Before she was Party Nails, Elana Carroll was a guitar-toting tween songwriter, playing any open mic she could near her hometown of Chatham, New York.
Performing solo or with a band of seasoned adult players backing her up, she wailed lyrics about her family’s divorce, dreams of leaving her small town, and a then-undiagnosed anxiety disorder across biker bars and community centers, often met with tears from patrons moved by her fearless expression of raw emotion. At home she recorded herself with Garageband, instigating a love of music technology which continues to this day (she moonlights as a software tester and composer for boutique synthesizer company Noise Engineering).
Party Nails debuted in 2015 on Neon Gold’s famed blog with “Break”, a heartbreak dancepop single following the footsteps of happysad classics such as “Dancing On My Own” and “Blue Monday”. In 2016 on the Noisey blog Party Nails debuted “No Pressure”—think Haim instrumentation paired with Taylor Swift melodies—before leaving a 360 deal and rebuilding independently. Her first full-length Past Lives and Paychecks was equal parts collaborations—Caleb Shreve, Ryan Nasci, Mereki Beach, to name a few—and self-produced, engineering and playing guitar, bass, synthesizers and programming electronics alone in her home studio. Her first US tour in 2017 (with PVRIS and Lights) ushered in a devoted fanbase, and her live performances continue to be a core facet of her artistry, being equal parts Madonna, Hayley Williams, and Sheryl Crow.
During the COVID pandemic she wrote a song for Kathryn Hahn’s character to sing about period pride for Loren Bouchard’s Apple animated series Central Park, wrote and produced the Le Tigre-infused “Supernatural” for feminist rock duo Deap Vally, and continued to lend her vocals to other musicians, LŪN and Urban Heat both releasing music featuring Party Nails in 2022. If history is any indication, Party Nails won’t stop expressing herself through music, and her best work as an artist is ahead of her.
Already 2023 is off to a banging start with “Like U”, a house-inspired dance collaboration with Austin-based queer pop icon, Boy Sim (who also co-wrote and produced the track). “You can be iconic and true to yourself and also full of love for others,”Party Nails says about the song. “‘Like U’ is about how the best love and support is from people who want you to shine as bright as possible. I like to think of it as our homage to ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’—that line where Cyndi Lauper sings ‘I wanna be the one to walk in the sun.’ That. It’s meant to be danced to alone or with friends. We even thought about releasing it with a surgeon generals warning: this music may cause severe dancing.”