“I had never been in that position you know, it’s not a choir. It’s loud, it’s sweaty, it’s hot. While it’s happening, you’re blacked out. Before, you think so much about it and as soon as the set starts, I am put in a trance and in a different universe for 30 minutes.” This is what a show feels like to vocalist Elizabeth Stuart ‘22. For most people, the closest they get to this experience is singing into a hairbrush or belting out a ballad in the shower. Elizabeth Stuart on the other hand is accustomed to a different life and is the perfect example of a modern rock star.
Elizabeth, or “Liz” as her friends and fans commonly call her, is multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and vocalist for the band NONEWFRIENDS. She plans to graduate from Syracuse with a degree in music industry from VPA and she has been singing since she was in 4th grade.
“I did a lot of classical stuff in the beginning. I didn’t do commercial singing until much later.” She admits that there were pros and cons to being brought up in a classical background. “It made me a better musician in a lot of ways, but my greatest downfall is that it’s hard to unlearn those things when I am trying to just be more free, you can get caught up in things sounding perfect but there gets a point when being technically perfect is not enough. If it doesn’t make you feel any type of way it doesn’t even matter.”
Stuart is one of five members in NONEWFRIENDS, and the four are men. Being a female in a male dominated work space is sadly still far too common for many women. For Stuart it is even more of a challenge considering she is also the leader and vocalist.
“It’s tough because sometimes you feel discredited, but you have this obligation to still be the leader,” said Stuart. “It honestly can feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place sometimes.
When asked what advice she had for other female artist in the industry she said, “Trust your fucking instincts and don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. You don’t have to justify everything. If you feel some type of way about something just say it. All the guys around me just say whatever the fuck they want, and honestly its empowering. If they can do it so can I.”
NONEWFRIENDS already has three singles out on Spotify amassing over 140,000 total streams, which for an indie band that formed only 2 years ago is a very solid start. They have been recording a project in their house this semester that is supposed to drop sometime over the summer.
“My ultimate goal for this band and the project is that after we graduate to gain a big enough following to go on tour, go on the road, maybe to Europe. Just keep playing, making content, making videos and feeling the love from other people.”
NONEWFRIENDS just released a live recording of a cover of “It’s a Man’s World,” by James Brown. You can see it on their Instagram and/or YouTube page.
Story by Jackson Siporin ‘22, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo by Jackson Siporin