Liz Drollinger has spent the last few years of her life coming to terms with who she is as a person, and now she’s ready to share her journey with anyone who wants to listen.
Drollinger, a St. Louis native and current senior at Capital, is working on her debut six-song EP, tentatively named I am Me. Although she says the songs don’t necessarily all stick to one genre, she is often compared to Carole King and Joni Mitchell and considers herself an acoustic/folk singer-songwriter.
“A lot of the songs I write are very personal,” Drollinger said. “My EP is kind of like my story in a way, or certain events over the past few years. My main song, ‘Lonely Dance,’ is kind of about my individuality and coming to terms with that.”
As a child, Drollinger was diagnosed with a speech and language delay that made it difficult for her to process things and communicate easily, except through singing. “Lonely Dance,” the first single she released on streaming services, is the story of her learning to cope with her learning difference and becoming more comfortable with herself.
Drollinger is about two-thirds of the way through recording her demo and hopes to be finished early next year. With the help of friends and other musicians, she is confident that she will be able to reach that goal.
“Carlee Kime has been helping me a lot,” Drollinger said. “She’s the one who’s been in the studio recording me and mastering me. She’s writing a string part for one song and reaching out to a salsa band for another.”
Drollinger has always been involved with music. Her mother, a Capital alumna, is a choir director. However, it wasn’t until her sophomore year of college that Drollinger began writing songs and performing at open mic nights.
“When I came to Capital, I met a really good friend of mine, Benny DiFranco,” Drollinger said. “He and I have been collaborating a lot together musically these past three years. He’s an exercise science major, but he also has songs on iTunes and stuff and that inspired me to take it more seriously.”
For Drollinger, writing music is a way of not only healing, but of celebrating the ups and downs of life. Her themes range from both good and bad relationships, mental health, and self-acceptance.
Drollinger said that after she graduates she is considering going to graduate school for vocal performance and hopes to one day teach music at a collegiate level.
Recently, Drollinger has auditioned for both American Idol and America’s Got Talent playing her original song, “Lonely Dance.” Although she has yet to make it through to the final judges, she has made her way through several rounds and gotten up to performing for producers.
“It was a really cool experience. Standing in those lines, you have a lot of other musicians you can meet and network with. Benny and I might try out again for American Idol or The Voice, I haven’t really thought about it yet.”
Drollinger wasn’t particularly upset about not making it through on any of the reality singing shows, however. Music to her seems more to be about the art of expressing yourself. She isn’t performing just for other people’s attention. If she was, she wouldn’t be OK with being such a lonely dancer.