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Welcome back!! Happy pride month!! This month for music of the week, we have a talent NC born artist, who goes by the name of Eli. He refuses to be boxed in. His sound is influenced by the greats like Prince and Michael Jackson. So without further ado, I introduce Eli.
TWB: Where are you from?
Eli: Charlotte NC born and raised.
TWB: How did you get your stage name?
Eli: Eli started as more of an idea, and a nickname. It’s represented many things over the years, there was an acronym, but I forget what it even stood for now. Then it represented a character from one of my favorite stories. Now, it’s just…me.
TWB: Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
Eli: My inspiration usually comes from experiences in my life. Good and bad, I’ve always been able to write music off it. I’m thankful for that, and it makes me thankful for my different experiences.
TWB: When did you decide you wanted to do music?
Eli: I think when I was about 14 years old. I used to play with my Uncle’s tennis rackets, and pretend they were guitars. Finally, when I turned 16, I think my father bought me my first guitar...it was a dingy little Ibanez Gio but I loved it.
TWB: When you get in your zone, how many songs do you create?
Eli: It varies. Sometimes I can just write one, and it will take about a month. My last project, Be. Water., took about 6 months. In all, I’ve had projects take years, and there’s stuff locked in my vault that I’ll write in like a day.
TWB: Do you ever get a creative block?
Eli: I feel like every day I suffer from some form of creative blocks and writers block. It can be disheartening sometimes!
TWB: How do you get past it?
Eli: I just kind of go through it. I accept that whatever I write during that blocked period is going to most likely suck. And then I keep creating anyway.
TWB: What do you want people, readers and listeners to know about you?
Eli: I’ve always been very impulsive and fiery. Sometimes I’ll get these wild ideas to put into my music, and that’s where a lot of my art comes from. That place of recklessness.
TWB: What artists have inspired you?
Eli: Prince most definitely, thanks to an ex-girlfriend of mine, who played his music nonstop. Michael Jackson is another major influence. Hendrix, Bowie, old school funk and classic rock bands like Parliament and white snake. I know that’s the answer most musicians give, but those folks were very influential to art period.
TWB: What are your top five favorite albums?
Eli: That’s a hard one! Demon Dayz from the Gorillaz has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first alternative albums I ever heard. Thriller (of course), Kendrick Lamar’s good kid M.a.A.d city, Crew Summer’s Street Faerie, and Prince’s self-titled project.
TWB: What is in your music playlist right now?
Eli: It’s endless. I update it daily, because I’ll find new local music in my city. Like there’s a dude named Leone, who I met years ago randomly, heard his music and loved it, added it to my Spotify playlist. My friend Axnt is a producer and creator, I’ve got his catalog in my playlist as well. I also have some metal core bands I’ve been getting into like Northlane, Issues and Blood Orange. He’s an amazing, phenomenal musician. He’s so important to me.
TWB: How do you describe your music?
Eli: I like to think that it can’t be nailed down. You can hear my influences indefinitely. I love experimenting with new sounds, but my roots are firmly R&B and soul. Even when I was playing in metal bands, I was singing runs and riffs that I learned in church.
TWB: How long did it take for you learn to play the guitar?
Eli: I always feel like I’m still learning guitar! But it’s taken me about 12 years so far to become more proficient than I was yesterday.
TWB: Where do you see your music in five years?
Eli: In five years? I see my music hopefully touching other little black boys and girls, changing their mindset about life for the better and giving them the confidence that I’ve found through art.
TWB: Where does the confidence to play your music come from?
Eli: I think that my confidence stems from my mother. She’s always been very protective of me and my truths. She never let me settle for anything and pushed me to be great. I’m her only child so she has high expectations of me.
TWB: How does your music describe you?
Eli: My music, (hopefully) describes me as someone who’s finally learning himself and is unafraid to be honest, and open with anyone. I hope that comes across. Otherwise, I don’t know how I’m going tell other black folk to live in their truth.
Music is an incredible art. Something DC native MC Brooks, has figured out to a science. The alternative rapper became inspired by friends at age 16, to make music. A natural born writer, rapping came easy. Though he wasn’t fully committed to rap at that point, he continued to write and produce beats. While honing his skills, Brooks drop his first mixtape Lines to Strips, Rhymes to Mics in 2009. Two more volumes followed up in later years. In 2012, Brooks made the decision to take music more serious. He began to strengthen his lyricism. Around 2013/2014, Brooks beat production hit new levels. With newfound aspiration, Brooks released his debut album, The Dead Zone in April 2015. He produced half the album, while he wrote every song. One year later, he followed up with the Liberation EP, producing two of the songs. The EP did well, featuring the single “Vanity Sick”, Brook’s most popular song to date. No stranger to the stage, Brooks has performed in NY, the DMV, Austin and LA.
MC Brooks is currently at work on many projects, including a follow up to the follow up to The Dead Zone and a few other projects.
Once you play on his music, MC Brooks is a name you will surely never forget.
Mixtapes: Lines to Stripes, Rhymes to Mics Vol. 1, 2, & 3, Cassettes and Cigarettes Vol. 1
Album: The Dead Zone
Coming soon: Exit Skeleton (currently in progress), Dark Dawn (to be released later this year)
Singles: 3rd Party, You Should Be Here, Ylimy, Snakes
This week we have Delaware rapper, A. Wood. This talented young man give me a few minutes talk with him about his music. Check the interview to the right.
Q: How did you get the name “A.wood”?
A.Wood: I got the name “A.Wood”, from my first and last name my full name, Anthony Wood. I just shortened it.
Q: Where are you from
A: I was born in Chester, PA, but I was raised in Wilmington, DE.
Q: When did you discover that you wanted to do music?
A: I’ve always had the love of music in me from a young age. From my father always playing oldies, to my brother turning me onto rap, I always loved music. I started to take music serious and in 2012, I established myself as an artist.
Q: When did you begin rapping?
A: I started rapping in 2004, when I was 14, just a freshman in High School.
Q: How do you pick concepts for your songs and videos?
A: Spirits, [laughs]. But honestly, I don’t know. When I hear certain beats, when I catch a certain frequency/zone, it just comes to me. I can’t explain it. Sometimes I pick song names out of lines from verses. As for my video concepts, those are credited to a young Queen, by the name of Jazaida. She is a God for real. Her ability to see, and come up with visuals, is amazing. She hears the songs and comes up with crazy ideas. I am blessed to have met her.
Q: What other artists have you worked with?
A: All the artist I’ve worked with are local. No one you would call a celebrity, but to me they are major. They include: Renee Scott, an amazing singer. I’ve collab with her few times, Kitty Monroe another amazing singer, Latasha Marie, and Lezlie Lauren, Dhazhea Freeman. I’ve also worked with D.O.T, a very dope MC. All of them are all amazing artists.
Q: What is your favorite hip hop album?
A: Wow, honestly there are too many to have one. Favorite one? That’s impossible. I like albums from: Biggie, Jay, Nas, Common, Tribe called Quest, Mos Def, Big Pun, Big L, K dot (Kendrick Lamar), Cyhi da Prince, Kanye West, Lauren Hill, J. Cole etc. There are a lot of hot albums. I love those artists above and more.
Q: What does your music say about you?
A: My music is real and vulnerable. It’s says I’m poetic, it says I’m nonjudgmental. It says I’ve been hurt, that I believe in love. That I am genuine, that I treat women like the Gods I think they are.
Q: When you are in your zone, how many songs can you make?
A: I do about two or three. I try not to over-do it, because my songs do take time and I’m cool with that. But when I do hit a zone, it can pour out of me.
Q: What is your beat selection like?
A: My best selection is hip hop. I love boom bap with a passion. I also love soul, jazz, live instrumentation and 808s. But boom bap and jazz combos, speak to my spirit.
Q: What inspires you to keep making music?
A: Just the love and passion I have for it. I will always make music, even if I don’t get a dime for it. Music is my mental release and my get away. My love for love is what keeps my pen moving.
Q: How do you get over writer’s block?
A: To get over writes block, I put my pen down [laughs]. Like I said, I don’t force it. So, if I feel like, I’m forcing it, I put the pen down. I go listen to beats, and other artists that inspire me until something clicks.
Q: What rappers have inspired you?
A: J.Cole, Lauren Hill, Common, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Black Thought, Mos Def, Big Pun, Big L. Nas, Tribe called Quest, CyHi da Prince, Kanye West. That’s just to name a few.
Q: What do you want readers and music lovers to know about you?
A: I want readers and music lovers to know, that I appreciate them for real. That when I grab a pen or a mic, I’m giving you my soul. That I am giving my true spirit and essence. Nothing is fabricated or made up. I’ll always give my truths. I just hope you connect with me and my music. it if not. that’s cool too.