Elana Belle Carol aka Party Nails is an electro-pop LA-based musician and performer. Personally she inspires me in the way she has ran head first after her passion, moving from NYC where her family and friends are to LA because she just knew it was the right step for her own future. I love her music and the vulnerable way she shares her life and her art with everyone around her. Listening to Party Nails feels like you’re hanging out with your BFF, as does talking with Elana.
Thanks for being so vulnerable with me Elana! I learned so much from talking with you. Read on to see how Elana motivates herself to keep driving and playing the game, even when so many things around you telling you it isn’t working.
p.s. you should definitely listen to her music while reading this interview, it’s the perfect backdrop.
I’ve always had fears – everyone has fears obviously. Not everyone has to deal with them in the form of anxiety and depression but a lot of us do. I’ve just found that my anxiety has been in direct opposition to what I want to do… and it’s funny because what I want to do isn’t really a choice it just sort of is what I’m good at, so it’s been a really long journey!
I really feel like [being] really genuinely free in yourself, is actually more habit than it is magic. Once you figure out how to be in your happy bubble, it’s never easy to stay there. It’s a force of habit. there’s always going to be something that comes and tries to make it harder for you, and sometimes you can fall back. and you’re going to have to re-dig yourself out of it. And that’s totally cool, that’s totally normal — it doesn’t mean you’ve failed at being free and powerful and good.
Positivity is different – you really need to put yourself out there, you need to try it. And before you know it, all this good stuff is like a snow ball effect. Like smiles, or hugs, or just talking a little bit louder than you normally would, or wearing something wacky. You just try it, and sometimes it doesn’t feel great, but sometimes you’re like “helloooooo!” and it feels awesome.
Is that what singing is for you? You said you don’t feel you have a choice, what do you mean?
I’ve always done it [singing] and even when I hadn’t necessarily decided that was what I wanted to do, there I was, a teenager in a show with local musicians who were all twice my age. It was really fun, because I wasn’t taking it seriously, it always felt like it was going to end at any moment — but it was 10 years of that! Same thing in college – it took me 2 years to realize I really did want to take all the music theory and music history classes. It was a little bit of fear on my part, being like, I can’t do this. Because who the fuck am I? All the people who are musicians are not like me, I’m not a real musician, who am I to want to do this?
But the thing is there’s as many different ways to do music as there are to be a person. and so much of that has to do with plunging in and accepting that and just doing what you do. So yeah I guess that is what singing is for me. Singing kept being like “Helloooo Elana! I’m ready when you are!” And finally I was like, Ok! This is it! There’s other things, but I still end up writing songs when I’m falling asleep, so I might as well try. But like, all the way.
What was the moment when you were like, “Yeah, I’m going to go all the way.”
I feel like I reaffirm that once a week! Yeah, it was probably when I moved here [LA]. I remember thinking, I just have to go there even if I don’t know anyone, even if I don’t know if I want to live there. So I did. And that was really scary.
I don’t know if it’s just me, that i need to learn the hard way, or if there’s just something about doing scary things that reinforces that that is for you. There’s these moments where you feel like you have all this information in front of you and it’s kind of against you. You can’t just be like “Alright, well, this is no.” You come up with a cool way to make it work, and it’s something you’ve never thought of. It had to be uprooted in order for you to come up with a new way to do it. Finding a way to really truly build a life out of those risky moments — that is really grounding and powerful and makes you feel like you can do stuff, you trust yourself to do stuff.
Is there a moment recently where you had to do something a new way, your normal way got uprooted?
So many times it’s just like there’s no way I can do this – make my shit work with all the different people who have come into the picture, keep my band excited and anybody who follows me on the internet and myself excited enough to make new stuff. I’d be waitressing or on the bus and feeling really broke and I just feel like — there’s no way I can do this. But in the back of my mind, and through the help of my many supporters like my mom and my boyfriend, there’s always a voice that’s like, “Don’t be an idiot, you’ve solved other problems before. You can’t just quit because you don’t feel like it. You just have to play this game.”
I think about when Cher from Clueless says “The White House can certainly play with the Haitians, you just have to get in there and rearrange some things!”
That moment right before I’m going to give up — if I just get in there and give up whatever I think it should look like, then whatever I make from that is usually the right thing.
More often than not, you just start peppy, and that just sets the tone for everyone around me. I do this everyday. I say, “Ok, I’m walking through the door, and I’m going to be a little bit louder, a little bit sassier than I feel comfortable being,” even if I’m overwhelmed or upset. You get back what you give. It really pays off, because people can depend on you to be that person.
Anything else you want to say or talk about?
What I feel like is working for me now are all things that I really really struggled to do earlier in my 20s. I couldn’t deal with anything, I would just cry everywhere. Being able to ask for help in a way that other people can understand what you need – I can’t stress enough how much all of that matters. It can just be a really scary place to feel like you don’t have anything to grab on to that gives you a feeling of happiness and excitement in your own life. And it’s there, it’s totally there, even when you feel like it’s not.