Unlike other singers I have come to know, I probably would not have encountered this young talent if I hadn’t heard her mother, Wendy Koulouris, sing in the band the Sweet Judys. After covering that band I started following the group and its singers as I often do with most bands I cover. A couple years after I first heard the Sweet Judys, I saw Wendy post about her daughter, Elliana, performing. I saw a few songs her mother had posted and then had the opportunity to go watch her perform live.
The Hard Rock Café in Pittsburgh has a monthly Singer-Songwriter Showcase where they have a small handful of artists play a couple of songs and talk a little about the songs and themselves. So in April, Elliana was one of the performers and I was able to attend. There were five performers that night that rotated through performing one song at a time for the audience. Of the five, Elliana was the youngest.
Even though Elliana was only 15, she was not new to playing an instrument, writing songs or singing. She started playing piano at four, ukulele at 12 and guitar just a year ago at 14. When I commented that she must be pretty good at piano since she started at four and she played the other two well, she replied “I’m OK”. Based on her performance on ukulele and guitar, I’m guessing she’s better than OK. She seemed very calm on stage and during the interview I found that the stage was not new to her. At the age of ten, Elliana starred in the lead role, Gabriella, in the musical “High School Musical”. In addition to her singing, as you would guess from her appearance at the Hard Rock, she has done some song writing.
She wrote her first song, “Live Your Life”, three years ago. The song is about making choices and following the path to achieve happiness. Being a young singer-songwriter, she was accepted into the Reimagination program hosted by WYEP. This program helps to equip young artists for the skills needed for succeeding in the music world. Through this program she was able to record her song, “Repeat”, at the Church Recording Studio. This song was about her experiences with virtual learning during the COVID quarantine. But one song isn’t enough for this motivated young musician. She is working on an album that has 10 other songs in addition to this one, which she hopes to release in the not to distant future. One of the songs we discussed, which was a Hard Rock crowd favorite was “Vibe”. It is about things that make her happy and a reminder that life is worth living. As with all musicians, they confess that they would not be where they are without other people in their lives.
In Elliana’s case, her biggest musical influences lives right in the same house, her mother. She has had the opportunity growing up to hear her mother’s live performances. She was also exposed to a variety of music in her life from her parents. There are two artists that you may know which have also helped influence her music. They are Olivia Rodrigo, which she saw the weekend before her own performance, and Easha. Now that I have taken some time to introduce you to this up and coming performer, let me go back to the show at the Hard Rock.
Elliana showed her skills at both the guitar and the ukulele as she performed three of her songs that night. The first song was on the ukulele and the second two were both on her guitar. As I mentioned, she seemed very calm and performed like she did it every day. I commented to her during the interview how relaxed she seemed and she laughed and said she was definitely more nervous than it showed. I was impressed at the songs she was able to perform both by her musical style as well as her songwriting ability. As I look back, I was fortunate to have had the pleasure to see the Sweet Judys perform. Not only was I lucky to see their great act, but also because of that show, I had the fortune to discover another young local talent. I am glad to finally have the opportunity to hear Elliana sing and am looking forward to more of her performances in the months to come. If you’d like to follow this young lady to see where the future takes her, you can do that on Instagram @elliana_musicoffical or as el.is.me on TikTok.
Sometimes we never know where life is taking us. I have been on the planet for many years and am surprised at what opportunities come my way. Elliana isn’t sure where her musical journey will lead, but she is hoping that it will someday become her career. She realizes that a combination of hard work and a never give up attitude is the only way to possibly make her dream a reality. One thing’s for sure, whatever direction this young talented lady’s dream takes her she will bless people with the words of her songs and the sound of her voice.