Onstage, Elohim is a pillar of strength. She exudes confidence as she stands tall behind a display of synths, laptops and drum machines, backlit by an array of projected images — a fearless one-woman show. This is the side of herself the singer-producer shares with the world. But flip the coin and you’ll see a woman who’s delighted by the thought of being alone.
“I have a side that is extraordinarily outgoing and an opposing side that is closed and sheltered from the world,” she explains. “My favorite face is my extroverted, confident woman, but I also struggle with severe anxiety, and that represents the more introverted side to me. Sometimes it overwhelms me to leave my house, but there is peace in solitude. Loneliness is not something to curse but can be a welcome friend at times. I cherish my one-on-one time with myself.”
This dichotomy is nothing new for the artist, who’s been singing since she was a baby and playing the piano since she was 5 years old, all while struggling with anxiety. And though elusive about most of her backstory, Elohim is open about her condition — embracing her vulnerability instead of letting it defeat her, with hopes her pop-forward brand of what she calls “experiential electronic” can help others.
“My soul wants to do more, experience more, be more; my brain doesn’t always agree,” she admits. “I am me. I struggle, but I want to share my struggles with others. My anxiety and introversion have gifted me unique ways to share music without giving away too much off the bat. … I have given everything I am through my music and my music has given me life. … I live for manipulating and altering sounds.”
For a woman on a journey to find her own strength and meaning, it is not surprising the musician chose the moniker she did. Elohim is the Hebrew word for “God,” and to the Topanga Canyon native, nothing is more holy than music.
“The first time I heard the word ‘Elohim,’ I was moved in a really deep way,” she recalls. “Something about the phonetics and the way it rolled off the tongue. As I was in the paradox that is unraveling my purpose and sound as an independent woman and artist, that name never left my mind. It brought me strength, solace, beauty and confidence. That is what Elohim means to me. I needed positive affirmations in my life and thought, 'Why not call myself something that makes me feel and embody strength?' … I have respect for the name Elohim and its lifetime of sacred meaning. This process has helped me believe in myself and overcome my fears, which is godly in its own way.”
But no matter how strong the person, sometimes anxiety becomes all-encompassing and manifests itself physically. “I have, on more than a few occasions, puked prior to going onstage,” Elohim confesses. “The hype and creation of the beast in my own brain that compounds the nerves, it is extremely frustrating. I love performing, so why is my brain trying to psych me out? As soon as I step one foot onstage, I am a different person. I am Elohim. I step out of my form and into one that is strong, confident and free of fear. I find that with a lot of stuff in life, once you jump you're fine.”
Despite the feeling of unease before stepping onstage, Elohim has never let her anxiety prevent her from performing. She’s toured with the likes of Jai Wolf and Louis the Child, and recently announced a tour supporting Alison Wonderland this fall; she’s playing three shows in one day at this year’s Lollapalooza and has been billed on numerous other festivals, including Coachella. For her last hometown, headlining show, she sold out the Echoplex — a feat the singer says changed her life. “I had a moment of looking at myself and truly feeling very proud of my art and accomplishments.”
When it comes to the music, Elohim is nothing but genuine and open about her struggles — sometimes overtly, as on the 2016 track “Xanax,” which describes her experiences with panic attacks, and sometimes discreetly. “Hallucinating” is an uptempo, tropical house–driven tune that promotes self-love, while her latest single, “Skinny Legs,” is about the battle between her and her inner self, beginning with the feeling of trepidation and uneasiness and ending on “the other side of the panic attack,” as the singer describes it. “Now I know not to mess with my head, treat my life with love and respect,” she sings at the end of the track. “All we are is all we are.”
“I want people to feel like they have a safe, calm and encouraging place with my music,” Elohim says. “I hope the music can transcend anyone at anytime into another fantastical world they dream of living in.”
Elohim will do a free show at the Hammer Museum with Suzi Analogue and KCRW DJ Marion Hodges on Thursday, July 20. More info.