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Elizabeth South is not your average singer/songwriter. She is also a full-time elementary music and drama teacher. She pursues her goal of a worldwide music ministry to both young and old with as much passion as she always devotes to her teaching.
Elizabeth’s music explores the eclectic styles of country, theater, spirituality, romance, ballad, and even dance. She pours her heart into every song she writes. Her Music Therapy background has also found a home in her music, being both healing and uplifting. Her voice has been described as dynamic, mysterious, magical, soothing, and angelic.
Since Elizabeth first began singing in public when she was about seven years old, she has been involved in many live performances, singing solos at various venues, singing in choirs and musicals, and performing in various plays including several at the North Carolina Theater. As part of her artistic development, she attended prominent schools such as the North Carolina School of the Arts and New York University (NYU), where she studied in the musical theater program and in the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts. She has two undergraduate degrees, one in drama and the other in Music Therapy, and she also received a Master of Arts in Teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill. She now teaches music and drama full time in a prominent elementary private school in Durham, NC.
Elizabeth has worked in Nashville, TN, with a number of musicians, engineers, and other persons in the music field. She has completed six albums in connection with her producer, Billy Smiley, who was the founder and writer for the rock group White Heart. In May of 2009, Smiley heard Elizabeth’s song, “Have Faith,” and corresponded with her about producing that song for release worldwide. So they got together in Nashville and co-wrote twelve songs for her 2010 debut release called “The Mysteries of Our Minds.” Elizabeth’s Nationwide Radio Single from that album, “Have Faith,” came close to hitting the Top 20 on the Billboards for Soft/AC Inspirational and was in the Top 10 for Most Added to Radio stations several times. The song reached the Top 30 in Christian Radio Weekly as well. The song aired on radio stations such as American Family Radio and WEEC. Elizabeth has been a featured artist through several radio interviews on these stations. She filmed her first music video, “Have Faith,” with Dove Award winner, Ben Pearson (Michael W Smith – “This is Your Time” and “Blue Like Jazz The Movie”). The video explores a theme that is important to Elizabeth personally. The song has touched many people all over the world by bringing hope, faith, and encouragement to those who are hurting.
Elizabeth’s second album, “Do It Afraid,” was released on November 1, 2011. Her inspiration for this album and the song came after she surprisingly developed stage fright several years ago. One morning when she was terrified of a particular upcoming performance, she read a book written by Joyce Meyer that was called “Do It Afraid.” Elizabeth was immediately inspired to write the song, “Do It Afraid,” after reading that book. In Joyce Meyer’s book, she shares the true life story of Elisabeth Elliot’s fear of returning to the ministry in Ecuador after her husband, Jim Elliot, had been killed by the very people they had ministered to. Elisabeth Elliott was paralyzed by the feelings of fear and every time she tried to go back into ministry, her fear stopped her. Then a friend told her something that set her free. Her friend said, “Why don’t you do it afraid?” She then followed that advice and went back to evangelize the Indian tribe of Ecuador, including the very people who had killed the one she loved. Many times we think we should wait to do something when we no longer feel afraid. The concept of “no fear” has become a popular motto. And while that is a wonderful idea, many of us have a difficult time getting rid of those feelings of fear no matter how much we pray or believe. But if we wait until we no longer feel afraid, we may accomplish very little for God, others, and ourselves. So even if you feel afraid, go ahead and do what God has called you to do, knowing that He will always be with you, even if you have to do it afraid!
Elizabeth’s second Radio Single, “I Will Trust You,” which is a track from the album, “Do It Afraid,” was released as a Single and was also on the Billboards twice for most added to stations. It is still continuing to make an impact today in a music video. The music video for “I Will Trust You” and the “Do It Afraid” album were featured in the www.INTERLINC-online.com Music Video Loop and YLO Youth Leader’s Catalog.
Elizabeth’s song, “Don’t Give Up,” was released as a Single, and was also offered as a Bonus track on her “Do It Afraid” Album. Even though Elizabeth explored various styles of music on her debut and sophomore albums, this song expresses a pop/rock/electronic dance style that is a totally new genre for her. Many listeners love listening to all of her songs, but kept encouraging her to do an upbeat rock song as well. So Elizabeth chose to write a song in a style of music that she enjoys. “Don’t Give Up” was programmed by Joel Wild. The song expresses an idea that Elizabeth has been wanting to share for a long time of never giving up on the things in life that are important to her such as love, goals, dreams, and perseverance. Her third music video for this song, “Don’t Give Up,” was also directed by Ben Pearson.
Elizabeth released her third album, a beautiful “Christmas” six pack on December 1, 2011. You can purchase a physical CD on her website or download the songs digitally on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. “Just a Prayer Away,” her fourth album, is a Worship EP that Elizabeth released only digitally during the summer of 2012. You can find the EP only on iTunes, CDbaby, and Amazon.
The song, “Don’t Give Up” was so popular among Elizabeth’s students that she teaches that they encouraged her to record more rock, dance, country, and upbeat songs. So Elizabeth decided to go back in the summer of 2012 to Nashville, TN, and record her fifth album called “I Love You.” She recorded a song called “Superstar.” This upbeat Katy Perry styled song was inspired and dedicated to the elementary students she teaches to let her little “stars” know that they don’t have to be the most famous person in the world to be special, but to know they are special just the way they are. Her students were honored and excited by this release and Music Video (also directed by Ben Pearson) and will even sing the song for their upcoming Music program in May. The music video features the child actor, Evan Fielding, who is also featured in Big & Rich’s “That’s Why I Pray” Music Video.
Elizabeth was also very excited and honored to have 20 time grammy Country Music Star, Vince Gill, sing the duet part with her on the album title track Elizabeth co-wrote with producer Billy Smiley called “I Love You (feat. Vince Gill).” This was her very first real country song and to get Vince Gill to sing with her on it was an incredible honor! Elizabeth’s music video and song “I Love You (duet with Vince Gill)” was so successful that a prominent Radio Promotion company picked it to be featured to stations and industry people for Valentine’s Day, 2013 and had 38 adds within the first week! The Music Video was also picked up by Zuus Country Network (formerly TCN – The Country Network). It debuted on the station for the first time on Elizabeth’s birthday (June 7, 2013) and has been in rotation since then. This was an honor for Elizabeth because it was her first time airing on National TV on a music television station. If you would like to stay up to date with future air dates for the Video on the station, follow Elizabeth on her Facebook page or Twitter.
Elizabeth’s cover of Disney’s Frozen “Let It Go” was the first place Winner in the Ryan Seacrest March Music Madness Best Cover of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” Contest. It was also chosen as one of the Top 10 versions in the online Celebrity and Entertainment News source TheCelebrityCafe.com. She also released “The Disney Album” on December 19, 2014 along with a “Disney Medley” video that premiered exclusively on RyanSeacrest.com entitled “Woman Embodies 12 Disney Princesses in Beautiful 14-Song Medley” and has over 15 million views to date.
In conjunction with Elizabeth’s amazingly pure and beautiful voice, Billy Smiley, who also sang and played acoustic guitar, put together a great cast of musicians and engineers to totally create the right environment for her voice to come through like never before on her albums. These musicians include Vince Gill – duet vocals on “I Love You” (20 grammy country star); Jim Daneker – orchestral programming for the “Disney Medley”; Rick Florian—vocals (lead singer of White Heart—sang with Elizabeth on “Someday,” “I Will Follow,” and “Do It Afraid” ); Christine & Scott Dente – vocals and acoustic guitar (Out of the Grey); Blair Masters—piano and synths (Casting Crowns, Mercy Me); Steve Brewster – drums on “I Love You” album (played on numerous famous artists’ albums); Ken Lewis—drums (Michael W Smith, etc. plays for Elizabeth’s “Do It Afraid” album); Dennis Holt—drums (Taylor Swift, City on a Hill, played on Elizabeth ‘s “The Mysteries of our Minds); Matt Pierson—bass (Michael W, Smith, Natalie Grant); Anthony Sallee – bass (player for White Heart & played on Elizabeth’s cover of “Desert Rose”); Scott Denté—acoustic guitar, and Christine Denté—vocals (Out of the Grey); George Cocchini—guitars (DC Talk); Gordon Kennedy—sitar (White Heart); Brennan Smiley—guitars (Charity Von, Di Stasio); Greg Hagan—guitars (Little Big Town, Katinas); Joel Wild (programmed “Don’t Give Up On Your Love”); and Billy Whittington—mixing engineer (Vanessa Williams, Amy Grant, Twila Paris).
Elizabeth is also very excited to continue presenting herself and her music to the world—with the aspiration that her songs will connect with people and bring them into a different place where they can think about life, love, and the mysteries surrounding the choices and decisions one makes. “I am encouraged,” says Elizabeth, “when I hear from people who say my music touches them on some level, that it helps heal them and connects them to happiness and hope in a fresh way. I feel as if my voice was a special gift from the beginning, even as a little girl, and so I love to be able to share that gift with people who listen, so that the music and my voice can be a healing wind for them.”
Elizabeth also wishes to leave a message for all of her listeners who write her often and purchase her music: “I am so grateful to each and every one of you for your wonderful messages about my music and for purchasing my music. It encourages me daily. You are all so kind and I thank you all. Please understand and know how grateful I truly am.”
Elizabeth concludes with this thought, “If I can take my music to the larger world, then I will feel as if I have come full circle from being that little girl who just loved to sing to being the accomplished artist who is able to do what I was made to do.”