At that point, she started playing with a friend who was busking and discovered that she helped draw people in while playing the banjo. She continues, “After some time working with him, I started busking on my own. For the first year, I just went up to Halifax and my friend and I went on a road trip. I brought a mandolin along and taught her how to play it and I just found that high energy banjo music attracted a lot of people!”
The genesis of It Ain’t What It Seems were some gentler, slower songs that Eliza had been writing on guitar. She normally shies away from playing less energetic music, but friends persuaded her that her more introspective songs were worthy of more attention.
As for the theme of the album, she explains, “The overall theme of the album is the unknown and viewing it through the life of a person who is single and independent. It's about the freedom that gives you and also the challenges that come along with that freedom.”
Songs like High and Lonesome and Say It deal with relationships and their endings. Eliza says of them, “The one thing that someone who is 34 and single has is relationships that have ended. It definitely comes into play.”
Another thread that runs through her songs are stories of hardship and personal struggle. Eliza points out, “I take an interest in people's stories of hardship. I taught at risk youth in high school for the last six years, so I worked with kids who had addictions and came from dysfunctional families. I definitely have an empathy for the trials and tribulations of people's lives. With songwriting, you try to go to the depths and reach people's heartstrings.”
Eliza’s songs often start with a basic idea inspired by the experiences she’s heard about or been through. She adds, “I take those ideas and figure out how the person in the song is going to resolve the situation that they're in. I try to paint a picture of somebody's life in the songs.”