Erin Jeffreys is Elyse Therose: ‘A hopeless romantic,’ Destin resident won't give up on her dreams

Jennie McKeon
Destin resident Elyse Therose isn't giving up on her musical dreams.

Erin Jeffreys is not your average singer/songwriter. She's more than just a double threat. She can play multiple instruments such as drums, bass, guitar and even played the trumpet in middle school. Leading her band, Elyse Therose, she schedules gigs, records her own music and even keeps up with the band's website and social media.

"I do everything," she said.

Jeffreys' first introduction to music was at 8 years old, when she got her first guitar.

"I didn't really play music," she said. "I would just jump off my bed and strum it loudly."

After joining the middle school band and playing in bands throughout high school, Jeffreys knew that she wanted to make her own music. In less than a year, she wrote an entire album and recorded it herself with friends, family and past-bandmates.

However, not much happened after she released her pent-up creative juices.

"I let myself get caught up in life and relationships," she admitted.

By 2009, Jeffreys was determined to give her talent another try and hasn't looked back since. Even when current band members, Jody Shaver and John Mlynarczyk, can't make it to out-of-town shows, Jeffreys makes the pilgrimage to cities such as Nashville to play her songs accompanied with only her acoustic guitar.

Since diving back into the local music scene, Elyse Therose, has added impressive accomplishments to its resume such as opening for large acts including Cursive and Gin Blossoms, being featured on 30A Songwriter Radio and playing live on WSRE's StudioAmped series. Jeffreys also landed an endorsement with Breedlove Guitar Company.

Those feats, Jeffreys said, is what makes being a starving artist worth it.

"The crap in the beginning leads to the good stuff," she said. "It feels like people are responding to it now."

Elyse Therose owes a lot of its fan-base to Jeffreys' songwriting. Taking excerpts from her own life, Jeffreys' writes songs that are relatable as well as beautiful. Writing songs since she was 16, Jeffreys' said she didn't always know what she was doing.

"The first couple of songs I ever wrote were terrible, angst-y songs about stuff like not being able to stay out late," she said with a laugh.

Now that she's adult living on her own in Destin, she draws inspiration from relationships.

"I'm a hopeless romantic," she said.

Telling such personal stories to a room full of strangers is kind of a release, Jeffreys said.

"Once I get a song out and it's really meaningful, it's like a weight lifted off of my shoulders," she said.

And through her songs, she hopes the audience takes her music and uses it to work through their own obstacles.

"I hope it makes them feel better — helps them through their own joy and pain," she said.

A proud moment for Jeffreys was when a 15-year-old Panama City resident contacted her for advice about starting her own band. Jeffreys told her to practice her heart out.

"It takes a lot to play for five people or 50 people or even 500 people," she said.

For her latest album, "The Beginning as the End," Jeffreys was so inspired by her current love interest that she wrote the majority of the album in two weeks.

"Everything just flooded out," she said. "Usually that doesn't happen."

This new album has a lot of firsts for Jeffreys. Including some songs that feature a new sound for the band. Breaking free from the band's typical alternative rock sound, some of the new songs have ventured into a faster, pop sound.

"It makes no sense to me, but I guess it will," Jeffreys said with a smile. "I listen to so many different styles of music, that it comes out in my writing."

Not one to rest, Jeffreys is constantly working. Whether she's writing a new song, or just practicing her instruments, she has an innate passion for music.

"I like to keep moving," she said. "I'll go in my music room and stay in there for eight hours. When you love something, you do it no matter what."

Want to check out the band? Elyse Therose will be playing at the Buddha Lounge, 2320 W County Rd. 30A, April 17 during the Say the Word poetry reading.