Meet ELHAE: The Hip Hop Singer’s Thoughts on Love, Labels and London

 

If you’ve fallen in love, been in love-purgatory or been reborn into a new you, ELHAE is the artist who has put what you’re feeling into song.

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You might have yet to discover the 26-year-old Atlanta-based musician, but it seems that’s all about to change. He signed with Atlantic Records in 2015 and will soon release his next musical project, AURA II, following his first album with the label, All Hage Fallen. ELHAE — which stands for “Every Life Has a Ending” — initially caught the label’s attention with a SoundCloud profile that attracted more than 100,000 followers.

ELHAE jokingly says he has been sent down to Earth to make people feel again using his music — his avid online followers and sold-out London shows make it clear he’s struck a chord. His music has been described as having a Drake-like vibe, as many of his songs tell the story of love and the good and bad it can bring. But if you really listen to ELHAE, his music is unique compared to what’s on the radio today: listening to his words, one can really feel that he believes what he sings.

ELHAE is a fan of live instruments, so what you usually hear behind his vocals is a mixture of chords and melodies strung together. When asked what audience ELHAE intends to attract with his music, he simply replied: “I create music for myself at times and other times I create music strictly for my fans. Depends on the day.”

And the days of ELHAE’s career trace back to his youth. Music has always been in his life, and Pharrell has been an inspiration as far back as ELHAE can remember. He also used to play in a band at his local church, so he is no stranger to performing in public.

Despite this history, he actually had other career choices in mind before turning to music professionally. He only pursued music after it seemed fate would not give him any other option.

“If I wasn’t doing this, I’d either be an audio engineer or a cartoonist. Drawing was my first passion, which a lot of people don’t know,” he admitted. “I actually gave up on music many, many times and somehow always got pushed back into it. It’s that reason, I am a firm believer in this just being my destiny.”

One would be hard-pressed to realise ELHAE had any other passions when he pours out his soul into his music time and time. Perhaps that’s why he’s so hard on himself about his first album release. Although All Have Fallen was a success to his fans, ELHAE didn’t necessarily feel the same.

He said: “I’ll be 100 per cent honest, I don’t think All Have Fallen was my best work. Simply because I felt a lot of pressure. I had just signed and for some reason I felt an immense pressure to deliver something nothing short of great. Sometimes when you try too hard it comes off…well…as if you’re trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong, All Have Fallen allowed me to tour, and travel places I wouldn’t have dreamed of as a kid, so I’m grateful, but I just try to be my biggest critic and elevate each go round.”

The touring he mentions brought him to London multiple times, and the city is a reoccurring theme in his work. What’s his connection with the city?

ELHAE said: “I’ve always been fascinated with London. One of my best friends and I would talk about London as kids and think, ‘What’s it like over there?’

“I was raised in a really small city in Georgia called Warner Robins,” he added. “It’s one of those places that people just get stuck in for some reason. Growing up, I never fathomed traveling to the places I’ve been, let alone having so many people wanting to hear what I have to say in song. So when I would say it in those records, it was just that inner-child speaking, hoping one day I’d get a chance to travel there.”

One thing that struck ELHAE about London was the city’s relaxed race relations. He recalled a particularly memorable night when he sat at a bar side-by-side with an older white man, something he’d never expect to happen at home.

ELHAE said: “Last time I literally shared good laughs and conversation with an old white man as we drank a beer. In America, sadly, that’s not normal — a young black kid being buds with an old white man? That’s damn near unheard of here.”

True to form — he’s known for writing love songs, remember? — he didn’t just fall in love with the city. He admits, yes, there was a girl from London. His song “Halfway Love” is about her and he considers it one of his favourite creations thus far because of the immense time and effort he put into the song.

ELHAE has released singles since All Have Fallen, but none that will be on his new project. Aura II was supposed to be released in 2016 but has been pushed back about four times. He admits this is both frustrating and unsatisfying, as he just wants his work released for his fans’ benefit. But he also believes it’s best his project has gotten pushed back so many times because he wants it to be something he’s truly proud of.

While there’s no release date, ELHAE has been in and out of the studio and pre-release promotion has recently started. In the meantime, he’s also been touring the West Coast of the US and is coming to England this spring, performing in London on 13 May, which could mean his next project will be here sooner than expected. No matter when it arrives, one thing is for sure: the man known for writing about love has poured a lot of his own into his next big project.

Check out ELHAE’s All Have Fallen:

Photo Via Elhae

By Ashley Vega

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