It’s no secret that Singapore music is slowly but surely making waves overseas, with electro-pop artist and producer Eli T reaffirming his name in the list of artists that have represented the Lion City on the world stage. Right after heating up the stages of Indie Week Canada in Toronto and M.E.A.N.Y Fest in New York, Eli T and his newly-formed “progressive electro-pop” band are back to burn up even more dancefloors with the Fallen Tour which will take them all across North America. Music Weekly interviews the enigmatic bleach-blonde heart-throb to uncover the history behind his personal style, what he’s looking forward to while on tour and his suggestions for fellow Southeast Asian artists and musicians to propel them further.
Music Weekly: Hello Eli! Many are familiar with you as a solo artist – What has the experience been like performing with your newly formed band, The Mystery?
Eli T: Hey there! It’s been a blast! We’ve been having so much fun on the road that I’m almost starting to feel guilty – NOT! I really am enjoying being on the road with a bunch of friends and getting to share the stage with good people that I love and respect is pure awesome-sauce.
You have a very strong visual identity. How important is fashion and image to your identity as an artist?
My friends and I used to cut up and revamp clothes when I was a teenager. We’d take all sorts of accessories and re-purpose them into something entirely different. It was a means of self expression and I think that just translated into my artistry. It’s really important to be true to your art form and it’s more about personal style than it is about fashion or image. The artistry is all encompassing – personal style included.
The “Fallen” Tour includes an impressive list of tour dates! What are you most looking forward to while on tour?
Thank you. I definitely feel extremely blessed for the opportunities that are coming my way. It’s nice to know that all the hard work you put in is paying off a little at a time. Almost every artist/performer/musician I’ve spoken will agree that there is nothing like performing live. I feel so liberated on stage and getting to pour my heart out through song is a feeling unlike any other.
I’m also looking forward to meeting some of the new fans. I’ve had so many people send in messages on Facebook and Twitter wanting us to go to their cities. I am so grateful for them, there have been days that I feel like they are the only ones that keep me going.
Besides performing, you are also a talented producer. How does this aid you in the creative control over the creation of your album, ” Revolt”?
Being a producer is a huge part of the artistry. I think that honing this skill has allowed me to better orchestrate my arrangements and compositions. It really allowed me to get down into the specifics to craft my sound. It adds this whole other dimension to the way I write and create. I hear entire productions in my head and putting on my “producer hat” is the way that I translate it into reality.
You are most definitely making waves abroad with your appearances in overseas festivals and stages. What do you think of the Southeast Asian music scene and what should be done to propel Southeast Asian music on an international level?
I am definitely not one to say of what should or should not be done. I have met so many talented musicians and artists from Southeast Asia. It really is a growing scene and I’m so excited for the goodness that is to come. I do personally think that:
a. Originality is key – As they say “It’s all been done before” so it’s up to the artists and musicians to figure out a way around this. I see too many amazingly talented people try to be a little more like their favorite artists or bands. It’s easy to be influenced by what is popular but being original is so important.
b. Fear not want not – I keep hearing people say that they don’t know where to start as far being a musician / artist is concerned. I think it is important to put your heart and soul into it. So fear is not an option. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty, work hard and earn it.
c. Live long and prosper – Gone are the days of the big label machine. The old ways have faded and musicians now have to take a lot more responsibility for their careers. We’re blessed to be living in the information age where social media has made music so much more accessible to fans.