Interview With Up and Coming hip hop artist ELEVENAI

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 ELEVENAI's new single Party in the Hills is available on Spotify, beginning April 6th

What is your musical background?

I grew up hearing Persian music--my family is from Iran--so thats a big part of my ear, those odd time signatures. 

When I was a teenager I graduated to exploring music on LimeWire. That's where I first learned about modern jazz, which is a really large part of my sound. 

What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?

I want to make music that motivates people. I want to make them feel how powerful they are, make them want to level up in life, and remind them that they have the power to do so.

What do you think of the hip hop scene in Los Angeles?

I think that LA's had a fall from grace in recent times. There was a time when it was the Mecca of Hip Hop, and ya, we have a couple great people like Kendrick and what not. But I think its time we take back the mantle from Canada. 

Do you make your own beats and write your own lyrics? Tell me about that.

Ya, I do everything. I like to challenge myself and make music from different starting points. Everything starts with a theme, a feeling, a state of mind. 

Then I'll start doing some sketches on whatever's around me: a guitar, an app on my iPhone, or on old-school analogue gear, like retro hardware drum machines and stuff. 

Once I have the instrumentals I write the lyrics over it, record it, mix it--everything is me, from beginning to end. 

When you listen to music, what do you look for?

I spent a lot of time banging on pots and pans as a small child. I remember there was one particular pot that became my favorite, because it had a really deep sound. You know, you could feel it in the pit of your chest. Ever since then, music doesn't thrill me unless you feel it in the pit of your chest. 

What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?

Artists trying to get heard, its a great time for that because we have so much more control over the work flow. But I still wouldn't say it's an even playing field. 

When you have a tight budget or no budget, its really hard to get the same sound as the pros. 

People these days listen a lot more to the quality of the recording, as opposed to actual melodies, lyrics, and musical content. So its really important to impress people from that perspective before they're willing to lend an ear and evaluate the quality of the music itself. 

Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? 

For me right now, I'm all about coming up in the world, and that's the main subject matter of most of the music. I think that thats something a lot of people can relate to. 

You know, the desire to be great, to really make something of yourself, use the gifts that you've been given. Everybody has that struggle to realize their capacity, everybody has something to contribute. Everybody is fighting that same battle, especially here in LA. So that's really what my music is dominated by.  

ELEVENAI's new single Party in the Hills is available on Spotify, beginning April 6th

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