We catch up with Grammy Award-winNing artist, Elijah Blake to talk inspirations, collaborations and his new album ‘Shadows & Diamonds‘.
Elijah Blake has become the secret weapon behind hits from Rick Ross, Rihanna, Nas, Common, Alicia Keys, and Usher with whom he penned his Grammy-winning and UK top five smash “Climax”, and we were lucky enough to catch-up with the man himself for a New Noise grilling. Enjoy.
When did you start singing?
I started singing when I was seven years old. I was at church and the choir director happened to be doing a rehearsal so he told me to come up and sing with everyone. That was the first time someone told me my voice was something special. After that, I did my first solo and saw the power of singing and how it heals people – that’s when I decided I wanted to become a singer.
What music artists inspire you the most?
I would definitely say Prince, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Marley.
You’re signed to the legendary No I.D.’s label in the U.S. and he executive produced your album. How did that come about?
He heard about me through other people so we were actually supposed to meet up a bunch of times but for some reason it never happened. Eventually, someone played him one of my songs and he really loved it. The rest is history.
How would you describe your creative process?
It’s a conversation with myself – it’s really how honest I’m prepared to be with myself and really sitting down and thinking about things that have made me who I am today. I take those life experiences and they become the material for my songs. If I’m in the studio with other people, the process is more so talking with them about what they’ve been through and helping tell their personal story.
You’ve written for some huge names (Rihanna, Nas, Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys, Common, Usher). Is there anything you learnt while working with these iconic artists that has helped you while releasing your debut album?
Of course, I think it’s always a blessing when you get to rub shoulders with legends like that. It’s not even necessarily the conversations that are had when the mic is on, it’s more so what we talk about when the mic is off. It’s those good conversations that you can have where you learn cool little things about each artist that you wouldn’t necessarily know about that person until you can just sit down with them and talk. It’s the things that aren’t even related to music that really stick with me.
Tell us a bit about your album ‘Shadows & Diamonds’. What was the inspiration behind it?
This album was all about having my identity and putting it into stories about my first love, my first heartbreak, and really looking in the mirror and facing my insecurities as a young man. Musically, it was about really getting the point across to people about what I represent and bringing honesty and sincerity back into R&B music, while still having that slight Gemini edge that I naturally have. By working with No I.D. on this, I was able to have those hip hop undertones and pair with electronic elements.
Do you prefer writing and recording or performing?
Right now since I’ve been in the studio for the past two years writing and recording, I think I’m going to go with performing. That’s when you finally get to see the fans and see how what it means to them, what parts they love the most, and you get to really feel that energy.
You busted out some impressive moves in the video for your single ‘I Just Wanna..’. What’s an Elijah Blake live show like?
Basically, the video times ten! The show consists of cool dance breakdowns and lots of high energy. People know that I’m from the church so my live vocals are very church influenced and you can expect vocal acrobatics paired with dancing.
Is there anyone you’re a fan of in the UK scene right now?
I absolutely love FKA Twigs – she dances, she sings, she’s gorgeous, she’s eclectic.
What’s next for Elijah Blake?
It’s really just the beginning for me. With my album out, I’m excited for more live shows so I can really connect with my fans. Once I feel that Shadows & Diamonds has grown as much as it can, then I’ll start on my next project but right now, I just want to share my album with everyone and let you all know that I’m here!
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