Recently returning from L.A. recording sessions with Elton John bassist Matt Bissonette, the 16-year-old Lansing-area singer-songwriter is turning heads, making her Local Spins’ first ‘Artist to Watch’ for 2022.
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO SONGS BY KANIN ELIZABETH
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Kanin Elizabeth was born for this.
Building perhaps on the legacy of her grandfather – who sang in a band – Kanin Elizabeth picked up a guitar at a young age, released her first song at age 11 and started a rock ‘n’ roll band in seventh grade.
Inspired by vacations in northern Michigan, a more recent pop song, “Torch Lake Breeze,” even caught the attention of the Pure Michigan campaign, which promoted the tune last year as part of a summer playlist. (Scroll down for a live version of the song.)
Now 16, the Lansing-area singer-songwriter just returned from Los Angeles where she recorded four new indie-pop tracks with producer Matt Bissonette, bassist for Elton John. She plans to release the songs with help from Jay Gilbert, founder of L.A.’s Label Logic, an artist agency focused on digital strategy and marketing.
The whirlwind early January experience at Dragonfly Creek Recording Studio in Malibu – with drummer Greg Bissonette (Ringo Starr, David Lee Roth), keyboardist Jim Cox (Mark Knopfler, Elton John, Aerosmith) and session guitarist Andrew Synowiec (The Who, Josh Groban) – puts Kanin Elizabeth on track for a milestone 2022 and a more-than-promising career.
“As I sat on this beautiful little love seat (in the recording studio) that so many famous people had sat on, I realized this was not normal. This was beyond anything I could imagine,” she said, noting the studio has hosted the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and One Republic in the past.
“A lot of seasoned musicians have taken me under their wings, but I am ready to fly. I take it all in, but I’m ready.”
Bissonette would agree: “The things that make Kanin stand out are her overall maturity and natural talent. She not only sang every take perfectly, but she added several parts that I threw at her as if she’s been doing this for 30 years and she’s just 16.
“She never seemed nervous or anxious singing in front of total strangers. She was confident and strong. That can only be attributed to great parenting, which she has been blessed with. She has the mental fortitude to survive in this nutty business called music.”
After performing at Grand Rapids’ Listening Room in late December with Nicholas James Thomasma and Ralston Bowles, Kanin Elizabeth is set to play American Bistro in Lansing on Jan. 19, Traverse City’s Workshop Brewing Co. on Jan. 21, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on Feb. 19 and 20, and Wildwood Family Farms in Alto on March 5.
LISTEN: Kanin Elizabeth, “After You” (2020 Single)
Citing The Head & The Heart, Florence & The Machine, The Lumineers, Adele, Lord Huron, Vance Joy, Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift as influences, Kanin Elizabeth describes her pop music as “a good mash-up of all of these recording artists.”
Bissonette called her compositions “great relevant songs that I think people will tap into” with Kanin Elizabeth setting herself up to “be in the right position to succeed.”
Gilbert added that the young singer has “a bright future,” describing the recently recorded songs as “fantastic.”
“What makes Kanin stand out is her wholesome look and sound – so rare these days, very refreshing,” he said. “She continues to mature as a singer and musician.”
With 80 original songs already in her repertoire, Kanin Elizabeth tries to work on her new music daily.
“I would really like to be a touring artist and open for an established band as I grow my fan base,” she said. “For the next two years, I would really like to take advantage of living with my parents and continue to create and share as much music as I can.”
Kanin Elizabeth also hopes to find a Michigan-based recording studio and producer to work with long-term, a team “that gets my style and is really interested in watching me grow.”
The teen singer already has a devoted fan base: In addition to tips she saved from performances the past five years, she helped pay for the Los Angeles recording sessions by organizing a raffle that had numerous fans and friends purchasing tickets for a chance to win an acoustic performance by Kanin Elizabeth.
Expect more live performances as she continues to hone her skills.
“I did get a taste of festivals and listening rooms,” she said, “and that is the short-term focus.”
VIDEO: Kanin Elizabeth, “Torch Lake Breeze” (Live at Michigan State Fair)
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