The West

Schmidt s star on the rise
Schmidt's star on the rise

At 21, Elisa Schmidt has the world at her feet.

The Berlin-based singer-songwriter who goes simply by her last name has just released her debut album, Femme Schmidt - the first album wholly produced by English hit-maker Guy Chambers since Robbie Williams' chart-topping 2002 release Escapology.

The smoky-voiced temptress first knew what she was going to do with her life at age 10, but she had to wait until she was old enough to pursue singing.

"When I was 16, I was old enough to be able to decide I could go to a music school in the south of London," she recalls. "That's when I started writing my first songs.

"After that, I went to America for nine months with a friend just travelling around, learning the language a little bit better and collecting some stories.

"Then I came back to Germany and finished my schooling and two months later, I got signed by Warners, so it happened pretty fast."

The record label already had a song in mind for Schmidt with the Chambers-penned Stay, which features on her debut album.

"Guy said I can sing it but only if I let him produce it," she says.

"I was like 'Oh my God, Guy Chambers is going to produce one song on my album'. I was actually really excited about that, I flew to London and we had two days scheduled and we were already finished recording this one track after the first day."

On the second day, their chemistry flourished and they further developed the pop noir sound of Femme Schmidt, which harks back to cabaret sounds of the 1920s.

"We wrote a song called Shadowman, and I think that was quite different to everything I had ever written, and also it pushed him into a different direction," she says.

"He then asked me if I wanted to do the whole album with him, and it worked out."

Now Schmidt is in full flight. She recently completed her first Australian tour, which saw her score a run of support slots at Elton John's recent east coast shows. The songstress says she was impressed about how the veteran and his crew were able to relax on the road.

"The whole crew treated us unbelievably," she says.

"Some of them have been touring with each other for 40 years, and they've taken us in like we were always there. Elton's even got his little kid running around backstage playing football."

The West Australian

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