New year, still searching for our next favorite band or artist. Well, look no further we have an up and coming singer/songwriter that’s on the rise, 20 year-old Liz Bissonette. From a young age, Liz was drawn to music and performing. Over the past few years, she’s built herself a YouTube following with over 2,000 subscribers and in 2015, she released her first song, “Nice to Meet You” to iTunes. Now, with four songs on iTunes, having become a verified Spotify artist, and being recognized by artists like Alessia Cara and Kelsea Ballerini, it is clear this girl has major talent. But, how did she get here? What’s her process? Witty Serendipity got the chance to chat with Liz and get the inside scoop.
WS: Does inspiration for a song come the same way every time? What’s it like when you start developing an idea for a new song?
Liz Bissonette: My writing process changes every time I write, which is great, but also frustrating. Sometimes I get a lyric first, sometimes I get a melody with words that make absolutely no sense at all, but I use them as place markers for the melody. And, sometimes, I just have a concept or a song title. When I get an idea for a new song, I immediately write it down even if it sucks because I don’t want to forget it. I also think to myself, “Have I written about this before?” “Is this true to me?” “Can I elaborate on this?” When I get an idea I also like to rant about it. I’ll open my journal and I’ll write down everything I’m feeling about the situation.
WS: I like how you think about whether or not you’ve written about it before. Depending on what it is, for me as a writer, I tend to gravitate towards similar subjects because they’re what’s on my mind. So, for this song, what came first?
LB: I write about the same situations a lot, but they’re always from different perspectives because I always have so many feelings. For this song, the first line actually came first, which is weird because I don’t think that’s ever happened. The first line of the song was actually taken from a note in my phone of a thought I had.
WS: In regards to the melody, what is the method behind its development?
LB: With a lot of my songs, before this, I’ve gotten the melody while writing the lyrics, which makes it a bit easier. But, lately, I’ve been writing lyrics first, which makes the process hard because I’m not the best at melodies. With this song, it was about 3am and I had only written lyrics because everyone was asleep and I couldn’t play my guitar because it was too loud. So I would hum melodies into my phone and then, when I woke up in the morning, I had to piece them together to actually make a real melody.
WS: How do you come up with melodies? I’ve always been curious about that part of the writing process for songwriters.
LB: It’s weird because for me I’ll be playing with chords and the melody just kind of happens. I guess the best way I can explain it is I want my melodies to feel like the lyrics, that’s how I come up with them.
WS: The subject(s) of your songs, is it usually personal or a general message that you’ve come across? This song for example, personal experience?
LB: If I’ve written about something, I’ve gone through it. That’s how I write. It’s hard for me to write about something that I haven’t gone through because writing is how I cope. For this song, it was personal experience. I had this friendship that I thought was good. When things went sour, I would just accept the apology that was made and move on. But, towards the end of Summer going into Fall, everything just built up more and I couldn’t handle it so I ended up letting the person go. It sucks because I know it hurt them, but at some point you need to admit to yourself that someone is hurting you and you need to protect yourself. Because for me in 2016, I learned a lot about trust and emotional abuse and honesty. And I think the thing that really kills me is that, there’s two sides to every story and you never know which story people are going to believe. I hate that I know someone is saying bad things about me and there’s nothing I can do about it. I just can’t defend myself it feels like. And I know that a lot of times it’s better to stay silent but you also just want to scream, “Hey that’s not true, they’re lying!” For me, writing this song is letting people know my side of what happened because I felt like I deserved a chance to explain.
WS: I think writing from experience and sharing it is probably one of the most vulnerable things a person could do. You’ve been sharing your music for quite some time and I’m sure it was nerve wracking initially. What made you decide to share that part of yourself and do you still get anxious to share new music with the world?
LB: I wrote a lot in high school and that’s when I became serious about writing, but I never shared anything until I was out of high school. I was so scared of what everyone would think and say, I didn’t want to walk through the halls and have everyone stare at me. I regret that a lot now, I wonder where’d I’d be if I had started sooner. But, what made me want to share my songs was the feedback I got after posting one. People tell you that it helped them and that they can relate. To me, that’s everything because that’s what I look to music for. It’s crazy to me that people now look to my music. I still get nervous. I wrote a song called “I Hope This Doesn’t Hurt You” because I was so scared it would hurt the guy it was about.
WS: You just released your new song, “Unlovable” on iTunes and now, you’re sharing “Two Faces” with us. It’s only the first month of the new year! What can we expect for the rest of 2017 from you?
LB:I really wanted to release “Two Faces” as a thank you for “Unlovable.” I was really nervous about this [song], so this is gonna be a huge thank you. Realistically, my goal for this year is to record an EP/album. I’m leaning more towards a full length album since I have so many songs. I’m not exactly sure when it will be out, but it’s something I’m serious about.
Listen to “Two Faces” here and be sure to look out for Liz and her work as the year continues!