Sometimes it’s a haunting melody or playful lyric that hooks a person when they hear a song. Elise Hayes draws you in from the first note she sings. With a voice described as “powerfully sweet” and “blissful”, Elise affectively blends thoughtful and expressive songwriting with soulful and heartfelt vocals.
Elise relocated to the sweet, southern city of Nashville from Boston in 2011. “Nashville has been such an amazing experience for me. I am constantly in awe of the amazing community in this town. It’s the most talent I have ever seen,” she says, “I feel so lucky to be a part of it.”
Originally from a small town in New Hampshire, Elise grew up surrounded by folk music. “My parents were big fans of the 1960′s generation of singer/songwriters. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King will forever be the soundtrack of my childhood,” she says, “I am so thankful for that – the standard for writing great songs was set for me from the time that I was very young.”
Elise was 12 when she discovered soul music in a used CD store in her hometown. “I knew that every time I had heard the Jackson 5, something inside of me felt alive. I went to that shop in search of more of that feeling.” She found it in the music of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. “I was hooked on that stuff for several years. I still am. It holds such a special place in my heart. I discovered the singer that I would aspire to become through those melodies and voices.”
Combining genres has been a defining factor for Elise. “I’m really excited to see how Nashville is changing and expanding stylistically. It inspires me to keep my writing on point, and try to say things differently than people are used to hearing. I want people to feel that spark when they hear my music – the same way I did when I was younger and still do today. Music is such a universal, beautiful thing. I just want to give back a little bit of the inspiration and passion that I’ve gotten from it.”
In the past few years, Elise has certainly made her mark, writing music for film and TV shows such as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," BET's "Being Mary Jane," and The CW's "Beauty and the Beast." Of these placements, she says, "Film & TV is an opportunity that presented itself to me and for that I am so grateful. It's a really effective way to get your music out into the world. People feel so emotionally connected to the songs tied to their favorite shows and characters. I'm just happy I've gotten to reach new listeners in this way."
Elise is currently working on a new record in Nashville, TN