Learning not to be "so horrible" to yourself - Brighton date

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Eloise Viola is offering Glasshouse, a debut album of remarkable positivity, the story of her journey from a very dark place to one full of hope.

Eloise, who grew up in Horsted Keynes, says: “I didn't really set out to write an album but at the time I was writing the songs, it felt like I was really telling the story of what I had been going through. And then I realised I had a collection of songs that really did tell a story, talking about who I am and about pulling yourself out of a really difficult spot.”

She will be playing the Theatre Royal Brighton on June 1.

“I had quite a tough time, very similar to lots of people in their 20s, with body image and obsessive calorie counting. I started in my teenage years and when I got to university it got completely out of control. I was constantly counting the calories and constantly planning the next meal and the next strategy about how I might lose weight and how I might keep it off. I ended up having some counselling which was amazingly helpful. She was an eating disorder specialist and what she taught me started me on a journey that has changed my life. She kick-started it and I learned so much about myself. And that's what my songs are about, how you can pick yourself up and about how you can empower yourself.

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Eloise Viola (contributed pic)Eloise Viola (contributed pic)
Eloise Viola (contributed pic)

“One of the things is to be kind to yourself but really the biggest thing is being conscious and aware of your thoughts and how you speak to yourself in a way that is constructive. If you can't be constructive towards yourself, then at least you need to be aware that you are not being constructive. You have to realise that you wouldn't say to someone else ‘You are so fat and so disgusting!’ so why on earth would you say it to yourself. It's about learning to speak to yourself in a kind way. When you are nice to other people, you really mean it. You genuinely believe it and that's always been a big thing for me. You've got to be nice to yourself and genuinely believe it. If anybody else said to me the kinds of things I was saying to myself, I would just be like ‘**** you!’ And yet the things you wouldn't say to somebody else you say to yourself.

“It's not easy. You can't just flick a switch and say I'm never going to be horrible to myself again. It's a journey. It's something that you have to learn, and if I ever catch myself saying something really horrible to myself I just have to think ‘We're not going to do this again, are we?’ You have to turn it around.”

Eloise cites something her father used to say when it came to sport: “Go back to basics.” As she says, if she's struggling with singing she goes back to basics, and it's the same with life more generally: “What I hope is that the album is empowering and positive but I'm also talking about the darkness. Without the darkness you can't have the light. I want to include the vulnerable parts and the low points on the album in the verses, and then the choruses are all much more empowering. You have got to have the context, and I've put the songs in a very purposeful order. It has not been easy by any means but the songs do tell a story.

Social media has been a huge part of the journey for me. I think social media was a big reason why I had so many body issue images. I have found social media really difficult in terms of comparison especially for my career.”

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