*Hailing from PG County, Maryland, LVRN/Interscope’s newest artist, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, emerging R&B sensation Eli Derby has already proven himself to be a powerful talent with a one-of-a-kind vision. After releasing a string of covers online, Eli recently dropped his debut single “Gaslight.”
The single was co-written and co-produced by Eli and draws heavily upon the groove and raw vulnerability of the early 90s R&B allowing Eli to bring a fresh take to the genre. A perfect description of his is “bringing multi-layered artistry to a soul-baring and spellbinding collection of songs, merging the intimacy of bedroom pop with the sonic ingenuity of left-of-center hip-hop and alt-R&B.”
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The foundation of making his music, Eli shares, “My musical inspirations are boundless. I can listen to Prince and Michael Jackson in the same sitting as The Beatles and Tyler, The Creator. What they have in common is the ability to evoke emotion, and that’s what I try to do with my own music. For “Gaslight,” it was about making sure the person listening felt okay not knowing what to call their ‘situation,’ and that sometimes uncertainty can be exactly what you need in the moment.”
Alongside the single, Eli’s fans can catch the video, directed by Carlon Ramong (LVRN). He shows off his dancing prowess and encapsulates his relatable songwriting, catchy production, and unmatched vibe.
Now on the doorsteps of adulthood, newly 18-years old, Eli would be easily written off as just another young musician in the industry, but he has years of experience. His foray into music started at the tender age of two at his grandfather’s church. His uncle was the church’s drummer who took young Eli under and taught him the instrument. Eventually, Eli developed a love for singing and producing. At eight years old, he cultivated a passion for the piano and the guitar after being inspired by Ed Sheeran, which helped him refine his songwriting skills.
An opportune moment in Eli’s life occurred when his father was offered a job in West Philadelphia, and Eli decided to move with him. Blessed with the support of both of his parents, he learned to perform busking in the streets of D.C. and at local bars that his father would sneak him into to perform with the featured band. His father continued to slip him into various open mic events to showcase his talent while in Philadelphia. One night would prove to be a turning point in Eli’s career when he had the chance to sing and play his guitar for Philadelphia producer Eric Wortham who has worked with Jill Scott and Adele. Based on this connection with Wortham, Eli ultimately met and signed with the team at Love Renaissance, home to breakout stars like 6LACK and Summer Walker.
EURweb had the opportunity to talk to Eli about his musicianship, the state of R&B, his single, and soon-to-be-released album slated for 2022.
Get To Know Eli Derby: