For the past four years, electro-pop singer, songwriter and producer Elohim has been hiding in plain sight.
With over 200 million combined streams for her music and a strong touring track record (Coachella, HARD, Made in America and Outside Lands are just four of the many stages she’s played in the past year alone), Elohim’s ascent suggests an artist with an active, open public profile.
But until last month, Elohim had never spoken publicly using her real voice — having preferred to conduct her interviews via email or a text-to-voice technology on her laptop that gave her responses a robotic British accent. At her shows, she never paused to talk to the audience or share stories behind her songs. And in all her performances and photo/video shoots, Elohim kept her face partially obscured by parting her hair over her right eye.
But all that changed when she was heading to a commercial shoot (her first ever) for GoDaddy, to appear as one of six creators who utilize the company’s website and email marketing tools to express themselves and expand their business. The company tapped Elohim to represent not only musicians but creatives who are open about their struggles with mental health, anxiety and depression — which Elohim has detailed on many of her best-known songs including “She Talks Too Much,” “Panic Attacks” and “Xanax.”
The campaign also features Elohim’s new single “TV,” which deals with those topics in similarly candid form (“I keep the TV on to drown out the sound / My mind is way too loud”). The single previews Elohim’s upcoming 2-part album “Braindead,” which will kick off with its first volume, the “Braindead Pt. 1” EP, in May to celebrate Mental Health Month.
Although Elohim quickly agreed to participate in the GoDaddy campaign, she didn’t realize she was ready to use her own voice until she was en route to the commercial’s set. “I was getting ready to translate this script we put together into the robot voice, and as I was reading the script I thought, ‘I need to say these words,’” Elohim says on the phone from her Los Angeles home in her first-ever “live” interview with a journalist. “I got to the set and said, ‘I want to speak in this commercial.’ There was never any intention of me speaking, it just opened so many doors and now I feel like I’ve overcome so much and now is my time to unveil and show people and tell people through my real voice and try to inspire people by telling my story.”
Elohim chose to take her newfound openness even further by sitting for an on-camera interview with GoDaddy for a featurette to shed some light on her creative process and how she used music to confront her fears and destigmatize mental-health issues in the process. “GoDaddy’s new campaign is all about encouraging people from all walks of life to ‘Make the World You Want’ by going after their dreams and passions,” says GoDaddy’s chief brand officer Cameron Scott. “We decided to partner with Elohim because she embodies this spirit. She’s an amazing producer, singer and songwriter who uses her platform to talk about typically taboo topics — mental health, anxiety and depression — and engage people in thoughtful conversations. We’re very happy with results of the campaign to-date, the amount of community engagement is inspiring.”
Elohim’s newfound confidence has already carried over into her touring work, having just recently played a handful of intimate dates in Los Angeles and New York where she stripped down her electronic songs to piano and a string quartet — and yes, opened up to her fans for the first time.
“I didn’t know what to expect or how my body was going to react,” she says. “But it’s so weird, I was telling my team I wasn’t nervous at all to play these shows — which two years ago never would have happened, I would have been throwing up and throwing panic fits. So it was good to show what I do broken down, and face that fear, and now I can’t believe it.”
There are at least a few things Elohim has chosen to keep to herself for now – including her real name and her age. But even her chosen stage name, taken from the Hebrew word for “God,” has taken on a new level of purpose.
“[The name] gave me the strength and passion and love,” she says. “It was the person I always wanted to be but wasn’t strong enough, and it sort of gave me that strength. I’m not religious, but it felt spiritual, it just felt really powerful to me. I honestly feel like it gave me that strength to jump from speaking with a robot voice, to be on a stage and perform and travel. I needed those tools and it worked for me.”
Songs for Screens is a Variety column sponsored by music experiential agency MAC Presents, based in NYC. It is written by Andrew Hampp, founder of music marketing consultancy 1803 LLC and former correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column will highlight noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as film and TV.