Boston artist releases single from upcoming album documenting queer experiences in the city

Elsie+Eastman+has+released+the+first+single%2C+titled+5+AM+from+her+debut+album.

Elsie Eastman has released the first single, titled “5 AM” from her debut album.

Brighton-based artist Elsie Eastman released her first single from her debut studio album on Friday, July 29, giving local listeners a taste of her honest and whimsical storytelling. 

The singer-songwriter, originally from Kennebunk, Maine, released the piano-heavy track titled “5 AM” to “set the tone for the rest of the album.” 

“5 AM” is an intimate track, with Eastman’s self-written lyrics sharing a look into her life as a young adult in Boston, learning to live and love with those we open our hearts to.

“[The song] centers around a moment of anxiety and slight panic after bringing someone home to bed and not being sure, while still lying next to that person, if you made the right choice,” said Eastman. 

The piano, played and arranged by Eastman herself, takes the lead in this song, and provides a soft backdrop to the intensity of the moment described with the lyrics. Eastman’s heightened vocals in the chorus help build the tension between the narrator and the listener. 

“This song is probably the most emotional song on the album and is intended to pull the listener into the room,” Eastman stated. “Maybe they also have made some mistakes in their choice of lover.” 

The track, as a whole, is a wonderful way for Eastman to launch herself as a professional artist. The production, led by Bryan Fennelly, is leaps and bounds ahead of Eastman’s self-produced EP “Postcards,” which was released in 2017. The EP was recorded by Eastman using just a basic microphone in her mother’s laundry room. 

Eastman’s lyricism has reached new levels of maturity, and the flow of the song is like a blend of Taylor Swift’s emotional storytelling and a Disney princess movie heavy on whimsical, airy tracks. 

Eastman, a singer-songwriter based out of Brighton, is set to release her first album this fall. (Katherine Keenan)

The star of the instrumental, however, has to be the cello that comes in around the start of the second verse. Arranged and played by Boston cellist Kai Crull, the powerful subtlety of the deeper notes elevates the song to an entirely new level. 

The bridge of the track is truly where Eastman, Crull and Fennelly come together to show the magic of what music can be. In this section, Eastman’s voice and the backing cello fight tentatively for the listener’s attention, adding just enough layering to keep the song new, exciting and crisp. 

Eastman shows off her belt in this area of the song, and has this listener hoping there is more room for her lower register on the full tracklist of her upcoming album. While Eastman’s head voice is soft and dreamy, the strength of her chest voice is far more impressive and breathtaking. 

Eastman has themed her album around “being young and queer in the city” and the unique time in your life where one “makes all kinds of mistakes and questionable choices while learning how to be an adult human.”

The album, whose title has not been released yet, is set to release some time this fall. Eastman’s debut single, “5 AM,” is now streaming on all major platforms. 

Check out Eastman’s website for upcoming performances and more. 

Follow Emily on Twitter @emilyhbeatty.