Eliz Rose 21280 x 720
CREDIT: Richard Freeman

“I love the Burberry,” a petite and angelic Elizabeth Maniscalco (of stage name Elizabeth Rose) says on set. “I’d wear this if I was getting married. I feel like a bride, like a princess almost.” The thing is, every designer sample today would suit the diminutive musician, her big brown eyes (even) wider as she strokes the sleeves and skirts on the garment rack; Zimmerman, Michael Lo Sordo, Tome. But in the same way she sources her own vivid stage costumes (just like her inspiration FKA Twigs), Maniscalco suggests a shoe change. “I usually wear flats so could we do this Burberry thing with Wittner?” Embellish with some Maje leather and we’re away.

And wrapped in just 44 frames.

As good as she is in front of the lens, Maniscalco is exactly this to the music industry. Jimmy Douglass is an American four-time Grammy winning recording engineer and producer who’s worked with The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC. In the 1990s he began collaborating with RnB/hop-hop producer Timberland who made Douglass his main sound engineer for projects with Kanye West, Aaliyah, John Legend, Bjork, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and John Legend. He now is mixing Australia’s Elizabeth Rose’s debut album, Intra.

“My manager reached out to him and he liked what he heard,” explains Maniscalco. “He does special projects every now and then for independent artists and I guess it was my turn. He’s just so lovely. 

“He emailed me the other day with the line, ‘Have you been nominated for a Grammy yet?’ He really believes in my music and it’s amazing to hear that from someone like that.”

Growing up in Sydney’s Inner West, Maniscalco would watch her older brother, a producer, make music, something she says made her gravitate towards the piano. Like most musicians though, she grew tired of the classical style, finding it “boring” and instead decided to start writing music on her own. Seven singles and two EPS (including her self-titled offering which saw her shoot to #1 on the iTunes Electronic Charts in Australia), we’ve arrived at Intra, a richly layered sound set against her lofty vocals. The Bjork-inspired musician who is touring the album in June not only played piano on over half the tracks on the album but also had Metropolis London’s John Davis master Intra, one who has worked with Maniscalco and GRAZIA favourites FKA Twigs, Lana Del Rey and Bat For Lashes. The subject matter is, however, even more layered than your run-of-the-mill artist. “I’ve been holding onto these songs for a year and a half and so I’m just really dying to get them out because I wrote them in a time where I was trying to work out what beliefs I have and what I want to talk about and make statements on,” explains Maniscalco. “I was also in a serious relationship when I wrote this album so it’s a time capsule and I really just want to get it out and move on to the next one and keep moving forward.”

Just like fellow musician Wafia and Australian band The Preatures, we are seeing a little sub-breed of musician, one who balances their love and heartbreak lyrics with world issues. They have more to sing about then just complicated relationships. For Maniscalco, this includes anxiety with social media, gun violence and marriage equality,

“I think we’re getting closer to a law being passed,” says the 26-year-old. “I’m coming to learn that Australia is still very backward in a lot of ways. Take Australia Day for instance, it’s an event of racism and discrimination. I hope a marriage equality bill gets passed soon. Since the changing of the government, I think we have a better shot.” Maniscalco produced “Division” to reflect this very sentiment and as a call to action for Malcolm Turnbull to legalise and validate gay marriage.

While lead single Shoulda Woulda Coulda is the one you’ve heard gaining airplay, the album’s closer Steel Hearts is a must-listen; an ethereal synth ballard and one that showcases Maniscalco’s incredible vocals. But its perhaps the 90s’esque slinky electro pop Playing With Fire featuring Melbourne rapper Remi that sells you in. And if one listen doesn’t, see the interactive film clip produced by Google.

It’s a long way from her days of lending her voice to Flight Facilities (in 2013’s I Didn’t Believe). Get used to the Burberry, Elizabeth. Douglass will want you to wear it to the Grammys.

Intra is out now on Midnight Feature/Inertia. Catch Elizabeth Rose on tour in June 2016. For ticketing information, go to elizabethrose.com.au

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CREDITS 
Photographer: Richard Freeman 
Styling: Charlotte Stokes
Hair: Kieren Street 
Makeup: Elsa Morgan

thoughts?