Elise Eriksen
Photo: Mikkel Eriksen / Press

Elise Eriksen — Smile

Originally from Norway but now based in LA, emerging pop starlet Elise Eriksen is the daughter of one half of uber-producers Stargate (Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Coldplay) and grew up in the recording studio surrounded by some of the world’s top artists and songwriters. She may only be 17 years of age, but Eriksen looks to have spent her younger years wisely through her devotion to learning piano and experimentation with writing songs of her own. She’s already showcased her abilities as a musician with worldwide radio and playlist features and now, she’s back for more.

“Smile” follows the recent release of Eriksen’s debut single “Less,” which was co-written by multi-platinum-selling songwriter Julia Michaels and features both Shoffy and Blu DeTiger. After her bold debut, Eriksen has opted to tone things down a notch with “Smile.” She explains in a press release, “’Smile’ is about putting on a facade and trying to seem happy even when you’re not… It felt important to put out something that will leave people feeling more in touch with themselves but also more hopeful and uplifted, especially because it has been such a tough year.”

Stripped down to just Eriksen’s vocals and a piano for accompaniment, “Smile” covers a host of relevant personal topics we’ve all encountered over the course of the pandemic. The opening verse sets a sombre tone: “Every day I wake up with a new problem / I see a therapist; she says she can’t solve ‘em / I always overthink the way that I should act / I should be myself but I can’t relax.”

With the bridge and chorus sections however, you get a sense of uplift from this melancholic reverie. Eriksen’s vocals intensify during these sections, and even though the smile she sings of may hide some of the pain hidden underneath, she tells us that sometimes it’s OK to put on a brave face and embrace the happiness that a smile can bring.

With “Smile,” Eriksen displays a more mature and heartfelt side to her music and at just 17 years of age, this emerging star is only just beginning to shine.