Launched To Stardom
If this is the first time you’ve read the names Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine, please believe it won’t be your last.
Those who watched them take over the second episode of CTV’s The Launch are familiar with Jamie’s commanding musical presence and Elijah’s electric instrumentals. The show follows a group of emerging artists as they are mentored by famous producers—including Shania Twain, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder and Nikki Six of Mötley Crüe—in creating a new original song. The show takes these unsigned artists and ‘launches’ them from ‘discovery to stardom’ in just two days.
The pair were picked by Tedder, Scott Borchetta and Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles to release a song co-written by Ryan and Camila Cabello called ‘Ain’t Easy’ on the show. In the studio, the pair made sure to keep true to themselves, changing the song’s key and tempo and surprising Tedder with the rendition. It was a bold move by the new artists that paid off, earning them writing credits on the song along with superstars Tedder and Cabello. The song has since become number two on iheartradio’s top 6 at 6.
Four years ago, Elijah first heard Jamie’s voice through a friend’s iphone. Right away, the young producer knew he had to work with her. Today, the two have gone on to create multiple electric pop and soulful singles, some of which are now played around the world and on the radio. Their powerful live performances show just how talented these young artists are in creating music with grit and feeling. And after sitting down with them to talk about their experience, it is clear to see the close bond they share that has helped them become so successful as artists.
How did you two become connected in the music industry?
Elijah: Jamie and I were making music for a few years, probably a decade each. We connected about 4 years ago at Algonquin college. I was taking music industry arts and Jamie was in a culinary program and working at the time when I heard her voice. I dragged her into the studio on Saturday and we just kind of clicked, I’ve never made music that quick or that effortlessly with anyone before. We just kept making music from there.
You guys have some great chemistry on stage. Outside of your music do you spend a lot of time together?
Jamie: We do, we’re best friends in real life. It definitely started as a musical connection and it grew very quickly and organically into a really great friendship, he’s definitely my brother through and through and I’m his brother through and through. Same, same (laughs) we’re very close and he’s definitely my main support system in and out of the industry.
What made you guys decide to give CTV’s “The Launch” a shot?
Elijah: It was a really supportive team, we were reached out to from the team probably last April. We initially didn’t think it was the look for us but we started talking to them and going through the avenues of what The Launch was all about and found it really spoke to what we were about musically. The Launch is really about the music and the experience of getting to work with a high calibre of people and we love that. We can’t say enough about their team, they were super supportive and just really got us.
How did it feel to realize that you were going to be a part of this experience?
Jamie: It felt like a closed door that was leading to the next one to open. It had been such a long process and we really had to decide if this was the right look for us. When we finally accepted it and got the call, that’s when we felt like we had made our next move and started to prepare for the show itself.
Who were some of your favourite people to work with on the show? Did you have any specific star struck moments?
Jamie: Elijah and I try to stay grounded as much as possible and we try to be professional in every kind of setting obviously. Working on The Launch—with people like Jennifer Nettles and Ryan Tedder—it’s really exciting. It’s actually sort of our comfort zone though, that’s what we do. A professional is a professional, is a professional, right? That’s what we do every day, we’re in the studio and we work with people. Although it’s an honour to work with those people, when we’re in the moment, we try to keep everyone as equals. What we’re thankful for is those people that we work with actually do the same.
Elijah: Working at that level and at that pace is something that Jamie and I are familiar with, but working with people who have credits like that is pretty wild. It’s pretty humbling when they respect your ideas and treat you like an equal. At the end of the day, they were all really great people and great artists too. I’ve been a huge One Republic fan since day one. We’re huge creeps, so when we figured out our filming time, we went online to figure out when Ryan Tedder was working in hopes of working together (laughs).
Jamie: The three days that he wasn’t touring happened to be the three days that we were filming on, so we figured we definitely had Ryan Tedder. When you walk in and you see someone like that, the frontman for One Republic, you try to play it cool (laughs).
You two must have been through a whirlwind these past few months. How has this effected your relationships with family & friends?
Elijah: The most difficult thing for the both of us is that we’re moving at such a fast pace that it’s tough to even involve people. There are so many things on the go and you want to inform people about it all, but bringing them all up to speed and sharing the emotions with them is often tough. There are thirty things in a day that you want to fill them in on.
Jamie: It’s such a different job but that’s what people forget; it’s our job. I don’t go to my mom’s law office and ask how I can help, for example. This is such an interactive and social job that people want and think they can be involved in, and we want them to be involved too, but we do often forget that it’s our job and that we can’t bring everyone everywhere.
What was your reaction when you found out that you were Launched?
Jamie: We kind of forgot that the cameras were there. When we went upstairs and into the studio, they told us that they were filming and it became so surreal. They made us film our reaction again because we didn’t quite realize what was happening at the moment.
Your song ‘Ain’t Easy’ has become a hit. How does it feel when you hear your song come on the radio?
Elijah: The first time that we heard it in the studio, it was at a point where we already had it memorized even before the chorus. Like Ryan said in the episode, the song was about 20% too ‘pop’ for us, so I think that was the most fulfilling part of it, that we made the song ours. It was cool hearing it on the radio. We have other songs on the radio but none that did this well. It’s been cool seeing snapchats from all over the world, whether it was Texas, Australia, etc. We’ve never seen that before, and it’s humbling.
Can you tell us a little bit about your recording process?
Elijah: Inspiration comes from everywhere for us. Sometimes, Jamie will send me a rough idea of something she was thinking, or an idea of something relative. It’ll stem from anywhere. I’ll write a scratch instrumental then Jamie and I will try to play off of it. We also use things going on in our lives sometimes too.
Do you have a favourite song to perform together?
Jamie: Yeah. Elijah and I love performing Lean On. We do a rendition of Lean On a little bit differently than we do in the show. It’s a little grittier, it’s like a rock concert that hits you good.
If you could describe each other in one word what would that be?
Jamie: I would say great hair (laughs). No but for real, accepting is what I would say for Elijah.
Elijah: Versatile for Jamie.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before Elijah, but you share the name of the actor who played Frodo in Lord of The Rings, has anyone ever mistaken you on social media?
Elijah: Yeah absolutely. I think about 3 times a day, I get a tag on Instagram or something like that saying I’ve been tagged in a photo of Elijah Wood in Mordor, or something like that, some sort of Lord of the Rings tie. I don’t think his actual Instagram is Elijah Wood, it’s something else, so people tag me by accident all the time. Whenever we’re in the airport, the flight attendants always give me a look or two and I know what they’re thinking, so I tell them I just came from Isengard or somewhere like that.
Speaking of social media—what ways do you use social media to connect with your fans?
Jamie: We got really good advice from Rick Barker. He works with the label that we’re signed to quite often. With a duo like Elijah and I, I think it’s really important for people to get a sense of who we are, and I think that’s how they’ll connect to our music more. We use social media as a way to show fans who we are, we’re goofy and fun and that’s how we want people to see us. I think that’s what’s great about social media because you can show people who you really are.
When you’re not in the studio or working on music where would we find you? What are your favourite things to do in Ottawa?
Jamie: I love going out and dancing more than anything else in the world, it’s like my release. People on George Street and Kavali on Clarence are my spots. Very rarely do I drink, I just drive down and go, so I’m often the designated driver. It’s a good release since music is such a big part of our lives. Elijah is terrible in a club by the way, don’t ever go to a club with Elijah (laughs).
With Elijah, I think his comfort zone is in the studio and in the Sun Flower Bake Shop. Spending time with his girlfriend and his family is really important to him. For me, being around friends and family is super important, so we try to get as much of that in as possible, whether that’s at our parents house or whatever. We want to take advantage of the time we do have especially since we’re away so much.
Where do you guys see yourself in the next 5 years? Any hard goals?
Jamie: Elijah and I try to avoid that question as often as we can, and here’s why. We try to avoid it because we so strongly believe in trying to stay in the moment and to take it day by day. The perfect example is this T.V. show. We met our manager about a year and a half ago, and we made a plan. It completely changed at the end of that year and a half. We were somewhere completely different than where we thought we were going to be. We realized the importance of setting short-term goals and also long-term goals, but we try to take in the moment and we know things are going to change. In five years, we’re still going to be making music and we’re still going to be working hard, but hopefully with a couple of Grammy’s under our belt (laughs).
Elijah: I think Jamie and I’s biggest goal is to do something that we love each day. We’ve been lucky enough to do that for a while now. Our ultimate goal is to be writers, and I think that’s a pretty liberating career. You can write and sell whenever you want with no ties attached. I think our long term goal is to keep the adrenaline going. A lot of people get caught up with the money and whatnot but I don’t want to get side-tracked. I need to stick around this and continue being happy because we never want to lose it.