Eliza McLamb

Singer-songwriter Eliza McLamb is coming of age right in front of us. When the beginning of the pandemic interrupted McLamb’s studies at George Washington University, she eschewed the pre-law path she’d planned for herself and headed west. She started sharing original songs on TikTok while working on farms in North Carolina and Kansas, and was shocked to see her videos find a devoted audience. “I'd been writing songs since I was six years old. It just never really occurred to me that there would be anyone interested,” says McLamb.

Soon, her intimate songs about relationships, body image, and the complexities of life as a young woman started racking up millions of views apiece. Her earliest tracks were deeply personal, made from nothing but her voice and a guitar and recorded in the laundry shed where she lived at the time. Nevertheless, they contained something that resonated — an intimacy borne from her ability to speak to the universal while also speaking only for herself.

Her upcoming EP, Salt Circle, is the culmination of a period spent focused on self-reflection. McLamb departs from stripped-back guitar and DIY production and ventures towards a lush sonic landscape, with the help of producer Sarah Tudzin aka illuminati hotties. On the single “Doing Fine,” McLamb is clearer-eyed than ever before, both sharp and soft in equal measure; and in chaotic times for all of us, her reflections on the confusion of everyday life feel prescient and necessary.

“The EP encapsulates this idea of processing the world and your life and trying to make some meaning out of it,” McLamb explains. “The arc of the EP starts with songs about me feeling very disillusioned with what my life is ending up to be — not so much in the material circumstances but in the ways that my consciousness is dealing with it.

“It’s this negotiation of, like, how can I hold on to the things that I love in a world where everything is changing? How can I be happy with my circumstances when I have this war going on inside of me? And how can I learn to accept myself as a person who is deeply feeling and deeply sensitive? The whole thing is basically me deciding if I want to really live life the way that I know I’m meant to, which is a deeply feeling person... And if I want to be a part of that, or if I want to check out of that.”

The subtle power of McLamb’s music is her ability to make every listener feel personally and intimately spoken to. To her audience, her music is a whispered revelation; it often feels reciprocal, like a secret shared between friends. It’s an energy that’s also fostered in her writing, her warm social media presence, and her podcast, Binchtopia, where her wry cultural commentary has drawn a legion of fans.

It’s perhaps more accurate, though, to describe experiencing McLamb’s music as peering into an interior world — reading the diary, pulling back the curtain, catching a glimpse of the deeply personal machinations of someone else’s life. McLamb’s music at times offers such an authentic interrogation of her own experiences that it can feel like something we were never meant to see. It’s all the more impressive, then, that there’s something so universal nestled inside her echoing verses and yearning vocals.

“It’s always an internal process,” McLamb says. “But when I write a song that’s principally just for me, that I wrote to figure out some emotion or to express some story or something like that, and then I put it out into the world, there have always been people who resonate so deeply with it. They look at that piece of art that I made for me and say, ‘Oh, this feels like it's for me.’ And that in so many ways reinforces my spirituality, honestly — my inherent belief that we are all part of one collective energy source, and that we all experience very similar things and have solidarity in our emotions and our sensitivity.”

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Mon 4.15
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