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Canadian Country Music Prodigy Elyse Saunders Says EP “Free” Opens A New Chapter In Her Career (Exclusive)

“Music has changed my life and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without it,” Saunders said

Photo credit: Liz Rosa Photography

Canadian country singer Elyse Saunders has worked hard to get from Toronto to Nashville!

Since starting her musical career, Saunders has been gaining widespread attention from fans and producers like Dan Swinimer, and Paul Shatto thanks to her powerful vocals, electric live performances and strong work ethic.  

This year, Saunders kept busy with the release of her new EP Free back in October, along with a music video for her track “Sunshine State of Mind.” Celeb Secrets Country had the opportunity to chat with the artist and hear all about the EP and music video as well as her upcoming projects.

Saunders shared that “Free” marks a new point in her career both work and achievement wise, and she is grateful for it all.

“The entire project’s creation process was pretty special and fun for me. I’m at this new point in my career with a fresh new sound that is really showcasing where I am right now… the whole process of creating this project has been pretty incredible,” Saunders shares.

We sat down with Elyse (virtually) to talk all about Free, the “Sunshine State of Mind” music video, and what’s to come in her new music and her career.

Check out the full Q&A below and don’t forget to let us know what you think of Free and “Sunshine State of Mind,” by leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @cs_country.

You can also connect with Elyse by giving her a follow on Instagram at @elyse_saunders_music.

Celeb Secrets Country: Hi Elyse, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us more about your backstory and what made you want to pursue music professionally?

Elyse Sauders: “Music has always been a part of me since I remember. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be in the arts and a performer. My first moments on stage were through dance recitals as a kid when I did jazz, tap and hip-hop classes. I also started writing songs at a young age and they were an outlet and a pastime for me. Around 16 years old, I started in singing competitions to get used to sharing my voice and then shortly after that, I found my very first mentor/producer. I was lucky to have paired up with some amazing people at such a young age. It felt like I was sprung into a career in music and realized it was something I could do as a career. We headed off to Nashville and recorded my very first CD, which was an incredible experience and really showed me the level of where I wanted to go in my career. At that point, I was still pretty green to the scene and spent several years honing my craft and learning about the business and have had so many cool experiences. I’ve only now been able to get to a super exciting and strong place in my career and feel very confident about that. I’ve put the work in and I’m so pumped for this next phase. I want to touch as many people as I can with my music!”

CSC: What’s your favorite musical memory?

ES: I’m not sure if I have one favorite musical memory. I’ve had so many incredible moments in my career – like writing a song that I fall in love with, connecting with fans through live music, travelling to new places, recording in the studio with incredible people… I could go on! A moment that I look back on as a reminder of how far I’ve come is when I had my first big break in my hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. I was opening for a crowd of over 10,000 people and at that point I was still a teen and new to the scene. I remember being so nervous as it was something I never had felt or experienced before. I told myself at that time if I could do it and people enjoyed what I did on the stage that day that I could do this. It was that moment that changed my entire career and why I’m here now.”

CSC: You recently released your EP “Free” — can you tell us about the creative process behind the EP and share what it was like watching it go to #2 on the iTunes Country Music Album Charts?

ES: It was incredible!!! I was watching the numbers that day and had this projection of reaching #2 in my mind. I thought, ‘I wonder how many people have been buying the EP? Wouldn’t it be so cool if I could make #2 on the iTunes charts?’ I put it out there, hoped for it without any real expectation, and when I saw it happen, I was dancing around my place. These moments are real and it really helps me to connect with the thought of how many people are listening to my music and that is pretty special. If I’m doing something that people are resonating with, then I’ve done my job as a singer/songwriter.”

Photo credit: Liz Rosa Photography

CSC: Do you have a favorite memory or song from the project?

ES: The entire project’s creation process was pretty special and fun for me. I’m at this new point in my career with a fresh new sound that is really showcasing where I am right now. Before we started recording the EP, I was writing, creating demos and applying for funding support. There’s lots of full circle moments with this EP as a year before, I made a trip to Vancouver from Toronto through Canada’s VIA Rail performance program. My guitar player and I played for the passengers on the train and had a blast. It was such a beautiful way to travel and then at the end of that, we spent time performing and connecting with people in Vancouver. Follow up to that, I was in BC the summer after that performing at a country music festival and received the news that I was accepted for FACTOR Canada funding and then Creative BC funding shortly after that. And then I ended up recording the EP with multiple producers based in the Vancouver area. It’s interesting how these moments can happen and it seems like they’re meant to be. The whole process of creating this project has been pretty incredible. I’ve been able to work with amazing producers and musicians, and I’ve accomplished huge milestones for the first time because of this project. I’m grateful for it all!”

CSC: You also released a music video for your song “Sunshine State of Mind.” What was the inspiration and creative process for the video?

ES: Yes we did! The message of the song is about having a positive mindset and the realization that you don’t have to go anywhere to find paradise. It can be right where you are right now. If you’re with the right person, it will always feel like paradise. Since we’ve all been staying connected through screens over this past bit, I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into the video. I’m located in this dreamy neon room which is my emotion as the performer and I’m telling the story of a couple who are spending the day at the beach together with no one else but themselves and having an amazing time. And the way that our worlds connect is through screens. It was such a fun video to make!”

CSC: Do you have a favorite memory from filming?

ES: The neon room we filmed in was so cool. My videographer team and I were like kids in a candy shop. It was just such a fun space to be in. We also filmed the other portion at a beach which is usually overpopulated with people but the day that we filmed there was nobody there. It’s a beautiful beach with all of these sandbanks so it felt like we were on an island – somewhere tropical. We had lots of laughs and it’s always a good hang. When everyone on set feels like it’s a hang, the product always comes out with an authentic feel and I love that.” 

Photo credit: Liz Rosa Photography

CSC: How have you seen yourself grow both music wise and artist wise since your first release to now?

ES: Oh my goodness – in so many ways. Music has changed my life and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without it. As a person in this industry, I’ve learned so much about myself, my emotional strengths and weaknesses, and it constantly pushes me out of comfort box. One of the biggest things I’ve learned through it all is to have self love and have the confidence in being me without looking for that outside validation. As an artist, I’ve grown tremendously as a songwriter, entertainer, brand and singer. I’ve really come into my own and own what I’ve got!” 

CSC: Do you have any future projects that you could hint at or tell us about?

ES: I’m already planning another trip to the studio to record more music. I’ve been writing a ton and want to get more music in the pipeline so I can keep the momentum going and so I can keep giving fans music. I also just recorded a new music video for my song ‘Genes’ off the brand new EP and can’t wait to release it in the early new year along with a radio campaign. Hint: this video includes some fun dance scenes that I’m a part of.”

CSC: Since we’re Celeb Secrets, do you have any secrets or fun facts that you’d like to share from making the EP that our readers wouldn’t know?

ES: Hmm… good question. Well, I will let readers in on what my routine is before going into the studio to record vocals. I normally spend months working out some vocal tricks with my vocal coach to make sure it’s at the right place for the studio so that I can bring my best. On the day of, I like to meditate, warm up my vocals, have tea with honey and then once I step up to the mic, I imagine being in the place in my mind that the song is sharing and then I’m ready! Thanks so much for the chat!!”


Written by Gracie Lowes

Gracie is an intern at Celeb Secrets who attends St Clair College. When she’s not reporting on the latest news, she enjoys watching tv shows and movies, reading, going to concerts and traveling.

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