With aspirations of stardom, Elisheva Desser releases her first EP

Elisheva Desser (aka Caleny) poses for her photoshoot featuring her Sixteen Ep. In addition to her Ep, she also has a single.

For many people, the dream of becoming a music star seems impossible, but for junior Elisheva Desser, this dream has already become her reality.

At just sixteen years old, Desser jumped into her music career. On September 25, Desser released Sixteen, her first EP. An EP is a collection of songs that is too short to be called an album, but is more than a single song.

“I’ve been making up songs since I was four years old,” Desser said. “I used to make up lyrics and have my dad write them down in a journal for me.”

Throughout her entire life Desser has been connected to music, she would make up her own songs and tunes.

“Throughout pre-K and third grade, I didn’t have a writing pattern, I just wrote down melodies and a lot of “la la la’s,” Desser said.

She was raised in a religious household, so her parents limited the types of music she was allowed to listen to.

“When I was younger, I was only allowed to listen to Christian radio,” Desser said. “My parents got me a CD player one year, and I stole my mom’s Adele CD, which is what started my love of pop ballads.

“I didn’t have access to whatever kind of  music I wanted until my freshman year in high school, when I got my first iPhone and computer,” Desser said. “I didn’t even know certain genres existed. I got into all sorts of different music from oldies, to alternative, hip hop, R&B, and artists that don’t fit into one genre.”

Though she was introduced late to certain genres and songs, Desser didn’t let that hold her back.

“I expanded my music taste a lot that year and I learned to write songs in other genres,” she said. “But I’ve always been best at writing a catchy pop song.”

As her talents grew, she started experimenting with different songs and writing patterns. She would write love songs and songs about heartbreak, even though she herself had not yet experienced those emotions.

She took what she heard from pop songs on the radio and used that to influence her early writing.

As she got better at songwriting, she started to use music to understand herself deeper instead of writing for fun.

“Writing eventually became a way to emote and understand my own thoughts, rather than just a space to be creative,” she said. “When I create music, it makes me happy and it helps me through whatever I may be facing.”

Though Desser admits to having a natural talent, she understood that in order to get better she would need the help of more advanced songwriters/musicians.

“ I was taught by Beckah Shae and Jack Shocklee on how to perfect the way I wrote,” Desser said. “I learned syllable count, how to better follow a storyline, and things I had never considered thinking about when writing.”

Jack Shocklee is a professional music producer, with several of his songs heard on radios across the country. He’s married to Beckah Shae who is an American Christian-pop singer/songwriter. Shocklee has a producing studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

“In 2018, Jack Shocklee made the track to Freedom’s A Fight and I flew out there in February to write the song to it with Beckah Shae,” Desser said. “ I had never collaborated with another songwriter before, and she taught me a way of writing that was so unlike anything I had heard.”

Desser is fond of the producer and songwriter and explained how they supported her throughout her entire journey.

“Jack and Beckah are close family friends and they taught me so much about the industry and about how my faith relates to my music,” Desser said.

Together, Desser, Shae, and Shocklee worked on the Sixteen EP. Desser would fly down to Nashville to Shocklee’s music studio and record and work on her songs there.

“Beckah Shae and Jack Shocklee are the co-writers and producers of the EP,” Desser said. “Not only did they do such an incredible job on the tracks, helping me get the vocals and melody’s right, but they also poured into me spiritually and emotionally.”

Desser worked on her EP for three weeks, constantly working to perfect her songs so they would be ready to be released. Her Sixteen EP consists of four songs, “Happy Anyway”, “Why Don’t U”, “Freedom’s a Fight”, and “Don’t Give Up”.

In addition to creating her EP, she also came up with her show name, deciding to go by “Caleny” instead of Ellie.

“Every version of my full name was already taken on Apple Music,” Desser explained. “We wanted something unique. My middle name is McAleny, so I thought about just doing ‘Caleny’ so that it’s a part of my name, but not something other people have used.”

When her EP was finally recorded and produced, Desser had a different job to do besides songwriting and singing. She had to start promoting her work so people would know that there was a new, talented, young artist in town.

“I mainly used social media to promote my album(which is a 4 song EP),” Desser said. “A lot of my friends put it on their Instagrams and shared it with other people.”

Desser’s best friend, Mia Deladurantaye, was a huge supporter of her and her work.

“I’ve known Ellie since we rode the same bus in sixth grade,” Deladurantaye said. “I genuinely love her music and I would still listen to it even if I wasn’t friends with her.”

Along with her best friend, Desser said that her parents also inspired her to become a songwriter and that they were some of her biggest supporters.

“I would say that my parents played a huge role in what I have accomplished so far,” she said. “From a young age my parents always encouraged my dreams and pushed me to go for what I wanted. My mom and dad believed in my potential and financially supported me in recording.”

Desser was very proud of her EP along with all of her supporters, she worked very hard on all of her songs, but was able to pick a favorite.

“‘Why Don’t U’ was very personal so I felt nervous releasing it,” Desser said. “But it’s my favorite song off of the EP.”

Deladurantaye agrees.

“My favorite song for sure is ‘Why Don’t U,’” Deladurantaye said. “I remember when Ellie walked into [the] school library after getting back from recording in Nashville, and I loved it as soon as I heard it.”

Desser’s love for music only grew throughout this entire process, she never once strayed from her goals, her path, or her faith.

“I think music has the power to impact anyone’s life,” she said. “ Music is a God given gift and I don’t know what life would be like without it. Music is something that is universal, but also personal. By listening to music, anyone can feel related to and connected. It can change the atmosphere of a room.”

When she released her Sixteen EP, she wasn’t just doing it for herself.

“I hope that the songs I released help people in some way,” she said. “Whether they just needed a song to relate to, or a happy song to sing along to, I want my music to positively impact my peers, and people I don’t know.”

During her journey, Desser solidified what she already knew; she wanted music to be her career in her future. She’s aware that the music industry is tough, and oftentimes shows no mercy.

“Singing and Songwriting has always been viewed as a career for me,” Desser said. “As I’ve gotten older, a part of me hoped that I would find another career that I found interesting because of how hard it is to make it in the music industry. As a junior in high school, my goals haven’t changed, and I would like to be a singer/songwriter, and write songs for other people. Recording in the studio throughout the past few years has only reassured my dreams and helped me realize that music is something I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Desser intends to keep working on her music and improving her skills, she plans to hopefully release another EP, or maybe even a full album.

“We haven’t discussed what the next plan of action is for recording, I think that we’ll see how the EPp does and put more small EPs out until hopefully, something blows up,” she said. “ In the next EP, I would expect to see more originals. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and I have a lot of songs that could potentially be recorded.”

On September 28, 2020, Desser attended her Sixteen EP release party, officially making her first debut as an upcoming artist.

“Congrats @calenymusic on your #sixteen EP release,” Shocklee commented on one of his Instagram posts. “Super proud of you!”

Deladurantaye was also ecstatic for her friend.

Ellie Sheva’s Sixteen Ep album cover. Her Ep was released on September 25, 2020.

“I was extremely proud of her because she had been working so hard for so long,” Deladurantaye said.

Desser herself could hardly believe that she had successfully produced her first EP.

“Releasing the album was exciting and relieving because we had been waiting to release it for so long,” Desser said.

Her music can be found on Spotify and Apple Music under her show name, Caleny.

“Being in the studio, I learned a lot about professionalism and I’ve gotten better at recording as time has gone on,” Desser said. “Some of my favorite memories are in the studio and creating the EP felt like a dream come true.”