Elijah Woods is a multi-platinum pop artist known for his catchy melodies, vivid lyrics, and accessible production style. In 2021, he spent over 35 weeks in the top 5 on Billboard's Canadian Emerging Artist Chart and is now garnering international recognition. As an independent artist, he's achieved over 250 million streams and quickly sold out his first cross-Canada tour in 2023, a testament to his rapidly expanding fan base. With three EPs already under his belt and hit singles like "24/7, 365." With the bright orange everglow EP, Woods quickly gained international appeal, with chart-topping hits like "24/7, 365" captivating audiences around the globe. Notably, he recently released "last girl" as a duet with Mackenzie Porter, further solidifying his status as an artist to watch in the ever-evolving music world. During an interview, Woods gave INTERSECT a glimpse into his music production process and upcoming projects.
What is the inspiration behind "last girl”? Delve into your creative process while creating this song with Mackenzie Porter.
As cliche and lame as it is, it was me just coming to terms with the fact that this is the last person I will ever be with. I got engaged in April of this year, and I mentally debriefed from that whole situation. I wrote bright orange everglow in a matter of three weeks in June, and it poured out of me. "last girl" was one of the last songs I wrote for the project, and as soon as I'd finished it, the perfect synopsis of that chapter in my life. This is a very romantic honeymoon phase–a post-engagement thing. And the lyrics are super honest. The setting drives them. They're about this place that is near my parents-in-law. I don't know how to say that, but there is no other place, and it's by a river and super, super beautiful. It was the moment I knew that I wanted to be with her, her name is Hannah, for the rest of my life.
Did you show Hannah the song before it came out, or did you let her listen afterward?
I did. I was really on the fence about it. I'm on social media a lot. So I was really on the fence about filming it and getting a genuine reaction to everything. And I decided to film it, and then I just kept the video. But it was a nice moment because it was a personal story and an extraordinary moment for us both. We both remember that day, and it was lovely. Now there's this ten-minute video of us sobbing in my studio. And we both look terrible because I stayed in my studio for about three weeks.
Considering the deeply personal nature of "last girl," what inspired your decision to partner with Mackenzie Porter in this collaboration?
She's incredible. I've been a fan of her for a while. And as soon as I wrote the song, I wrote it with some good friends, Jason Suwito and Jack LaFrantz. We thought this would be the sickest duet as soon as we finished writing it. It'd just be the best. It invites that, like the second piece of the story and that kind of dialog about this moment. I put feelers out and liked to see who was interested. And then I was like, it'd be sick if we did a country feature. [Her] name came into the mix, and I reached out, and she just nailed it on the first take. Like, it was just unbelievable. She just knocked it out of the park. It was exactly what I wanted for the vibe. And she came. It was the final show of my first-ever headline tour, and she came to Toronto and played it with me last Friday, which was so awesome. It was like our first time meeting, and it was a special moment.
Do you want to do more duets in the future, and if so, who would be your dream duet partner?
I love duets. For me, it's all about the song. It's like if the story is there, then I'm super down to do it. I know it's kind of cliche. I'd love to do a duet with Troye Sivan. I think he's so sick, like absolutely super talented. I think our voice would sound really good together. Who else do I like right now? I will look at my Spotify. Kacey Musgraves would be one. That'd be a huge one. She would be massive for me. I'm her biggest fan.
With your multifaceted talents, how do you effectively balance and integrate the various dimensions of your music career?
I don't. I'm so bad at it. I'm glad we get to do this because this is my only one of the day, but I am generally just super overbooked and over-tired. That's my biggest Achilles' heel. It's time management and making sure that I have time to sleep and eat and that I'm healthy and happy and the whole thing. But I am happy, and I am fortunately healthy right now. For me, it just comes as a passion. It's not desperation saying things like, "I got to make this song," or "I got to finish this music, or I got to make this TikTok," or whatever. I'm on nobody else's schedule but my own. I get excited about the music when it's all working: It feeds the beast even more. I can't take my foot off the gas. I feel very fortunate, and I would hate to waste an opportunity like this because I've been making music long enough to understand that not many people get to do what I'm doing right now. I feel very grateful for everybody listening and streaming. I don't want to let anybody down.
Given your extensive experience in music, where does your creative journey begin? Do you draw inspiration from specific words, personal experiences, or the art of songwriting itself?
It depends. I think it's song-dependent. Sometimes, it's a chord structure. Sometimes, it's a specific life experience—a big pocket in the last two years or so that's been a very literal story for me. And I'm moving away from that because I'm running out of stories because I'm engaged in my life, which is pretty standard and low-key. I'm moving away from that and trying to write more metaphorically, but it depends.
It's all rooted in experience: my perception of things. However, a massive goal of my writing is always to make something complicated or ordinary presentable and acceptable. My favorite thing, and I've been gravitating to country music lately, is that they take these effortless turns of phrases and make them so impactful and so, wise. I love that. There's beauty in simplicity. That's something I strive for when I'm writing. Like JP Saxe. I listen to his songs, and I think, you are unbelievably talented; worlds talented above me. It may appeal to me more than somebody else. I'm thinking about the lyrics and the words, and it gets a bit heady. My goal is to take that and make it digestible and easy. But yeah. And if JP ever sees this, I love you. You're the most talented writer I've ever seen in my life. And I draw much inspiration from you. JP's on another planet with his lyrical writing. I'm like, "Oh my God, how did you get there?" He's so smart.
Looking back on your incredible feat of ranking in the top five on Billboard's Canadian Emerging Artists chart for over 35 weeks, how are you navigating the evolving landscape of international attention and recognition you're now experiencing?
It's pretty surreal. I am fortunate that I'm able to do this for a living. And like that has always been, my dream is to be a musician, artist, and singer, and to be supported by my music is pretty incredible. And now, the horizons are expanding, and as things get bigger and bigger, it's straightforward for me to be like, oh, I want the next thing, and I like the next thing. And where I'm focusing right now is just like, I'm very grateful. I'm thankful for how things have been going. I'm trying to take advantage of all my momentum, but I'm also trying to live in it and be very present in it because it can be super short-lived, and mine will not be. I know that because I have bigger aspirations, but I want to ensure I get everything. I want to appreciate people singing the lyrics at the shows and respect people streaming my music and countries I've never been to. So I consider those things every day and try to meditate and look at the world and be like, it's pretty cool. Accolades are awesome. It's so cool to be recognized for something you're doing. That's why we all do what we do. We want to be seen for the particular little corner of the world that we are. I appreciate it; it's cool.
How has the experience of performing these songs live been for you?
It's show-dependent, which is strange because it's such a roller coaster. What I realized most about this specific tour is that I am so reliant on the energy in the room I can always get through it. However, with my level of involvement and excitement about the songs, the crowd is mutually feeding us as if we're all there. We're participating, like singing the songs or just bobbing our heads. Then, the songs take on new meanings for me. But, when you're up there, and people are talking and doing the thing, I was fortunate because it happened once on this tour, and I was like, can you imagine that happening every time? I feel lucky that that has not happened to me, but just the one time, I opened my eyes by saying, "That's weird to be up there" and "Here's my emotions." The songs take on completely different meanings. They feel a lot different live too, because I write everything in this little room, and I make all my videos on that camera, and everything's done right here. So it's all from me, from A to Z. Seeing the songs come to life and sung by thousands of people every night blows my mind. I don't even know how to comprehend it. It feels authentic, and it feels present. I try to let that soak in.
Following the release of "last girl," can fans anticipate an album in the works? What’s next for your musical journey?
There's always more music. That's my safe place. I love making music, and I love songwriting. That's my biggest passion in all this. I mean, there's lots, lots going on. We're planning the Asia tour. I'm hopeful and, I don't know, knock on wood, as we can say it, but I'm hopeful for an album early next year, just sort of song-dependent. My whole thing with that is that I have all the songs. I want to ensure they're what I want to say. For example, making little packages of songs or bright orange everglow is easy. I wrote those five songs, but I wonder if I would have. I could have had ten that I could have loved, or even even bigger is 14. Every single one of those songs I love, so an album's a bit daunting to me because I have this thing where I won't release any songs that I'm mid about. I only put out the songs that I'm like, here's how I feel, here's my thing, or I feel strongly about it. There's lots more music on the horizon, more videos for sure. A ton of stuff is coming out before the end of the year. It'll all be in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully, I'll be in Boston soon. We can play a show there.