SM -This is your 5th album. How does this compare to the previous 4?
eli. – I’m definitely still carrying the multi-genre tradition on this album. I typically like to progress from my piano ballads into poppier tracks and finishing off with acoustic tracks right before more angry, aggressive or even humorous tracks. It’s important to me to show off my versatility. I also find it funny when my album goes from a soft, acoustic track into a heavy rap/metal song like you hear on this one. It really shows listeners a stark contrast and multiple sides to me as an artist.
SM – What is the one takeaway you want fans to get from this album?
eli. – I just want fans to enjoy my versatility and the different genres I have here for them. I feel like I have a really unique blend of genres.
SM – You recently hopped on Aaron Tao’s “Bloom Remix” with Hojean and that’s personally one of my favorite verses you’ve done. I love the harmonies, melodies, flow, and tone of voice. Are there any future collabs coming up?
eli. – Thank you! I have been considering participating in more collaborations recently. There are some artists that I would like to feature on my songs in the future, but I suppose it’s about continuing to progress my own career to a level where someone would be interested enough in working with me.
SM – In the tradition of many successful independent artists, are there any plans to start your own label? Or to help develop any artists?
eli. – Yes, I’m very interested in helping develop artists. I have founded a record label where I’m working with an artist right now and will begin releasing their music very soon! More on this later, but I’m very excited about it.
SM – Most artists gravitate towards LA, NYC, or Nashville due to flourishing art, music, and business scenes. Explain why you haven’t gone that route.
eli. – I don’t like the big city atmosphere. I like looking out my window and seeing a big open field or a forest or a lake. I’m from West Virginia and grew up in a small Ohio town with three thousand people. I’m just used to the coziness a small town offers. My career isn’t dependent on being in a big city or working with anyone else, and that’s something I’ve wanted to prove to other aspiring artists. If I could do it from my bedroom in my small town when I was a teenager, anyone can do it from anywhere.
SM – Some of my favorite songs are written by artists that may not be the best singers or producers or writers. What do you think makes a good song? Are there specific ingredients needed?
eli. – I’m not a technical person when it comes to music. I have no academic music theory knowledge — I don’t know the terms and definitions and the math behind what makes a good song. Music theory can explain what makes a good song. I really don’t know what makes a good song, especially because that’s incredibly subjective. I do everything based on whether it sounds good or not. I think there is definitely a formula with specific ingredients that can make a hit song but then we start drifting away from art and getting into business.
SM – What was the first album or song you heard that made you think “oh yeah, I want to do music”?
eli. – I don’t remember any specific piece of work that inspired me to want to do music. It didn’t really play out like that for me. I was a child who enjoyed singing and then got a guitar for my birthday when I was 9. I really enjoyed playing Guitar Hero on Playstation. Guitar Hero probably had a big impact on me wanting to actually play and write songs.
SM – Is there a piece of advice or wisdom you’ve heard recently that really stuck with you or created an “aha moment”?
eli. – I can’t remember anything recent or specific, but I do know I have those moments a lot when listening to psychologist Jordan Peterson speak. He has a book too and every page in that book gave me a moment like that. He has been ill for the past year though, so he unfortunately hasn’t had any new original content. It’s like everything he says connects wires and pathways between 10 different things I’ve wondered about before and then I have a moment of clarity.
SM – Outside of actual people, what inspires you the most?
eli. – Nature and philosophy inspire me a lot. There is a magical feeling you get when you look out across a sunset over a big lake.
SM – If you could collab with anyone outside of music, who would it be and why?
eli. – I’ve never thought about it. I guess maybe Jordan Peterson just because I really don’t have any other living people I look up to as a source of inspiration. He is big on personal responsibility and inspires a lot of young people — he is a college professor — so maybe we could combine forces on something positive for young people. I literally have no idea what that would be and I’ve never even thought about this before, but that’s the only person I would really be honored to work with outside of music.
SM – Are there certain things you do or types of content you consume to really facilitate growth as a person?
eli. – I think reading and listening to podcasts are really good for growth. Depending on what the podcast is, you can listen to brilliant people talk about tons of different things. And of course, reading is just a different form of that. The author is speaking to the reader, just sharing information. There are people older than me and smarter than me on virtually everything, so there’s always something out there to learn about to alter your views and facilitate growth.
SM – What job would you do in your 2nd life?
eli. – Maybe like a history teacher or a park ranger. I think history is really important and I don’t hate the idea of working with young people. I like working with animals too, maybe like a manager of a non-profit organization that saves cats and puts them up for adoption.
Rain or Shine? Shine
Netflix or Hulu? Netflix
TV or Movies? Movies
Instagram or Twitter? Instagram
Pet peeve? Loud mouth noises people make when eating
Overrated movie? Twilight
Underrated movie? Hereditary
Batman or Spiderman? Spiderman because it was the 1st hero my Dad introduced me to. However, my favorite superhero is Ironman!
Beach or Mountains? Mountains
3 things you always have on you? Phone, wallet, keys
eli. – Thanks to everyone for checking out this interview and I hope you enjoy the album!
eli.’s “i gave you everything i had.” will be available on Spotify, Apple, and digital stores everywhere on Nov 13th.
i gave you everything i had.
Release Date: 11/13