Eliza Doolittle might moonlight as a model, but the spotlight has been shining quite brightly on her blossoming music career. Though pegging this British luminary as a lighthearted Norah Jones or the level-headed version of Lily Allen are perhaps the best musical comparisons, the bottom line is that she truly has her own distinct style, in more ways than one.
All throughout her self-titled debut album, the 23-year-old smoothly blends her sweetened voice over a heartwarming indie soul-pop collection - a collection that has already gone platinum in the United Kingdom and is on the verge of infiltrating the States. Despite having a massive international single with “Skinny Genes,” the fashionable starlet refuses to hide her beautiful legs behind a pair of skintight denim.
Doolittle is becoming more known for wearing mini jean shorts, like the type she sports in practically every one of her music videos. While the singer-songwriter loves “Skinny Genes,” she loathes the other kind. “I hate skinny jeans! They’re the worst,” she says in her smooth English accent. “I wore a pair of jeans the other day and I felt so wrong. I don’t know what it is about it; I just don’t feel right about them.”
Going Platinum in the UK
Skinny jeans or not, the point is Doolittle has always pursued what felt right for her. For instance, as a little girl growing up in a musical family, the Brit knew from an early age that she was destined to be a singer. Although it’s natural for anyone to follow in their parents’ footsteps, young Eliza knew she wanted to take a completely different approach.
“My family does more theatre stuff. I was always more interested in being a recording artist and writing music and playing gigs, and wanting to do that one day,” she recalls. “I was probably more into, I’d say, [artists who were on] television - probably Beyonce, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. But yeah, [I was] kinda into the things I was seeing on TV.”
Everything moved quickly from there. Doolittle recorded her three-track demo when she was 14, acquired management when she was 15, and signed a publishing deal when she was 16. In the years to follow, the singer-songwriter would continue to develop her fan base, earn placement on radio and eventually sign with the UK’s legendary Parlophone record label.
Then, last July, the starlet dropped her self-titled debut album - a genuine 13-track delight that explores self-discovery and perseverance. “A lot of it is quite positive; even some things that are a bit sadder have a twist at the end of it,” Doolittle says. “It’s good songs and definitely upbeat music to lift your spirit.”
Since it’s release nearly ten months ago, the collection has turned platinum in the United Kingdom, thanks in part to the plethora of smash singles like the folk-flavored “Rollerblades,” the big band-tinged “Pack Up” and her latest single, “Mr. Medicine.”
But now, it’s time for the next step and that next step is in the United States. Also, it’s a step that’s long overdue. “It’s just taken a long time because I had to work hard to get heard in the UK and around the European countries,” Doolittle explains. “I guess because it’s my first record, you have to spend more time in the country and create the introduction.”
To coincide with the American release of her self-titled album, the English luminary performed a few shows in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, and took the stage this past April at Coachella.
In addition to her music career, Doolittle is also trying her hand at modeling. The starlet recently signed with Select Models and was named an ambassador for a Nike program called GRID - a concept where the sports company will transform London into a game board of sorts in an effort to encourage people to run and improve their fitness.
At the end of the day however, the modeling gig is just an extra promotional tool for Doolittle. “It’s not my priority,” she says. “It’s just good fun, a great way to raise my profile through that channel, knowing that I probably I wouldn’t have done it before. Hopefully people will get to know me a little bit more.”
Just don’t expect her to model any sort of skinny jeans. Ever.
For more from Bear Frazer, follow him on Twitter.