King City Online ©
If anyone illustrates the folly of banning buskers on the byways of Birmingham, it is Eliza May. Following in the footsteps of fellow street troubadours like TrueMendous and Esther Turner, part of Eliza’s musical apprenticeship was spent entertaining the public as they traversed New Street, such an established tradition that the Birmingham Music Awards has a ‘best busker’ category, named in honour of the late, great Pete Felton and currently held by Nehanda - o prize that Eliza herself might be in the running for this year.
The Birmingham-based indie-pop artist took inspiration from Hayley Williams and Avril Lavigne to kick start her musical journey and she lists Tori Kelly and Frank Turner amongst her other influences. She further developed her songwriting and performance skills at Falmouth University before going from busking to playing energetic live shows with her band. Eliza went on her first UK tour in April 2017, played at Brighton Pride 2018, supported Declan J Donovan in 2020, headlined at the O2 Institute Birmingham with her full band in 2021 and when she's not gigging or making music, can still be found busking around the country. Throughout the pandemic though, Eliza and her band focused on recording their next EP “Candy Heart”.
“Edge of This” is the first single from that collection, mixed and mastered by Jamie Farnell (Fretless Audio), and accompanied by a colourful music video telling the visual story of the song through a light-hearted tug-of-love and enough lemons to make a vat of lemonade. Deft and delicate guitars, shimmering, shuffling beats and the pop sensibilities of the track are reminiscent of the kind of thing Mahalia was coming up with in her earlier days before she followed the RnB route. Not that I’m complaining - Mahalia makes great RnB!
To call it ‘summery’ is a bit of an understatement unless you’re talking about the summer of ‘76 - months of solid sunshine and the appointment of Small Heath MP Denis Howell as Minister for Drought. Even listening to it in February gave us a warm glow! The sassy lyrics and captivating instrumentation tell an age-old and familiar story, as Eliza explains:
“Edge of This is a song that really portrays the struggle of head verses heart. When you’re happy and have moved on from someone, the last thing you need is your ex coming back to confuse things. I was tired of being in situations like this so I put pen to paper and came up with Edge of This.”
To support the release, Eliza played her first London gig at Roadtrip & The Workshop on 6th February and can be seen playing with her full band at The O2 Academy Birmingham on 5th March. Tracks on Eliza’s previous EP “The Fall” received support from BBC Introducing Cornwall, Live A Little Louder Music, Ryan’s Gig Guide and Lonely Oak Radio (California, US). With a refreshingly unique sound, Eliza May is spicing up the indie pop scene and is definitely one to watch in 2022.