was music always in play? Yeah, I was always super musical. My dad was in a band when I was growing up so he’d pull me up on stage, got me into it really young. There’s a whole vibe in the Bay, you know if you’re from the Bay. We all support each other. You look up to the people there. I always wanted to work with E-40, I got to do that. I got to work with Too Short. The people you grew up listening to, the vibe out there is so different. Culturally, the music business, but also there’s every ethnicity in the Bay. Everybody gets along, it’s definitely a different vibe. I love being from there.
I just had G-Eazy on my show Shirley’s Temple, he mentioned how E-40 and Too Short are “two pioneers of independent hustle.” How’d the independent journey been?
It’s a journey, girl, but there’s a lot of positives to it to be honest. When you’re initially getting into the business, you think you want to have this major deal. Honestly, opening for Snow and going on tour with her, I learned so much.
How did that happen?
We did a song together, our mutual engineer Macc introduced her to me. This was a few years ago, I told him “I really want Snow tha Product on this record, she’s so dope.” He sent her the record and she liked it, we ended up really hitting it off. This was 2017, we were talking about maybe doing another song together. She said, “While I’m on the road, why don’t you just come with me and open for me?”
That’s amazing because her shows are so fucking lit.
Oh my god, so lit! She’s so dope. It’s crazy. Until you go on your first tour, because that was my first tour, you don’t know what tour’s like. It’s something that every artist should have to go through because you either sink or swim. It’s very scary out there. I remember my first show, I didn’t even have in-ears. [laughs] I couldn’t hear anything, it was a disaster. I remember at the end of the show, l went up to Snow and said “That was fucking crazy. That was insane.” But you go back out the next show and by the end of it, you’re seasoned. Her crowd is very supportive, it’s very different. The fans are an extension of the headliner so her fans are very, very nice people.
Did you turn up like they did? Because Snow jumps in the crowd!
Yes, there was a lot of turning up. I remember at one point she made me crowd surf one night. That was crazy, I was tossed across her whole fanbase in the audience. [laughs] “They caught me!”
Fast forward to today, you guys have “Breakup Body” out now. How did that record come about?
I knew I wanted to do another record with her. I just did the one with Jeremih. I was telling her “I wrote this record,” I sent it to her and she said, “Yeah, I’ll jump on this.”
Just like that?
I had sent her one other one to be honest and she said “No, not this one.” [laughs] That was the second one I sent her, she liked it. Her, JuJu, and Cece came out to Vegas, she was doing her podcast out there. We had a girl’s trip out there, then we shot the video. We shot it all over different parts of Vegas, that was fun. She was on her podcast, then we’d go back to shooting. It was a lot of fun.
Best memory from that day?
Honestly, I always have fun with her. She has a very small group of people so I’ve known all of them as long as I’ve known her. Her wife JuJu and Cece, and her brother Ito, it’s the same people always around her. It’s always fun. Especially after doing a tour with them, it feels like hanging out with your friends. You get to finally see them because we’re all separated. Since the pandemic, I haven’t gotten to see them so much. It was fun hanging out, shooting the video, and everything.
What was your reaction when you heard her verse back?
I always love her verses, she’s so fucking dope. She’s a dope rapper and she’s always talking about something important. She backs what she says, she’s not a fake artist.
How did the collab with Jeremih happen?
My boy Shawn, shout out PayAttention. He knows everybody. I was looking for a while, I knew I wanted to do a record with J. He introduced me to our mutual friend Sayyid. We went back and forth, then the song happened. That was really fun because I’ve always wanted to really work with him. The collab was fun because you get to borrow off other talents, see how they work and how they write, which is always good to learn some new tips from artists who have done a lot more.
What did you learn from working with him?
Honestly, his hook game is so tight. He’s really good at melody lines and hooks. He’d have a whole bunch of really talented people over at his house, just writing over there. People would go and take turns laying stuff down. That’s always fun when you’re around creative people, you can take turns coming up with something.
What can we expect next music-wise?
I have a few things coming out, we’re trying to plan out the rest of the year. I’m going to be releasing a Christmas song too. I’ve never done a Christmas record. I have two possible Christmas records coming out, one with my daughter.
How old is she now?
She’s eight and she sings her ass off. She’s so much better than I was at her age. I’m like who are you? [laughs] We’re definitely doing that one, then there’s another Christmas song I did the other day that we’re maybe having a feature. Honestly I’m getting a body of work together through the rest of the year to drop when we hit the top of the year. Before tour starts next year, I definitely want to have out a body of work so people can get to know me a little bit more before we go out on the road.
You’re going on tour again?
Yeah. I can’t say the 2 artists that have invited me to go because they’re headliners and they haven’t announced everything yet, but 2 different artists asked me to go on with them. Hopefully, the pandemic allows it.
How was the pandemic for you? It’s not as bad when you get to spend time with your family right?
Yeah, it was weird. I became a teacher. My daughter’s coming in with her math, I’m like “okay…” [laughs] We’re finally getting to a place where we can leave the house a little more, but it was rough. I’m grateful I had my family though because it’d probably be a lot harder being alone in the house by yourself.
How does it feel to be a mom and balancing a music career?
Honestly, I really didn’t know any different. I’m in a relationship now, and that’s different for me because I have my daughter and did the whole thing by myself as a single mom. That to me was the norm and quite honestly, a lot of people hear ‘single parent’ all the time like it’s not such a big deal. It’s hard, but it trains you to be able to withstand more. I’m a pretty strong person. I can get through a lot of stuff because I didn’t have the choice to not be that for me and my daughter. It’s really just about finding the balance of making sure you have that time for your family. She understands this is what I do for a living, this is my job. She thinks it’s really cool that I’m a singer. She’s really into singing. All single parents can relate to struggling with that balance sometimes.
Talk about your own CBD oil too.
I’ve been working on a CBD oil for a while, a couple years now with my friends over at KUSH BOYS. It’s called Blonde Berrie, I’ll have to get you some. It’s good, it tastes better than most CBD oils. Hope to have it out by the end of the year.
3 things you need in the studio at all times?
I’m old school, I still write my stuff out. I don’t write in my phone so I need my pen and paper. Definitely the vibe has to be there, I keep my same team. My same vocal producer would be there and my sound engineer. I really feel like if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. This is a shady business so when you find good people, you keep them near you.
What is it your fans love about James Elizabeth?
My authenticity. Quite honestly, I don’t try to fake it and make it look like everything is perfect or I don’t have problems too. A lot of these people on tour, it’s the first time they’ve met me because I’m such a new artist. No one really knew who I was when I performed so it was lucky they gave me a chance. What I hear from a lot of them is they can relate to a lot of the things I’ve gone through, from when I was pregnant with my daughter getting cheated on.
I saw that, I’m so sorry.
It was really hard, but luckily for me I have very strong family support. My parents, my family, my friends all really rallied for me because you really don’t have the choice to fall apart. You’re pregnant, you have to figure it all out. So I talk about that. I’ve been in an abusive relationship before. I really write about my life experiences because a lot of people go through things. When you hear somebody else has gone through it, it makes it easier to deal with it even if you’re going through a really rough time.
Mental health is really big for me. What do you do for self-care?
Honestly, I have to unplug sometimes. My manager tells me all the time “You don’t post enough. You don’t let people in enough.” Yesterday, I literally just posted that I’m pregnant.
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Wait, again? Congratulations!
I’m really lucky this time. This time I have the best partner in the world with me, so supportive. I’m a handful, I’m the crazy one in the relationship and he’s very normal. [laughs] I swear to you, he’s like “What’s happening right now?” I have to have that. If I could do it by myself completely alone with my daughter without having the supportive partner… I mean, we’ve talked about even me going back out on tour.
Wait, you’re going on tour pregnant?
No, I’m due anytime. This baby’s coming.
You kept it under wraps this whole time?
Yeah, I hid it. It was so funny, as I was shooting the video for “Breakup Body,” I wrote this song about going through a breakup and having this amazing breakup body. I was having this big ole belly. [laughs] If you look at some of the shots in the video, I’m turned around and you can’t see. We did what we had to do. It’s a little boy so it’s my first time being a boy mom, we’ll see how this goes.
What’re you most excited for next?
What’s up next is getting my music together. It’s really important to me that I drop more. I’m really such a private person. When I announced I was pregnant, it was anxiety central to me to share. It’s part of the business these days to get people to understand who you are and why they should give you a chance, why they should give your music a chance. There’s so many people out there so at this point, I’m slowly starting to let people in more. Snow’s done a really good job of doing that. She’s so good at letting people in the right amount, she still has her private life.
Snow has her own ranch!
[laughs] It’s so nice too. It’s beautiful.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
I’m definitely going to have some type of body of work come out top of the year. I have a couple more releases before the end of this year, and that CBD oil will be out before Christmas for sure.