Learning Not To Hate Yourself With Human Person

by | Apr 25, 2019 | MUSIC

Human Person, the performing name of Fredericksburg-based singer/songwriter Eliza Hiatt, released their first EP Please Eat My Heart on March 15. Hiatt describes the collection of atmospheric folk songs as focusing on “boundaries, vulnerability, and giving too much.”

The EP’s name is inspired by Hiatt’s feeling like they were giving up too much too soon in relationships.

“In this culture, we’re not necessarily taught internal boundaries, so I was taught to give a lot of myself at my own expense,” said Hiatt (who uses they/their pronouns). “I didn’t feel I could say no until it was too late, and I got hurt.”

Of course, Hiatt recognizes, there’s also a lot of vulnerability in making and releasing music — so in that way, the title is also quite literal. “It also refers to how the songs are so intimate, and I’m putting them out into the world for anyone to consume,” they said. “It speaks to the vulnerability of putting music out.”

The intimate nature of their lyrics is reflected in the music as well. Hiatt recorded the EP all on their own, with just a friend’s microphone and pop filter, their own guitar, and a bedsheet thrown over a closet door to keep in the sound.

“Starting out in music is a lot of not being taken seriously,” said Hiatt. “I think doing it by myself was necessary for me in the moment. It’s important to ask for help, but it was important for me that I didn’t.”

“Collaboration is important, community is important, but I wanted to show I could do this on my own.”

Hiatt is a self-taught guitarist, who learned to play by mastering simple cover tunes. They began writing music a little over a year ago. Their DIY style of making music adds a fuzzy lo-fi edge to the melancholic guitar and quavering vocals found on Please Eat My Heart.

“My sound is based in how I use my voice, with the influence of a lot of folk and country but drawn from punk and rock,” said Hiatt. “I’m mostly inspired by women folk and country singer-songwriters, and how they experiment with their voices.”

In their song “Uncovering,” Hiatt sings about realizing that a relationship is toxic, and that they have been lying to themselves that everything is fine. “Lover” explores similar topics of struggling to vocalize desire and take control of one’s body and pleasure.

“Being socialized as a woman, I’ve been taught over and over and over that my existence is for other people’s pleasure and I don’t have access to my own pleasure,” Hiatt said. “Even though I rationally want that, I’ve been taught for so long that I can’t have it, so it can be really hard to be able to experience pleasure.”

Hiatt cites studying the orgasm gap, the disparity in achieving orgasm between men and women in heterosexual relationships, as a source of inspiration to their lyrics.

“I’ve been on a journey to see how that has manifested in my body, which is challenging because it’s so rooted in trauma,” said Hiatt.

The idea of the body is heavily explored in Hiatt’s music. The song “Opossum” is about the irony of hating yourself for not being able to love yourself, and not being able to feel fully connected with your body.

“A lot of these songs have to do with embodiment, and having a body and embodying trauma,” Hiatt said. “It’s hard to change something you’ve embodied for so long, because your body has stored that information.”

Hiatt’s lyrics primarily come from revisiting journal entries, finding lines that stick out to them, and further fleshing that idea out.

“When writing lyrics, I do a lot of observation of what’s around me,” said Hiatt. “I take note of images that stick out to me which grasp at something I’m trying to process emotionally.”

Musically, Hiatt’s creations begin from similar offhand notes. “It starts with a melody I have in my head and record in my voice memos,” they said. “I’ll take that, play around with it on my guitar or piano, and write something to support that.”

As Hiatt grows as a musician, they hope their sound will as well.

“I take myself seriously as a solo artist, but I am looking for supporting musicians,” said Hiatt. “My goal is to find people to collaborate with and elevate my own sound. I think collaboration will give me a lot more tools that I don’t have now, and more space to explore genre with other instruments.”

Currently, Hiatt is playing shows along the east coast with a tour planned this June.

“I’m learning everything as I go,” said Hiatt, “I’m excited to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Photos via Human Person

Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond

Allison Tovey

Allison Tovey

Allison Tovey is a freelance writer and publishing intern in Richmond, Virginia. Her passion for sharing stories is rivaled only by her love of photography and teen movies.




more in music

The Motet, Low Phase & Erin & The Wildfire: Sound Check

I know you're itching to get back outside as much as I am, but while the rain clears up we'll have to wait just a little while longer. We're almost in festival season where outside concerts seemingly never end, with sunshine and tunes galore. Until then, we've got an...

Chandler Has Gone Viral, Again

When your friend from far away Portugal hits you up with a message like, "Have you seen this? Do you know this guy? He's from Richmond and he is all over TikTok!" you can't help but check it out. And when you discover it's Chandler Matkins, it's almost a given—of...

The Descendents & Circle Jerks Show is Sold Out…

It’s 1978 and Los Angeles is mic-checking and clearing its throat before unleashing its answer to New York City and London punk rock. It’s about to birth two of the most influential punk bands of all time. Descendents and Circle Jerks, titans of the sun-drenched and...

King Kaiju, Lockedinkee & Nickelus F: Yo! Hip Hop RVA

Hey y’all! I know it’s been a few months since my last YO! HIP HOP RVA write-up, but the hiatus was necessary because wedding planning was consuming my life. As of a few weeks ago, I’m off the market! Now, without further ado… this week’s edition of YO! HIP HOP RVA...

Macrock XXVII, Circle Jerks & The Mitras: Sound Check

Well don't go looking for a lot of local acts this weekend in Richmond, as many of them will be trekking to Harrisonburg to participate in Macrock XXVVII. A two day affair that will span much of downtown Harrisonburg where dozens of acts will be gracing numerous...

Virginia Icon Pharrell Williams is Coming To Town

A musical based on Pharrell Williams' childhood is set to be filmed in Richmond. It's a coming-of-age story set in 1977 Virginia Beach, drawing from Williams' upbringing in the Atlantis Apartments. Williams will produce, and Michel Gondry, known for Eternal Sunshine...