20 Questions is a Q&A interview series with musicians, authors, and everyone in between, celebrating experiences both shared and individual in the messy game of being human.
Up-and-coming dark-pop hit-maker Eleanor Kingston returns with her latest anthem “Pink Things.” Having already achieved editorial success on Vevo’s “Incoming Pop” and YouTube Music’s “Pop Before It Breaks” playlists, the track comes off of her debut EP Great Kind of Madness, Pt. 1. Lead by Kingston’s powerful vocals, thumping percussion and lush synth textures create a subtle but thrilling alt-pop song. Produced by BOIA, who worked on her EP alongside Kit Wong, the track is also co-written with her younger brother. “I’m a tomboy and a girly-girl, I have a dark side and am tired of men telling women who to be,” explains Kingston. “I wrote this song to defy the notion that girls should still only look pretty, that even when we are put down we grow stronger, while pushing our own hopes, dreams, and desires into the spotlight.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Eleanor for this week’s edition of 20 Questions, where she told me all about “Pink Things,” the music she has coming next, why she loves channeling empowerment, why she’s a control freak with the aux chord, and more.
How old were you when you decided to pursue a career in music?
I have written music for as long as I can remember but when I officially decided to pursue it above everything else, I was 17 years old.
What type of song is your favorite to write?
I love to channel pain, anger, and loneliness and transform it into an empowerment anthem. I write a lot about mental health, my experiences as a teenage girl among the beauty standards of the digital age, and family troubles. Channeling all of this into art has certainly cured my depression and given me a sense of purpose. So, when I sit down to write, I always want my listeners to feel powerful and that no matter what they’re going through, they will get through it.
Which artists did you grow up listening to?
When I was a kid, I was always listening to Elton John, Bob Marley, OneRepublic, Maroon 5, The Fray, The Script, and Michael Jackson.
Right now, who are your biggest influences, both musically and stylistically?
My biggest influences are Halsey, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Melanie Martinez, and Mac Miller. Their individuality inspires me daily.
Where is your favorite place in the world to be?
Los Angeles! I’ve always loved LA and have wanted to live here since I was a little kid. I fell even more in love with it when I moved here because there are so many people from different backgrounds that all came to one place to pursue their dreams. I’ve definitely felt the most inspired and motivated than I’ve ever been living here.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m definitely a bit of both but lean more towards the introverted side. I love being around people but feel the most comfort when I’m alone writing music or with loved ones.
My mom has always been huge on holidays and makes each one feel like a celebration. I have to say Christmas is my favorite due to my faith and my family always setting aside the time to be present in our hometown, Park City, Utah.
What inspired your new single “Pink Things”?
I’m a tomboy and a girly-girl, I have a dark side and am tired of men telling women who to be. I wrote this song to defy the notion that girls should still only look pretty, that even when we are put down we grow stronger, while pushing our own hopes, dreams, and desires into the spotlight.
Biggest pet peeve?
I LOVE having the aux chord and during pretty much every car ride or party, I love to have a say in the music playing. When I am in the mood for a particular song, I definitely have a huge pet peeve of people taking the aux chord or not allowing me to play a song.
The last series you binge-watched?
Euphoria! I felt connected to pretty much every character and I have never felt that way with any show before so it definitely drew me in to keep watching.
Favorite book of all-time?
The Law of Attraction: The Basics and Teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I was diagnosed with anxiety at a really young age and really struggled recognizing what was real and when my mind was playing tricks on me. In my adult life, diving into The Law of Attraction and manifesting my reality has really helped me conceptualize the power of our minds to change our reality and has helped me control my mental health as a result.
One song that you will never be sick of?
“Star Shopping” by Lil Peep. Safe to say that song got me through a lot of lonely nights.
Which genre of music would you describe your music as falling into?
I would definitely categorize my music as alternative pop and dark pop with stylistic inspiration from electropop, synth-pop, art pop, dream pop, and indie pop.
One movie that will always make you cry?
The Fault in Our Stars has me crying every single time. Shailene Woodley is a huge inspiration of mine and is definitely my favorite actress of all time.
Favorite quote of all-time?
“Love Yours,” –J. Cole. Simple, but very, very meaningful to me which is why I got it tattooed on my arm!
You’re stuck on a long flight. Which world-famous musician would you want sitting next to you and why?
My idol and main influence sonically has always been Halsey. I can honestly say that both Badlands and Hopeless Fountain Kingdom saved my life when I was a young teenager who just needed help processing what I was going through. I know I said earlier that my favorite kind of music to make is when you can flip a negative and make it a positive by highlighting independence and strength. Halsey does this beautifully and I would love to pick her brain on a flight about her experiences and what got her through a lot of the tough times.
Favorite song to get your blood moving?
“Carrollton” by $uicideboy$.
One thing that’s been keeping you sane throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
The amazing team I work with on my music, both visually and sonically have kept me happy during this time! Thankfully we have been able to maintain social distancing while also continuing to work together. My producer/co-writer, BOIA, stylist/makeup artist, Cynthia Leal, and director/videographer, Anthony Palmer, have all become my best friends and at a time where we can’t see our families much, we have become a family.
Pens or pencils?
Pens all the way! Pencils stress me out for some reason… maybe it’s the SAT/ACT PTSD.
What can we expect to hear next from you?
So, so much! In this coming year, I am planning at least a song a month with another EP, Great Kind of Madness, Pt. 2, releasing later this year. For the beginning of the year, you can expect more of the alt pop realm and during the end of the year, we’re working on our own version of pop with a lot of different genres coming into play which I’m super excited to release!