Breonna ‘Bre’ Collins and Leah Peterson have far more in common than complimentary vocals, strong songwriting skills and an ear for fresh pop, rock and R&B. They also share a passion for delivering music with a message, calling listeners to a higher standard—especially in terms of positive life choices, self-respect and overcoming life’s challenges. As new duo Elysce, they offer Tug of War, a debut album written along with producers Zach Hall ‘Zizzy Mane’ and Mario ‘Rio’ Moore.
“We want to speak the truth of love and life into the hearts of the world,” Leah said, “to be a positive influence by reaching out to the needs of the young generation, and renewing the minds in our culture.”
As ‘20-somethings’ who easily admit making their Breonna ‘Bre’ Collins and Leah Peterson own fair share of wrong turns and not-so-wise choices, Leah and Bre were each on their way to solo careers when a larger plan emerged. Leah, the daughter of the late Ray Peterson, known as ‘the golden voice of rock n’ roll,’ was inspired by music at an early age, traveling with her family for performances. Bre moved from Dallas to Nashville in 2006 to pursue her own musical dreams, and met Leah a couple of years later while recording an individual EP. Each sang backup for the other, and it wasn’t long before talk of a duo came to the forefront. Together, they point to a great variety of artists as influences, but when they look across the current musical landscape, they see a void.
“There’s a lot out there that’s just about sex,” Bre said. “But we’re not about that. We want to give the younger generation something to look up to. Their minds are still developing, and as it is, they’re being set up for failure. We offer a positive twist instead.”
“It’s okay to live life and have fun”, Leah said. “But you can do it in the right way. You don’t just have to follow everybody else.”
As for the debut album, Tug of War refers to the tug of war in the mind, “because that’s where everything starts,” said Bre. “The mind is a battlefield between good and bad.”
The album tackles tough issues such as knowing when not to settle, recovering from mistakes, and even walking away from temptation. One song, for example, ‘Work for It,’ explores a relationship in which a former boyfriend wants to return, “but you’re not going to let him in unless he shows you what you’re worth,” Leah said. “He’s got to put in the work to treat you like a princess.”
Bre and Leah say their life experiences and song inspirations could appeal to all ages, but they fully recognize their take on integrity and honor might be especially attractive to young girls looking for role models.
“But that’s okay,” Bre said. “We’re all here for a purpose. It’s not just about living our own lives. We’re supposed to use our experiences to help others. And together, our testimony is huge.”