PREMIERE: Sheva Elliot Talks Gritty New Single ‘Pay The Priestess’, Upcoming Album, Dream Gig & More

In a world full of conformity and clamoring to stand out, it’s refreshing to find an unapologetically confident and enterprising musician doing their thing regardless.

For LA-born and bred Sheva Elliot, this is just another day at the office. The bold songstress’s vocal and stylistic versatility boasts blues-rock and soul-roots with a flair of psychedelia, and harnesses themes of classic cinema. Powerful and gritty yet emotional and soulful, Elliot’s stirring voice has a vintage feel that flawlessly projects emotion. 

Elliot’s latest project is an upcoming album titled Pay The Priestess, which is set to release August 11th. And today June 30th, the artist dropped her latest tease of the album with the title track, a 70s-era rocker with attitude.

The “priestess” in the song refers to that inner, “full empowered being” within each person. With influences from Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Elton John, and Patti Smith to name a few, Elliot’s music is a spunky blend of just about everything with a focal point of rock and soul.

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We got to talk with Elliot to learn more about her as an artist, the new single, upcoming album, and much more.

What are three things people should know about Sheva Elliot? 

I hear that she loves poetry, plants, and to make people laugh.

Who or what were your biggest influences/inspirations that made you decide to forge a career in music-making?

I always say that music chose me. Some of my earliest influences hailed from the sounds of Soul, Motown & Rock n’ Roll. Specifically – Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Elton John, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, and so many more. 

“Pay The Priestess”

So you’ve got your new single, “Pay The Priestess,” dropping today June 30th. Can you talk about the backstory and inspiration behind it?

Sure, I absolutely love this one! I usually write alone, but this track is a testament to the fun and magic of collaboration. My producer sent me the music and told me to send back some lyrics. I listened to what the melody was trying to say, added a pre-chorus, crafted the story, and bam – the Priestess was born. She’s an archetype, a symbol of coming into one’s power. Phoenix rising, living as your highest-self kinda stuff. 

I see it’s the title track off of your forthcoming album of the same name. What can you tell us about the new album? Any overarching themes or motifs throughout?

The arc of the album revealed itself once it was recorded, I didn’t go into it with a high-concept idea. The theme is truly about returning to one’s self with love & acceptance. The woman who sings the yearning opening tracks, “Show Me How to Love You,” & “Somebody Else’s Man” eventually transforms into the Priestess of the title track. There are a few fun ones after that, coming from a place of empowerment and freedom. The album ends with a song to my younger self, the very tender, gospel-infused Going Home. From addiction and co-dependence to self-empowerment, Going Home concludes the record with the reminder that the most divine love we can find lives inside of our own heart.

Is there a song on the album that means the most to you from an emotional or perhaps nostalgic standpoint? 

“Going Home” and “Lost & Found.” 

Which one or two are you most excited to perform live?

I haven’t yet performed “The Canyon” live, mainly because it’s the most high-concept song on the album – using the guitar as a motorcycle engine, psychedelic effects on the vocals, etc. I’m excited to get that one in front of an audience. It’s a ride. 

Sheva Elliot

What has been your favorite/the most rewarding part of making this album?

The technical learning I gained while in the studio. And also, the real-time lessons of fumbling, or not doing something “perfectly”, and letting the art be what it wants to be. 

What does a dream gig look like for you?

Opening for any of my idols in a big ass arena. Or to just be in a room with Aretha Franklin, getting to hear her sing up close, or even getting some constructive advice from her. That one will just have to stay a dream now. 

What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you?

Well, there’s a part of me that wants to hinge success on selling out huge arenas, having international fame, etc. But I also know that the real success isn’t always seen – it’s hitting a note I didn’t think I could or writing a song that I once thought was beyond my scope. Getting to collaborate with amazing musicians, writing for others, and just being in the flow of life as a working singer/songwriter.  

What else might you have planned for the rest of the year, post-album release? Tour etc.?

I’d love to go on tour. I’d also love to just get a natural re-set, see some mountains and red earth, and write some new songs with new people.

Sheva Elliot

Photo & graphics by Georgia Vannewkirk

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