Ethel Cain (Singer)

Article

July 5, 2022

Hayden Silas Anhedönia (born March 24, 1998 in Tallahassee, Florida), known by the pseudonym Ethel Cain, is an American singer-songwriter. In mid-2017, Cain began experimenting with ethereal music inspired by Gregorian chants. After releasing various mixtapes and EPs on streaming platforms under the White Silas name, as well as websites like SoundCloud and Tumblr, she turned to a more alternative sound and started using the Ethel Cain name in mid-2019. Cain's music explores nostalgic and southern gothic themes of poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, death and intergenerational trauma. Their music is associated with the genres of ambient, ethereal, alternative rock and dream pop.

Life

Cain grew up in Taylor County, Florida. She was born into a Baptist family, her father was a deacon and she was active in the choir from an early age. She left the church at age 16 after coming out as gay to her family at age 12. She came out as a trans woman on her 20th birthday. After living in an abandoned church in a small Indiana town for a while, she now resides in Daleville, southeast Alabama.

Musical career

2017 to 2019: Start of career

In 2017, while considering enrolling in film school at Florida State University, Cain began experimenting with GarageBand software to create reverberant, choir-inspired music. From 2017 to 2018 she published her works under the name White Silas and Atlas to a small circle of friends and followers on Twitter and Instagram. After releasing her debut single Bruises as Ethel Cain in 2019, she met Canadian singer Nicole Dollanganger through social media and opened for Dollanganger on their Heart Shaped Bed tour in Chicago. In September 2019, she released a small collection of songs entitled Carpet Bed, her first EP under the Cain moniker. In December 2019, following the release of her EP Golden Age, she was joined by singer Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, who praised Cain for her "mature songwriting and understanding of melodies".

2020 and 2021: Inbred

In January 2020, Cain met rapper Lil Aaron at the recommendation of Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. During a show with Girlfiend, Edith Underground and Lil Bo Weep in Los Angeles, Cain was invited by Aaron to meet with publisher Prescription Songs and signed with them shortly thereafter. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cain had to stay in quarantine at home. In August 2020, she relocated from Florida to a church outside of Richmond, Indiana, where she recorded her first EP as a no longer independent singer entitled Inbred. Written, produced and mixed entirely by Cain, the EP was a departure from Golden Age's heavy dream-pop sound and a move towards a cleaner, more alt-rock inspired sound. In February 2021, Cain released her first single under the new record deal titled Michelle Pfeiffer featuring Lil Aaron. The song debuted at Paper Mag and was reviewed on Pitchfork, Billboard, Nylon and The Fader. She announced a third EP titled Inbred, which features a collaboration with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. A second single, Crush, followed on March 18, and a third, Unpunishable, premiered on April 15, 2021 on Apple Music Radio 1 featuring Zane Lowe.

2022: Preacher's Daughter

On March 17, 2022, Cain released the single Gibson Girl and subsequently announced her debut album, Preacher's Daughter, which was released on May 12, 2022. The album was released through her own Daughters of Cain label and