Listen to "Carry Over", the New Single from D.C.'s Lotion Princess

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Sasha Elisabeth’s artistic growth began, as many artists’ do, with a devastating breakup.

“I started writing poetry after this breakup, and I knew it was pretty bad,” says Elisabeth, the frontwoman of the D.C.-based band Lotion Princess. She’d taken piano lessons as a child, and after buying an upright piano and beginning to play again, she started writing lyrics to go along with scraps of melodies.

“It was like meditation, just letting the words come as I messed around with chords,” she says. “Often I didn’t know I felt something until I just sang it.” She eventually had some workable songs, and she wanted to play them with other people. The first of these was bass player Katie Parker, followed by guitar player Carolyn Brandt and drummer Dan Sachs.

Elisabeth says that the band’s original sound was “folksy and almost Americana”, helped along by Brandt’s banjo playing. “Looking back, I cringe when I listen to the recordings from only two years ago,” Elisabeth says. “I think this is a universal experience for creators.” The band’s first practice space was communal house The Giant Peach in Petworth, Elisabeth’s home at the time. “We all kind of came from the same background in that we’d played instruments as kids and wanted to pick them back up, but didn’t know how,” she says. The band’s current guitarist Andrew Grossman approached Elisabeth after Lotion Princess performed at Union Stage and expressed interest in joining the band, finalizing their current lineup.

Lotion Princess are on the verge of self-releasing their first five-song EP, “Take Care”, on February 1st, and the lead single, “Carry Over”, is out today. Elisabeth’s initial heartbreak songs have coalesced into gentle but powerful meditations on intimacy. “I love to sleep alone, anyway,” Elisabeth (who identifies as queer) sings, after telling an ex-lover that she threw away all of her letters and stopped wearing clothes that she’d borrowed from her. Her voice is the same tone of plaintive as The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, underpinned by Grossman’s shimmering guitars.

Lotion Princess recorded “Take Care” in a rented Airbnb in the mountains of Virginia with the help of audio engineer Cody Valentine, soundproofing the living room by piling mattresses and pillows up against the kitchen door. “We turned the place upside down, pretty much, and rearranged everything—probably an Airbnb owner’s worst nightmare,” Elisabeth says. “But we put it all back!” Valentine caught early morning and late night sounds in the valley where the house was located, which you can hear woven in throughout the EP’s five songs.

When asked what the hardest part of making the EP was, Elisabeth says, “Probably all the self-doubt that’s built into sharing something vulnerable. The back and forth between believing in myself as an artist, and being horrified that I ever decided to share myself like this. But what I’ve learned is that when it comes to sharing the truth, people are there for it. We all need more of what’s true.”

“What I’ve learned is that, when it comes to sharing the truth, people are there for it. We all need more of what’s true.”

“Take Care” is out on February 1, with a release show at D.C.’s The Pie Shop on February 2. Listen to “Carry Over” below.

Katherine Flynn