Elise Davis writes songs “really directly from my life, for the most part.” But “Married Young” — premiering below from the Arkansas-born country singer’s sophomore album, Cactus — lets Davis, who’s never been married, blend her story with another’s.
Davis co-wrote “Married Young” with Erin Enderlin and Alex Kline and let Enderlin’s story set the tone for the track. “Erin got married when she was young, and we were talking about that,” Davis tells Billboard. “I was talking to her about this person I was seeing when I was 20 years old, living in a shitty little apartment. He exposed me to Tom Waits and vinyl and stuff like that. So (the song is) a merging of the fact she got married when she was young; The chorus is about that, and the rest of the song is nostalgia from this relationship I had when I was young.”
Davis isn’t sure how the man in question will take to this, but she’s tempted to find out. “I thought about sending it to him,” she says. “I haven’t done it, but when he hears the verses he’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.”
As far as Davis is concerned, however, “Married Young” still fits the thematic flow of Cactus, which was produced by Jordan Lehning and is due out in September. “There’s a heavy theme of a person feeling like a lone wolf,” she explains. “I had a group of about 50 songs in front of me, and I noticed that my favorite ones were often coming from that perspective, this kind of voice that was independent, on purpose. That’s what I consider the theme of the album overall. It’s always been natural when I write to be bold. I like singing about being sexually liberated, and I think a lot of that sexual liberation vibe adds to that confidence in this lone wolf persona.”
Davis, who debuted as a recording artist with 2016’s The Token, says she’s also “already written most of the songs for the record I want to make after this one,” although there are no recording plans set yet. Though she moved to Nashville as a songwriter seven years ago, she feels fully confirmed in her own path as an artist.
“I always did think of myself as an artist more than other people,” Davis says. “The way I write is so personal. I think the records represent a certain time period in my life; The Token was very much, like, my mid-20s/early 20s record, and this is my late 20s record. I just like being able to put out new music because I write so much, and it’s cool to think each album can be a little picture of something and then you can update the picture with the next one.”