A Study in Songwriting – Pt 5: Eliette Roslin

Written by Eliette Roslin on

Our series of songwriting hints continues with Eliette Roslin, who has taken time out from her amazingly busy life to share the very personal story of her song “Believe”.


eliette

Eliette sang before she could speak and music has always played an important role in her life. She sang along with her mum’s Rogers and Hammerstein collection and so started her musical path with the Australian Girls Choir and Simply Music Piano at 5 years of age.

She began writing music from the age of 9 and at 17 was placed in the top 50 of the Play It Strange songwriting competition in New Zealand with her song “Believe”.

At 15, Neil Moore mentored Eliette as she began teaching Simply Music Piano, being the first teacher for New Zealand and one of the youngest to ever do so in the world.

After high school she moved to Amsterdam to study under Karin Bloemen and later to Sydney to attend the Australian Institute of Music. In 2015 she graduated with her Bachelors of Contemporary Performance, majoring in Vocals, and released her first EP “Black Kisses”.

In 2016, Eliette then 22, returned to Auckland, New Zealand to open her own music school, catering for all ages from babies to the elderly. In 2 years, with the help of 6 young and dedicated teachers, her school has grown to 300 pupils. The school teaches Simply Music Piano, Music Rhapsody, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Drums, Voice, Songwriting and Performance.

With great excitement this year Eliette also launched the New Zealand Girls Choir. Its aim is to encourage young girls to be confident and unique, and to find joy in music and dance.

Eliette believes music is an extremely powerful tool and encourages all her students to be creative, song write and channel their energy into music.

Believe – Eliette Roslin

 

There is no right or wrong way to start a song. Sometimes I might be driving home, mulling over ideas or conversations, memories, thoughts and frustrations and I find myself needing to pull over then and there to write my ideas onto my phone.

More times than others it’s late at night and I find myself in a dark room, hands placed near to the piano keys, spilling my guts into moody minor 9th chords improvising melodic and lyrical ideas until something sticks – in this case, always have a recording device running.

My biggest go-to always though, is writing what I feel, know and understand. I believe that if you as the writer cannot connect to the song, then how is an audience meant to?

I have two mind frames when it comes to lyrics. I appreciate a complex lyric, with fancy words and long stories, but then I am also an absolute lover of simplicity. A catchy tune that’s simple and beautiful never gets old. Don’t over-think your lyrics. If they work – then let them be. If they get across the message that you want to be received then your job is done!

When I sat down to write “Believe” I was emotionally working through an episode of Guillain-Barre Syndrome which left me paralysed, fighting for my life. The doctors said I would spend two years in a wheelchair. My spirit went into survival mode and I worked until I was walking once more. It took me three months and I left my doctors, nurses, family and friends, flabbergasted! After the adrenalin wore off it took me around six months to come to terms with what had happened, and I finally found myself in a place where I was ready and able to release. I was away at a songwriting workshop for a week and found myself in a small room by myself most days. This is where “Believe” came to life.

It’s not always easy to write what you know and so I thought I’d start from the beginning. I placed my hands on the keys and sang whatever came to mind.

“I feel cold, I feel numb, I feel nothing”. Well, I couldn’t put it more plainly.

When I start to write I often do both side by side – play and sing, that is. I sometimes am in a mood and naturally find myself in a minor or major key, sometimes I decide beforehand. For “Believe” I knew that the verses would be the story and the step by step progression to recovery. They would be dark because it was a scary period. I often gravitate to a flat minor key when writing a sad story so I started at Abm, progressing to Gbmaj7 then Ebsus to Eb. I love that movement between a suspended and major chord. This progression also descended in root positions which I found fitting.

For the chorus the whole message is that you can do anything you put your mind to, and with the belief from yourself and the help of others, you cannot fail. With a positive mind comes endless possibilities. So I chose an ascending progression which has the momentum of moving forward, and I liked that to match the words. I moved from Db to Eb to Gbmaj7.

I remember feeling absolutely emotionally drained after I finished writing “Believe”, and it almost came out in one whole piece. I feel the best ones always do. The truest ones. You cannot force something out, it will come when it’s ready.

So I will leave you with this: be raw, be true, be honest and be brutally passionate. Don’t hide, let the world see and hear the magic within you.

 

Believe Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I feel cold, I feel numb
I feel nothing
I hear voices all the time,
and I feel you by my side
I see you standing there
Tears are running

[Chorus]
As you stand near
As you stand near
I breathe a whisper
I breathe a voice
I believe in angels
I believe

[Verse 2]
Love the way that you kiss
You kiss my hand
Your skin on mine, so gentle
You visit all the time
Oh how lucky

[Chorus]
As you stand near
As you stand near
I breathe a whisper
I breathe a voice
I believe in angels
I believe

[Verse 3]
I could have easily gone crazy
You kept me sane
I know I didn’t have much to say
But I thought it
I know we might have been afraid
But we fought it

[Chorus]
As you stand near
As you stand near
I breathe a whisper
I breathe a voice
I believe in angels
I believe

[Chorus Bridge]
Like a ghost the shadows call me
I won’t let this take me over

[Chorus]
As you stand near
As you stand near
I breathe a whisper
I breathe a voice
I believe in angels
I believe

[Outro]
I believe
I believe


For more information on what Eliette does or teaches you can visit:
Eliette’s Music Academy: www.eliettesmusicacademy.com
New Zealand Girls Choir: www.nzgirlschoir.co.nz
“Black Kisses” – EP: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/black-kisses-ep/id1080938835


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  • WeGotGuru Media And Education

    Great article! We appreciate what Eliette Roslin had done and is doing great work. We would also like to collaborate with her to contribute in online teaching. We have a platform wegotguru.com where anyone can learn music online and anyone can register themselves as a tutor if she/he has a proper experience in music.

  • Laurie Richards

    Absolutely beautiful song, wow. Thank you for your contribution.