Cover girl and feature profile Elise Testone rattles off jokes while editor-in-chief Darcy Shankland tries not to tip the canoe during the photo shoot at Cypress Gardens
Hear First! Listen to a sample of the song “Still We Try” from Elise’s soon-to-be released album, In This Life, before it’s released.
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.
You know when you hear a song that makes the little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end—in a good way? That’s what happened when this issue’s cover girl and Charleston Profile, Elise Testone, came by the office.
The local singer-songwriter and 2012 American Idol alum had dropped by to review the photos she supplied for the feature, telling me about her family, her experiences on the hit reality TV singing competition, and what she’s been up to in the months since the show’s live concert tour ended. We were chattering away when Elise said that she’d just finished mixing the tracks on a song for her soon-to-be-released debut album, In This Life, and would I like to hear.... Would I?!
She hit play on her phone and out came a gorgeous ballad leading with the inimitable baritone of Charleston’s own Darius Rucker—amazing—and then Elise’s soulful response. Wow! I was sitting wide-eyed and even wider-eared, listening to her lyrics and enjoying the moment, when I noticed her eyes welling up as she smiled. These were clearly tears of joy—and very well-deserved ones at that.
If you don’t already know Elise, read Stratton Lawrence’s profile of her, and you’ll learn about her passion for music and her dogged work ethic. No flash-in-the-pan, overnight success, Elise has been performing and teaching voice here in Charleston for nearly a decade. In fact, a few years ago, our music editor, Stan Gray, dubbed her the hardest working woman in local music. Personally, I’m impressed by her talent (in addition to singing, she plays five instruments, is learning a sixth, and wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album); her down-to-earth, easygoing personality; and her dedication to her adopted hometown. After Idol, she could have banked on her newfound celebrity in cities like Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville. But Elise chose to follow her heart and her gut right back here to Charleston, collaborating with local musicians, engineers, and other pros to produce the album she wanted to create.
Kudos to her! Be sure to listen to the pre-release sample of her song “Still We Try” (above) and stay tuned for details on her CD release party.