Erica Manzoli

29th April 2022

Interview: Amy Bell

The half-Italian half-British, 21-year-old singer, songwriter, and BRIT School grad released her debut single ‘My Best Friend Is My Therapist’ in February, on feelings of disconnect during the pandemic where digital conversations with her therapist were her only regular communication. It immediately garnered fans on Radio 1, Wonderland who described her as having "syrupy vocals akin to those of Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish", Notion and more.

'Silent Movie' was out longer than a week ago which tackles her deeply personal experience of growing up with feelings of dissociation and announced her forthcoming debut EP 'I’m Okay, I Promise'  is out today.

Check out the lyric video to Rock Bottom by Erica Manzoli here.

Hey Erica, thanks so much for talking to us, going back to your childhood, who would you say you were most inspired by growing up?

Hey! Of course, so excited to chat. When I was about 13, my parents bought Lorde’s Pure Heroine album and I found her age and her way of vocalising teen angst very relatable and inspiring. This was a peak Katy Perry and bubble gum pop period of time in my opinion. Hearing a more subtle, darker and less glamorous side to pop excited me.

You released your debut single ‘My Best Friend Is My Therapist’, in February, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that, as I know I do, what made you decide to write a song about it? 

I wrote this during lockdown, I hadn’t really felt particularly inspired to write about love or social situations since it was virtually impossible at the time. The only person I was talking to on a regular basis was my therapist on Zoom. Since we were all locked in, the only way of connecting with people was through our phones. That idea bothered me and it felt like something worth writing about.

We were all dealing with a lot of mental health issues in lockdown, do you think that writing songs were your escape from the reality of lockdown?

To me, writing music is less of an escape and more of a way to journal. I find it really hard to write in diaries or collect memories in photos, so the songs I wrote in lockdown are more like a sonic time stamp of my mindset at the time and I love that.  I guess writing them helped me vocalise how I was feeling and I’m grateful for that, because if I hadn’t written about it, I might have forgotten. When I released My Best Friend Is My Therapist it was amazing to hear how many people resonated with my lyrics and felt exactly the same.

You followed the single up with your new song ‘Silent Movie’, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for that single?

This song is a super personal one. When I was growing up, I struggled quite a bit with dissociation. I would feel like there was a sheet of glass between me and the outside world. One of the most obvious signs I was dissociating was when my senses became distorted, colours would seem less bright, people would seem less loud and it felt almost like a silent movie.

What is the message you want to get across in this new single when people are listening to it?

The next two songs are again two sad topics (shocker) haha but with a more playful edge. The first, “I Would Break Up With Me If I could” talks about the toxic relationship I had with myself and plays with the fact that it would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to deal with me.  The next, “Rock Bottom” is all about being comfortable in sadness as sometimes getting back up just to get knocked down again is the scariest thing you can do.

When you are recording and writing, what does a typical day look like for you?

It’s always different! One of the producers I’m closest to is my friend Will. We went to school together and he did an incredible job producing this EP.  If we write together then we’ll usually come up with the chords and melody first, he’ll then work on developing the production and I’ll start writing the lyrics. Because we’re so close we usually waste most of our time chatting and cooking too!

What is next for you? 

I’ve got my first ever headline show coming up… eek! It’s on May 5th at The Waiting Room in London and I’m super excited for it. I’ve never done anything quite like it before so pretty nervous but also so happy to be playing the songs I wrote at home to a crowd of supportive people.

Listen to Erica's brand new EP 'I'm Okay, I Promise' here.

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