Monday, July 1, 2013




Sweet Soubrette solo set at Legendary Dobbs
WHEN: Friday, July 19
WHERE: The Legendary Dobbs
ADDRESS: 304 South Street, Philadelphia

Ukulele-playing singer/songwriter Ellia Bisker, front woman of Brooklyn-based indie rock band Sweet Soubrette, will perform her signature edgy love songs in a rare solo appearance at Philadelphia’s Legendary Dobbs.  The Deli Magazine has called Bisker “one of New York's most intriguing songwriting forces” and praised her “rock star command and intelligently crafted music."

Sweet Soubrette’s last album, Days and Nights, was described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “dark vaudeville-pop...sensational."  This show will feature an exclusive preview of new songs from Sweet Soubrette’s third album, to be released in the fall.

Official music video, “What’s My Desire”:
More music:

"Brooklyn's stylish, ukulele-powered indie rocker Sweet Soubrette." –DOA

"Sweet Soubrette's style comes with a pinch of Regina Spektor quirk and a spoonful of old-timey burlesque." –Time Out New York
"Wry, unapologetic, sassy and flirty...the perfect balance of passion and deadpan."

Ellia Bisker

Friday, February 1, 2013

January into February: Preparing/Making/Training

January was the month when I decided I could be in 5 bands that were all playing gigs the same weekend. There were 13 rehearsals and 7 shows: in addition to Sweet Soubrette's last big band show for the next couple of months, there was Charming Disaster, Apocalypse Five and Dime, Stacy Rock, Kotorino, the Bushwick Book Club, and the book release for The Miniature Wife. I also wrangled volunteers and worked behind the scenes at 2 Bindlestiff Family Cirkus shows. And I even managed to go see Sleep No More (immersive theater), the Big Apple Circus (circus), Golden Fest (brass & Balkan music), and Monica Bill Barnes Company (dance).  It's almost like there's a theme here. 

February is going to include a few shows (Charming Disaster, Stacy Rock, the Bushwick Book Club, and the Super Fun Variety Show), but the focus of this month will be less on producing/performing and more on preparing/making/training: I'll be taking remedial music theory classes, getting ready to shoot a new music video, and writing or recording a new song every day for Fun a Day (these will be posted here). Onward!

Monday, January 28, 2013

"What's My Desire?" one of "22 Stellar Songs from 2012"

"What's My Desire?" made it onto Wicked Local's list of "22 Stellar Songs from 2012," and is in some excellent company. Luminaries on the list include the Beach Boys, Ben Folds Five, Gotye, M. Ward, and more. We're honored to be included in their ranks:

"'All my love letters are forged,' sings Ellia Bisker, one of a series of biting admissions on a lovely, lush single awash with strings and horns. The ukulele is just a bonus."


Friday, January 25, 2013

Fan Mail from Australia

The day after a big show there's always a little bit of postpartum depression. All that work and effort, and then the ephemeral thing you hustled for so hard is done. Even when the show was particularly glorious, the day after is challenging...especially when it's a very late night followed by an early morning back at the day job. But getting a random bit of heartfelt fan mail from a listener on the other side of the globe is a wonderful antidote:

Hi Ellia....

I am now home in Australia, and am playing your beautiful music at full volume through our little home which looks over Sydney Harbour....

Every time I listen to your haunting voice, and equally haunting lyrics, I am taken back to a cosy seat in the library of Shakespeare & Co. on a grey old Paris day.

I just wanted you to know that your music inspires me, and reminds me of a time in my life where I was genuinely 'living'.

Thank you.

Love Hayley

Monday, January 14, 2013


Last summer Sweet Soubrette released an EP called What's My Desire?. The title track was originally a Bushwick Book Club assignment based on Anais Nin's book Henry and June

We shot a music video for What's My Desire? in collaboration with photographer Emily Raw.

Emily sent a still image from the video shoot to Manuel Gonzales, a writer with whom she collaborates on a story project: every week she sends him a photograph she's taken and he writes a 1,000-word story based on the image. 

Manuel wrote this story, "Written."

Then Emily suggested we go around again.  So I wrote a new song based on Manuel's story.  It's called Charlatan.  Lyrics are below.  A live performance video is linked here, and we're getting ready to record it for the next album.

Emily shot a new photograph based on the song.  Now it's Manuel's turn again.  We could go on like this forever.

Read more about this collaboration here.


Here is how it works
Her brother brings them in
She doesn’t know where it comes from
She doesn’t care if it is true
She doesn’t know where it comes from
She doesn’t care
If it is true

Pale was too pale when she put the powder on
The marks suspected
People think she traffics in banalities
She keeps collected
Is the kid who’s selling Coca-Cola
In her spiderweb
Or is she blowing smoke
Are her predictions just a joke

Before they even step inside
She starts to write
She doesn’t know what it all means
She reads it to them anyway
She doesn’t know what it all means
She reads it to
Them anyway

She knows who they long to hear from
What they long for her to tell
Is she getting secret signals
Are they suckers for the sell
All her tales of fame and fortune
Of tragedy and pain
How does how does she do it
It’s a fascinating game

They think it’s a scam
But she’s no charlatan
She writes until there’s nothing left
She cannot stop till she is done
She writes until there’s nothing left
She cannot stop
Till she is done
She cannot stop
Till she is done


Friday, October 12, 2012

Shark Bait

Before I wrote songs I wrote poems.  Here's another one from the vaults.

Shark Bait

Sharks close their eyes
the moment before they strike.
They sense the electrical signal
of the heart, they know where to bite,
they can find it blind. The heart
will betray you every time.

It's been a year I've chosen
to be alone. My life is full
of work and talk and the occasional fling
where no one falls for anyone—it's best
to become heartless. No one holds me
back; I don't get that attached.

I say heartless but this is a lie. It beats
red and bloody underneath it all, I am ripe
for slaughter. It keeps getting harder
to hide the signal: the heart wants
to be discovered. Or devoured,
if that's what it takes.

The sharks' own hearts must crackle with charge

as they glide silently through the leaden water—
do they sense each other's presence
as they sense prey?

Do their hearts call out to each other 
in the darkness beneath the waves?

I want someone to draw my passion
like a magnet, a target, I long for it.
So the heart sends out its signal: I'm a beacon.
Nothing will protect me from the danger.
I'm just waiting to feel
the teeth sink in.

Ellia Bisker, 2004

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Soubrette - 'What's My Desire?' | The 405

New review of the "What's My Desire?" video by the 405:

"Sweet Soubrette have crafted a compelling bitter-sweet pop song of the highest order."

Read more:

Sweet Soubrette - 'What's My Desire?' | The 405