INTERVIEW: Elisha Marin

Hi Elisha, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Good! Thanks. Thank you for having me.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shining Out”?

Shining Out, the title track of my debut album, was produced by Matt Patrick at the Library Studio in Minneapolis. It’s a real triumph of collaboration, featuring over 100 voices, many of them my students and various friends singing along on the chorus. It’s a song that’s really close to my heart.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes. The catalyst for this song was the 2015 Charleston Church Shooting, which resonated with me, as I was raised in the church and couldn’t imagine something so terrifying happening in a place of sanctuary. Shining Out is a song of hope, though, and optimism for change.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Great question. The video was filmed on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, which served as a great symbolic element and was also very practical for filming a video in complete darkness in the gymnasium of a historic YWCA. The video was filmed in slow motion as a full take, meaning it had to be performed at 150% speed. All of the lyrics were physically projected onto the wall behind me, so it has a dreamy, ethereal feel. 

The single comes off your new album – what’s the story behind the title?

Shining Out is a hopeful song, and the song I felt best represents the tone and feel of the record. The world has felt dark in many ways recently, so I think it’s time for us to shine out in our love, life, and work. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Interesting! My Girl is a decade old, written just out of high school. I still love it, and I’m glad it speaks to so many people. Storytelling plays a big role in my music. A lot of these songs are based on stories in some way, many of them personal. I love being able to tell those tales through poetry and lyricism, sometimes dancing around the subject and other times being surprisingly literal. The recording process was a huge learning experience. The process depends on a great amount of trust between you and the producer, and quite often involves putting your ego aside, letting another person take your work to the next level. It’s challenging and exhilarating, but deeply gratifying. I feel like a better collaborator after finishing this project.

What role does Minneapolis play in your music?

Minneapolis is very close to my heart. It’s a grounding place for me in a lot of ways because of the people, the culture, and the art. Some of my sacred places are in that city, so it was the perfect place to record this album. 

What led you to write an entire album based on such a tragic event as the Charleston Church Shooting?

The title track was sparked by the Charleston Church Shooting, but the rest of the album has songs about romance, existence, art and resilience. Even the United States Postal Service has its own tune in there. It’s meant to invite you, the listener, along with me on an emotional expedition. The journey begins in Charleston, but doesn’t end there.

Did you ever get any second thoughts?

I went through a lot of personal development during this project. I don’t know when I would have even started the process, were it not for a gentle “push” by some of my closest friends. I’m a self-taught musician and artist, so a lot of the process involved confidence-building. I’m very grateful to Matt, Aaron, Zach, and everyone else who helped bring this music to life. 

What was the approach you went after with this album?

I actually brought my visual art portfolio in the studio with me when we began pre-production, as a reference for my “style”. My visual art often references historical fonts, traditions or colors. I wanted my music to feel like it was rooted in tradition, but with some modern elements as well. I feel the end result can’t easily be placed in a specific time period, and I like that. 

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

A lot of art is biographical in some way, and this album is no exception. I’m very grateful to have an exciting and unique lifestyle. I enjoy being able to use literal events in a metaphorical and poetic way. Some of the songs are based on relationships, whether real (USPS), failed (My Love Regardless), or imagined (Stone Heart of Mine). I also draw inspiration from art. Love is a Luxury, for example, is written in reference to Magritte’s famous painting, The Treachery of Images. The closing song, Tenement Stacks, borrows some imagery from my travels, and touches on the circular nature of life and existence. 

What else is happening next in Elisha Marin’s world?

This album release! Shining Out will be available for download, purchase, and streaming on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music and elsewhere on June 18th, 2021. If you’re interested in having a physical copy, CDs are also available, which feature album artwork and liner notes designed by yours truly. Information on all of this can be found at Make sure to follow me on social media for new releases and updates. Thanks so much for having me!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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