Eli. on Tattoo’s, Mr. Rogers & an Exclusive Acoustic Session
Even though eli. has only just emerged onto the music scene in 2017, he has already made quite the impression. This rising artist from West Virginia (whose real name is Eli Lucas) takes a do-it-yourself approach to music, and the creativity reflects in his latest album, undefined. Not only did eli. write and produce its entirety, he also recorded every song from his own bedroom and home studio. By taking the complete artistic process into his own hands, eli. maintains his authentic self; as he sees music to be a part of his identity.
Before we start our one-on-one chat with eli., check out this exclusive acoustic performance of his song, “That Girl”.
Now let’s get to know more about eli. the artist, and the person behind the passionate music.
1. To kick things off, who is eli.?
I am eli. My name is Eli. I like making music and videos. I like to walk the space between being serious and being passionate about what I’m doing, while also not taking myself too seriously. A lot of artists just exist in a single dimension and create an “image” for themselves. This usually means that they only post a certain way, display themselves a certain way, and only make songs about certain things. I think part of being human includes layers of multi-dimensionality, and that we permanently exist in a balancing act of good things versus bad things. It’s never all good and it’s never all bad. That’s why I make some songs about serious things that have a real message, and make fun or silly songs too; they are usually accompanied by videos that balance serious vs. having fun. I’m really passionate about being authentic and just letting my work speak for itself without caring about a brand or am image.
2. Tell us about your album, undefined. How did you come up with the title and cover art?
It’s a combination of whatever genres I want. I’m not going to limit myself to anything, to be marketable. Sure, I hope it does well on the market – saying anything else would be disingenuous. But my priority is making what I want, doing what I want and showing people that you’re allowed to experiment, and be free in how you create. I hate the idea that you have to have a certain sound, to have a full album of songs that sound the same. The title indicates that I think my genre is “undefined.” The cover art was a last minute change. I was just thinking about cages/walls around creative expression, and how I feel like it’s so “caged in.” I don’t want to feel that way. I just created a random sketch of birds flying around a cage, and I thought it was fitting.
3. Who is your biggest influence & why?
I think one of my biggest influences growing up might have been Tyler, The Creator. I’m talking about an influence on existence in general, not my music. Tyler was pretty influential because he just did what he wanted and didn’t care what other people thought. As I’ve gotten older, Mister Rogers has been very influential to me and so has a psychologist by the name of Jordan Peterson. They’ve helped me create a perspective that orients myself, in what I feel like is a good direction.
4. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Probably John Mayer. I just really respect him and he’s a legend. Definitely a big influence on me. Honestly, if Mister Rogers were still alive, I would love to work with him. I imagine that would be a very transformative experience for me.
5. Name the Top 5 artists/songs we would find on your playlist…
My playlist would probably be like John Mayer, Blackbear, Daniel Caesar, Bring Me The Horizon, and then any pop-punk or emo from 2000-2015.
6. Besides music, what are you passionate about?
I love animals. My number one goal is to eventually run a non-profit where I provide sanctuary to farm animals, and also rehabilitate abused dogs. That would be my dream – to work with dogs who have been damaged psychologically. I’m also really passionate about helping young people, which I feel like I have been fortunate to have already dipped my hand into that a little bit over the past couple years. It’s so rewarding to hear a story from someone about how I positively impacted their life. I feel like I’m talking about him a lot, but again, Mister Rogers has really gotten me much more interested in trying to help the youth, even younger children. There’s no one like Mister Rogers anymore, and I feel like kids don’t have much that is seriously good to watch on TV or YouTube. I’ve been thinking about what I could do for a while now.
Hmm. I’d say my motto might be to not have mottos. I don’t think there’s any one specific thing that can always guide us or always be right. It sounds cheesy, but probably just “be kind and forgiving” is a pretty solid start. Forgiveness is something I’m not very good at but I’ve been trying to be better and more empathetic over the last couple of years. I have a lot of room to grow.
8. How many tattoo’s do you have… which one’s your favorite?
I have 10 tattoos. Both of my arms are covered, but one arm has 3 big ones and the other arm has 7. They were all done by the same person with the intention in mind of doing full sleeves, so they look really cohesive. I love it! I think my favorite one might be the face of a leaf guy on my inner forearm. I’m not really sure how else to describe it other than that… It’s called The Green Man, I think? I’m not sure. The artist picked it. I wanted to let him do what he wanted so it’s an authentic expression of his own art.
9. Favorite food you can’t live without…
Easily pasta. I think pasta is a delight.
10. If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be & why?
I really like just being me because “I’m special just the way I am.” But, if I had to choose, then 100% Mister Rogers. It’d be nice to understand his perspective and worldview. Or if not him, then Jesus. Imagine being Jesus for a day. You would be so convicted one way or the other and you’d be able to know for sure if he was really a deity. That’d be nice to know, I figure.