You might recognize Elle Winter from her early days on Radio Disney, or from her appearances in movies like Three Generations, Code Red, and The After Party. The recent LA transplant released her first two singles, “Day Away” and “Incredible,” through Walt Disney Records in 2012, but now she’s back and more focused on making music than ever. Her debut EP Yeah, No sees Winter expressing herself like never before, and her message is one of empowerment.
Winter got back into making music in 2018 with “One More,” then released several more songs last year that became part of Yeah, No, which came out on March 6. Winter describes the EP’s title track as an “empowerment anthem.” It reads like a post-breakup declaration of independence, with the lyrics, “Thinking that I’m spending my time home alone crying / Wondering whying / Wishing that you were still mine / Yeah, no / Yeah, no / Stop thinking I miss you / Don’t/ I don’t / It never was an issue / So let go.”
Winter wrote “Yeah, No” after the end of a relationship while she was living in Nashville. “I’d just gone through this breakup, and my ex would call me to check in, and I wrote it because I felt like that was almost kind of condescending,” she says. “I was with this person for a long time, and they knew I was a very independent person.”
But the lyrics came to mean more to her than just asserting that she didn’t need her ex. “A lot of times, people can misunderstand who you are — so, in this situation, it’s an ex thinking you’re still in love with them — and oftentimes, we feel like we’re not given a voice to set the narrative for our own story,” she says. “So, I think people connect to that storyline. It seems to resonate with a lot of people.”
Music is Winter’s way of shaping her own story in a world that constantly tries to shape the narrative for women. Her video for “Yeah, No” intentionally includes women striking fierce poses and performing strong movements without any male love interests present. “I want to reclaim my power as a woman and help others to tell their truth and hold their ground,” she says.
Every song on Winter’s EP ties into the larger theme of self-expression and standing up for yourself. “You keep bringing me down / You think you’re winning the crown / But this ain’t no competition / If I’m a judge, I’ve made my decision,” she sings on “Do You.” On “110%,” which grabs the listener’s attention with a catchy chorus and fun electronic backtracks, she sings about being unwilling to settle for a partner who gives her less than their all.
For now, the emerging pop princess is hard at work on new music that aims to give people something they can relate to and help them feel connected during divisive times.
“We all post highlight reels and kind of just show the best of what’s going on, but what I think my music does is be vulnerable and honest and show every side, the good and the bad,” she says. “We all strive to show how different we are, and in the end, we’re actually more similar than we think. So, I think it’s important to make people feel connected. In that three-and-a-half-minute song, we can stop thinking about our differences and be together and think about the fact that we all share this human experience.”