By now, you may have seen our latest video, which follows along with four unique fashion personalities on their everyday adventuring:
Throughout each vignette, a musical narrator enchants us with her dreamy, mood-drenched melodies. This fetching fiddle player is none other than our very own Senior Marketing Analyst, Elizabeth. And today, she is officially debuting her album, “Pindrop,” a release that was over four years in the making!
At ModCloth, Elizabeth and her teammates are the data hunters, gatherers, and interpreters. They comb through heaps of information to find meaningful patterns of behavior from our customers and community members.
“We’re in a unique position as an online retailer, because we can’t look through our shop windows and see if people are loving something, but then picking it up and putting it back down. So, we’re sort of like the shop windows,” she says. “There’s so much behavioral data to sift through when people shop on ModCloth. We get to look at the fun questions– What kind of mood is she in when she gets to the site? How are we doing right by her, or not doing right by her?”
When she’s off the clock, Elizabeth makes music — crafting compositions, fine-tuning her skills, and performing with friends and family. Music was a huge part of her life from day one — her parents are both lifelong fiddle players (her mom has played at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and her dad has played Carnegie Hall in New York) and instructors. Even as a small child growing up in rural Washington state, she was always eager to join them. But her path to being a fiddle player wasn’t as clear cut as you’d think.
“They both sort of deemed me as unteachable when I was seven,” she chuckles. “They said, ‘You know what? You don’t seem to care much about violin, so we’re going to start you off with piano. And then you can back up the family band.'”
And yes, they had a family band. They played local festivals, charity events, and the like, performing renditions of classic Americana, traditional bluegrass, and Scottish and Irish folk music, among other genres. When she became a teenager, Elizabeth switched to guitar and started delving into very structured and technical jazz music, honing her techniques and finding her voice.
She moved to New York City in 2004 and started performing regularly and focusing on recording an album of her songwriting output. In 2011, she enlisted several esteemed musicians, including Will Lee, bassist for the house band for Late Night with David Letterman and Al Pitrelli, creative director for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and original member of Alice Cooper, to bolster her compositions, and recorded with a well-known producer who had a few gold records under his belt. However, legal battles ensued with him, and she ended up having to fight a two-year battle to get the ownership rights for her own material. Throughout the legal ordeal, the struggle wore on her, and her recordings have been vaulted…until now.
“So that’s why I started the violin. I thought about something musical that’s really hard, and that’s going to distract me,” she says. “And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done… It kind of makes my whole musical journey go full circle, because when I was a little girl, I wanted to learn how to play the violin, but my parents were too busy for that.”
Nowadays, Elizabeth lives in the Bay Area. She jokes that her parents may feel a bit guilty for leading her away from the fiddle at first, but now she flies back to join them for their monthly jam sessions with other local musicians and continues to play on her own time. Her learnings and struggles have guided her direction to the next step in her journey in all areas of her life.
“A lot of both my professional and musical career has been about finding my voice as an individual and not being the backup person,” she says. “When you first start in analytics, you do a lot of really horrible things, like, ‘here, tidy up this data set.’ As you get further along and learn more techniques, you get to think more critically. It’s been fun to see both of my careers move in that direction.”
And the silver lining is that she found the confidence to be louder and prouder. “All of these things go together as a literal transformation [from me] from being a wallflower to being center stage,” she said. “You have to have the humility to build a strong foundation, and the self-love and self-respect to stand behind your own point of view. That’s everything in music– and in data visualization.”
Get the new album, Pindrop, right here on Bandcamp.
Lush and complex, contemplative and world-wise, it’s full of folk and jazz influences, intricate guitar work, and layered arrangements, all fronted by Elizabeth’s elegant vocals. Give it a listen.
+Wanna see Elizabeth in action? Take a closer look.