Elle Varner spent most of her childhood sleeping on studio couches, running around green rooms, and watching her parents struggle to make a name in the industry. At age six she began to play musical instruments, beginning with the flute, and later she moved on to piano and guitar. She attended several music programs including actress Wendy Raquel Robinson's Amazing Grace Conservatory starting at age 11 and Alexander Hamilton High School's Academy of Music's Vocal Jazz Group. It was there she penned her first song, “Thankful”. The song, which she played with one string on the guitar, scored the top prize at a local talent show. Earning a coveted spot in New York University’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music (which only accepts 24 students per year) was further proof that she was headed in the right direction. In 2008 Varner graduated from NYU's renowned Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music: “To be recognized for my talent in a program that only selects 24 students per class, out of thousands, was like, ‘Wow!’ I knew that I had really stepped up to the plate,” says Elle Varner.