Despite an admittedly shaky ‘American Idol’ run– and we’re talking only in terms of number of appearances in the Bottom 3 before an eventual Top 6 elimination –Mount Pleasant native Elise Testone has always been one infused with a musical talent beyond her years. Fans of her stellar voice and performance skills demonstrated with relative ease during such ‘Idol’ showings as “Whole Lotta Love” and “Vienna” will be pleased to know that, finally, over two years since the premiere of her ‘Idol’ season, she’s released her debut solo album. It comes in the form of “In This Life” , a 10-piece full-length release drenched in blues, soul, and roots-based influence with prime vocals and songwriting to match.
This much is evident in the titular track that opens the album, which is accentuated by a gritty vocal set against a full and varied instrumental that does well in its purpose of emphasizing an in-your-face delivery. Tracks such as debut single “I Will Not Break” are also standouts for the reasons opposite of why “In This Life” would be one, featuring sparse instrumental work paired with a sparse, yet effortlessly and gorgeously leveled vocal perfect for accentuating a moment of realizing one’s self-worth with an arrangement that would go well with listeners playing over the radio at a mall or local shopping center quite well. Each one of the ten tracks has its own specific “feeling” to it that one might need to listen to more than just once or twice to really grab a hold of, but once they do, they won’t want to let go. “In This Life” is an album full of beautiful twists and turns in the story that it tells, and it tells it effortlessly through the voice and songwriting savvy of its creator.
Over the past two years, it’s completely obvious that Elise hasn’t been slacking off. She’s been keeping on top of her game by remaining busy, working her connections and making sure not to become stagnant in any sense. All of that hard work has paid off in the form of her debut album, and while she may or may not ever be the star she could have been should she have made it just a little further on the ‘Idol’ stage, there is absolutely no doubt that what she has created here on her own is as major a personal achievement as there ever could be, and for those who will eventually be lucky enough to listen in on “In This Life”– It’s admittedly not a style that’s suited for everyone, but for those who are down with the sound, they’ll be in for a great treat. Elise will go down in history as an artist true to herself through and through, and that in itself will always be her greatest benefit, her debut album standing as evidence of that.
You can keep up with Elise via Facebook or Twitter for all of the latest on her career.