Q: How do you describe your music?
A: This is a really hard question to answer because I still feel like I haven’t found out who I really am yet as an artist. I just dropped this song called “Hell Of A Guy” and I’ve had a few people tell me “Yo, Eli! This is your sound, bro! Stick with this!” But I don’t like to stick to one sound because not only do I feel like people get bored hella’ fast, it also makes me feel uncomfortable; as if I’m not able to express my full ability. At the same time, I want to try to appeal to as many crowds/tastes in music as I possibly can. But to answer the question for right now I guess I would describe my music as versatile since I’m always switching it up and trying new sounds.
Q: What makes you stand out from the other artists in the game right now?
A: I think what makes me stand out from other artists right now, especially in my city, is the fact that I’m not afraid to make myself vulnerable. I have a few songs where I boast, just like every other rapper, but I also have a good collection where I talk about how small I feel sometimes as an artist/person.
Q: What is the hardest thing that you have faced in you music career?
A: Some people might not understand this and might think I sound crazy, but I think the hardest thing for me about being a rapper is being primarily white in a primarily black industry. I feel like people don’t take me seriously enough or underestimate me as an artist sometimes because of my race. But hey, if Logic can make it then why can’t I? I ain’t letting all that bullshit hold me back. I feel like at the end of the day my creativity overcomes all that; fuck a hater!
Q: What musicians do you idolize?
A: I didn’t start listening to rap music, ironically, until I was in middle school. A lot of the music I listened to growing up was actually Rock/Metal/Alternative. My favorite bands growing up were Nirvana, Green Day, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Mushroomhead, etc. I could keep going but we’d never finish this interview, but anyway, when I was about 12 or 13 years old I started getting more and more into rap music. I started listening to Lil Wayne and from there I discovered Drake and everyone else from Young Money and then I branched off to other rappers like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$. Just like with the bands, I could keep dropping names but we’d never finish. If I had to say names I think the musicians I idolize the most (currently) are Drake and Kendrick Lamar. I love the way they influence the rap game and I hope to one day be able to impact the game as heavily as they have.
Q: What do you feel is the purpose of music and how do you live up to that purpose?
A: Music was put on this earth to make us feel, dammit! If someone’s music doesn’t make me feel some type of way or give me chills then I feel like the artist hasn’t successfully completed there task. Some artists fail to do this because they don’t know the right way to create a concept and to structure a song. I personally feel like I have the songwriting skills and ability to create a story to make the right song to have my listeners’ nostalgia levels at their peaks and make them, essentially, feel.
Q: Has music always been your love or is this something newly found?
A: Literally my whole life I wanted to do something with music. Listening to my favorite rock stars made me want to play the electric guitar which then lead my interest to playing the drums. I never actually got around the learning how to play the guitar but when I was in the 7th grade I finally joined my school’s band and learned how to play the drums. I started with the regular percussion and then my parents ended up buying me this busted ass drum set from my band teacher but it got the job done. I taught myself the basics of the drum set and then started taking private lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music through my school where I learned even more. Eventually playing the drums lost my interest as I started to pick up on music production (making beats) and from there I started rapping. Music has always been there and it will be until I die.
Q: What music do your parents play on repeat? Did their music influence your sound?
A: Aw, man, where do I even start? My dad put me on to most of the rock bands I listed before. A lot of the music I listened to growing up was introduced to me by my dad. Growing up he’d play ALL TYPES of music in the car. My mom put me on to a few artists too like The Doors, The Police, and George Michael. Whenever my parents do have something on repeat my mom usually takes control of the music so it’s usually either some George Michael, The Police, Culture Club, etc. I’m not so sure I can say the music that mom showed me had any influence on the music I make today but I can definitely say that the music my dad showed me has.
Q: How has support been from your peers and local community?
A: It’s funny you ask that because I get more support from the people in the class levels below me than I do from the people in my actual graduating class. It’s okay though, I don’t mind because I feel like my talent will thrive where it belongs, you know what I mean? As far as the local community goes the love hasn’t been that bad. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and tell me they really like what I’m doing, but I still have a lot of eyes and ears to reach yet.
Q: Where can we find your music?
A: I primarily post all my music on SoundCloud. If you look up Eli $tones I should be one of the first people to pop up otherwise here’s my link:
Just recently I’ve started to invest my money into getting my music on streaming platforms such as Apple Music and TIDAL and Spotify and what not. My latest single I dropped, “Hell Of A Guy” is actually available on ALL streaming platforms and you can even buy it on iTunes, Google Play, etc.
Q: What do you want us to know about you personally and as an artist?
A: I feel like I’m doing too much self promotion here, but if you want to know anything about me then you should definitely check out my debut EP that dropped last year called “Elsewhere” via SoundCloud. That’s pretty personal one. With that project I tried to visualize what was going on in my mind at a time when I was going through a lot of self confrontation and indecisiveness. I feel like a lot of what I went though sort of shaped me into who I am today.
Q: What is the most difficult lesson that you’ve had to learn to date?
A: The most difficult lesson I’ve learned, and one I’m STILL learning, is that I need to stop making excuses for myself as to why I can’t achieve something. We’re the only ones holding ourselves back from achieving everything. I feel like I’m slowly but surely getting there and this fall everyone will see when I release my second EP “Please, Believe Me“. I got a lot of new music coming and I’m going to keep coming with it so everybody should definitely stay tuned!