There are few things in life as sweet as a homecoming. Returning where we’re wanted and where we’re comfortable is a deep human desire, and it’s one that has, for centuries, compelled poets and musicians to write. Eliza May isn’t the first artist to celebrate the sense of belonging that only a real homecoming offers. But we don’t think we’ve heard a record that makes homecoming feels quite as palpable, inspirational, and glorious as “I’m Coming Home,” the first single off the Emotions EP that’ll drop in 2021, in a very long time. The DJ, EDM producer, and classically trained pianist make it all feel present and relevant: the struggle, the estrangement, and the feeling of warmth and safety that only home offers.
How does she do it? In part, she achieves the effects through musical skills she’s cultivated over years of hard work. Eliza May is the rare DJ who is just as expressive when she’s got an acoustic instrument under her fingers. She knows how to use electronic beats to enhance the intimacy of her storytelling, and she knows when to ease off the synthetic elements and let her compositions breathe. “I’m Coming Home” is a dance track, but it’s an unusual one – her beat is subtly innovative and her textures are enveloping, and the vocalist on the track gives a performance that is nuanced and inviting.
But homecoming is also a preoccupation for Eliza May because of her personal story. She’s truly an international artist – one who has made her name in Los Angeles and who has entertained audiences on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. But her roots are in Russia, and the spirit of continental European electronic music animates everything she does. Eliza has made her home in the States, but she’s never forgotten where she’s come from, and her music testifies to the breadth of her experience. She cites Alan Walker as an influence, saying she wants to create more than danceable, booty-shaking club tracks: “I want my music to be full of emotions, feelings, and meaning. It’s so amazing when people listen to your music and can relate to it. I want my songs to inspire people, help them along their own journeys.”
Laurent Cohen’s crisply shot clip for “I’m Coming Home” showcases Eliza May at her most magnetic. But as energetic as it is, it’s also a meditation on the idea of home and the long and arduous journeys we must sometimes take to get there – and a reminder that we can overcome the struggles, obstacles, and challenges of life to find ourselves, our peace, and happiness. Eliza May says about the song and video, “It reflects my journey of self-discovery and growth. I hope it can help others through their own journeys as it helped me through mine. During quarantine I’ve been focusing on self-development a lot so the track reflects my own journey from being lost, not knowing what to do and where to go to finding my way and understanding this world and what I am in it.” Cohen’s camera finds the star in an abandoned house – one festooned with graffiti – in the middle of the Mojave Desert on a scorching hot day. To reach her destination, she must travel, barefoot, along a barren and dusty road. Yet it’s that very struggle that makes her arrival at her destination so sweet and invigorating.