Watch out world! 15-year-old, Isac Elliot (IE), has already captured the attention of Finland’s pop music scene and now he’s making his way to the West Coast. Opening up for One Direction, working with some of the biggest names in music, and selling out shows across Europe, Isac is winning over his fans by his humble and kind heart.
How has being so young in an industry such as this, formed who you are as a person and who you want to be in the future?
IE – I got signed when I was 11. Before that I was in a boy choir and did musicals at the national theatre in Helsinki. Music has always been my thing. I have always been lucky to have great people on my team and they have always helped me and guided me. I think what I have learned is to never take anything for granted. If you want to achieve something you need to work hard and put in the effort yourself. Work hard, never give up and never let the haters bring you down. I also live by the motto “If your neighbors aren’t laughing at your dreams your dreams are not big enough.”
What are some differences between the music scene in America versus the music scene in Finland?
IE – Well first of all, the size of the market in the U.S. is huge compared to Finland! I have been lucky to find some success in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Mainly 5-6 countries but the combined population is like two big cities in the U.S. The fans in the U.S. are as awesome as anywhere else. Beautiful, lovely and crazy. Love my fans. They always support me and they support each other in the same way they support me, which I think I really appreciate in them. They have a way of bonding with each other through my music and I love that. Besides the size of the market, there is not that much of a difference between the Scandinavian and American scenes. There is a lot of talent everywhere and music travels fast so the actual music is universal, I guess. We do however have our own domestic music. It is called ‘iskelmä’ and it is our version of country music.
What was is it like opening up for arguably, the world’s biggest pop boy-band of all time or working with some of the biggest names in music ever?
IE – I’m definitely grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with big songwriters and producers for my upcoming album. I have learned a lot and they have been able to push me in the studio. Though they have had massive success they are all super nice and down to earth. All of them were able to make me feel comfortable, confident and good about my singing. Opening for One Direction on their tour was like a dream. I am a huge fan, love their music and love their attitude. To open up for them in stadiums was huge and their fans were so nice to me. I met the band and they were super nice. They wanted to know that I was enjoying being at the shows and that I was well taken cared of. So nice of them. They didn’t have to do it. Especially Harry, who took a lot of time talking with me. We also talked about a song that they once recorded, never used and then passed on to me. We even sang a bit of it together.
In a couple of words, sum up your feelings when you are performing in front of thousands of people.
IE – Happy, proud and honored. I still can’t believe that I get to do this.
To name a few, who are some musicians that have molded who you are as an artist yourself?
IE – Well I listen to pop music a lot. Michael Jackson and Beyoncé are two of my favorites. They are both great singers and the ones who’s records I have been practicing singing along to… trying out runs and stuff. I also like Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars. Straight up pop. The first record I ever got was Chemical Romance’s, Black Parade. I went to see them at at show in Helsinki when I was 6. Billy Talent was the warm up artist. I was really into rock-punk music back then.
How do you balance your work life with your home life? Do you still feel like a normal teenager?
IE – I do feel like a normal teenager. When I am home I hang out with my friends, play video games, hockey and football. I live in a very small town where everybody knows me from before. My friends ask me at times about shows or the hysteria that sometimes comes with shows and appearances. They have seen it in the press or online. But mostly we just hang out, talk about girls and have a good time. Typical teenage stuff. I don’t think my friends really know how much other stuff goes into this, other than just playing a show, doing a meet and greet or singing a song in the studio. It’s a lot of work! Also I know that I am a role model and that people look up to me and that comes with responsibilities. So I have to think a bit more than others about what I do and what I say. But that’s just something that comes without thinking at this point. I love the fact that I get to travel, have the most amazing fans and get to do the thing I like most which is music.
Can you remember a defining moment in your life when you decided this is what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
IE – I can’t really think of the exact time when I decided I want to do this for the rest of my life. As I said, I have just always been into music, my family is into music so instruments, records and shows have always been around. I think the rush of working hard on a song, then hearing it for the first time on radio, getting great feedback and selling out my first show (a venue of 900 people) were all things that made me think “Ok, I never want this to end. I always want to have my fans here. I always want to make music.”
Has it set in that this your life yet? Are you still adjusting to all the new changes?
IE – Of course! It is all still new but I know a lot more now. I know how the industry works and what it takes to make music and be on a certain level. The stuff that still amazes me is how loyal my fans are and the unbelievable support I get from them. Every time I come to a new country and play a show, big or small, and see them singing the lyrics… I guess you never get used to that. And that is great. It should feel special every time. I am happy it does.
As an artist, how would you define success?
IE – Getting to do what you like most and have people support it and appreciate it.
If you had to pick one song/artist to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?
IE – That is too hard. To pick just one song. If I feel down I like to listen to emotional songs and feel really blue. It can feel good to be really emotional at times. If I am happy or have my friends over or if we are on the tour bus.. I like to put on more hyped up feel good songs. I can’t pick just one song or artist but I can pick one genre; pop with urban flavors and rap features.
When you’re not busy working on music, what else do you like to do?
IE – Well, I like just being at home and with my friends. It does not have to be anything extraordinary. In the winter time, we like to go down to the little hockey rink next to our house and play with my friends. Looking at movies until late at night, snacks and chill. In the summer I love going out in the archipelago, spend time at our summer place, fish and take the boat for a spin. I also like to work out. The feeling after you given it all at the gym is amazing.
Not only musically speaking, but where would you like to see yourself in the next few years?
IE – Well, I hope I am as happy as I am now. I hope I still get to do the stuff I am doing now with my music. I am now in the 9th grade, so I hope that I get into a good college and from there get a nice education. I don’t want to lay all my eggs in one basket and I know it is good to have a plan if this does not go on as well as it has been lately. But I am hoping it will. And then of course I hope I have a nice girl by my side.
In this day in age social media has become incredibly important. How would you say that social media has effected your career? Is it easier to take all of the positive comments or to dwell on the negative ones?
IE – Social media is the key to everything. It is where I can share my music, where fans can spread my music, where I can connect with them and they can connect with me. I feel it is very important to keep in contact with my fans. They do so much for me and I want to give back so I try to notice as many as I can on social media. I try not to read too much of the comments. You can easily get sucked into that social media bubble where you feel your life is in there. But of course I see some of the bad stuff as well. It is kind of like what they say… “One bad comment is not whipped away by one good comment.” Somehow they stick out more. Which is sad in a way. You get 1000 good comments and one bad one and you let that one comment get to you. I have been coached regarding how to move around on the web and over the socials and I know that the bad comments come with the job. But I really feel bad for fans and people who get bad comments online, who don’t have the support of a fandom or people around them who can support them like my team and family does. Online bullying is horrible and I just hope it will come to an end.
What advice could you give to people around the world who dream of being a famous artist?
IE – Dream big, surround yourself with a good team you can trust, work hard and believe in all that you do. Anything is possible… Literally anything. The most important thing though is to have fun!