The first thing that hits you is his ice-blond hair. Noticeable from a distance, the shock of the his hair dies down as you realise how well it frames the strapping lad as he attracts curious looks from bystanders. Maybe it is/was a marketing strategy or a product of an adventurous experimentation, but nonetheless it is pretty clear that whatever it is, Eli T. has got our attention and he has no intention of letting it go.
This 29 year old singer and songwriter has been no stranger to the local music scene. You may recognize him as the young man splashed over public buses that have been traversing around the roads. Eli can thank this advertisement to his participation in the Singapore Arts Festival short film ‘I Want To Remember’ directed by local film director Royston Tan. Primarily used to inspire and promote the Singapore Arts Festival, Eli has been splashed on bus ads, banners and all sorts of memorabilia that helped him to launch his voice in the Singapore entertainment scene.
But before he took the music industry by storm, he started out like any musician by meddling with instruments. Starting young with the piano, he graduated into voice training with the choir and the school symphony orchestra playing the flute, oboe and saxophone. Yet, it was the underground music scene during his schooling years that stole his soul. Leaving Singapore for Canada to complete high school and university education, Eli took the unconventional decision to complete his education before venturing into music.
He has no regrets about completing his education though, “Everything happens for a reason and the way this album (Revolt) is approached has been thought through. And it is a body of work that wraps up so much of my experiences.”
Despite having been in front of the camera, Eli has also made himself known in the music industry behind the scenes. Eli was responsible for some tracks that he worked with Filipino singer Sarah Geronimo and has caught hearts of many overseas.
And in an attempt to explore how music could be used for education, Eli started his production company Zai Studios. There, he wrote songs for The Ministry of Education, and did various other music related projects with schools. During this time Eli also produced tracks for Singapore Idol, Taufik Bautisah, Singpost, and in by late 2009, Eli had his first taste with with a major hit song.
Eli is more than ready to introduce his music to the world. Armed with a new EP, Revolt is a collection of stories by Eli that speak of self-expression. The album cleverly mixes his soaring vocals with an intricate blend of electronic music and folk elements. Perfect for any time of the day, its message is very clear to the listen. It is a call to everyone to stand up for who you are and to not be afraid to be just the way you are. Through the collection of songs, Eli brings his own brand of electro pop that not only aims to speak to you, but will also blast from your speakers and into your sneakers.
Delivering his own brand of electro pop into our local airwaves, Eli does not seem worried that his music might be too bold for local listeners. “The album is called Revolt and it is a call for everyone to be exactly just the way they are.”, mused Eli. “I wanted to reach a lot more people to help that realize that they are not alone. Sometimes I see friends and they seem a little lost, and find that they lose a sense of direction. And that is what this album stands for, for letting people know that it is alright to be lost and you just got to stand up for who you are. I wanted to offer a different stand for people, and that is the greatest motivating force for this album.”
With the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade under his wing, 2012 has taken Eli on a new adventure with the debut release of his album. “It is a different phase of my life right now and I am excited to move on. Every experience tosses itself and there is no better feeling than being on stage.”, he says with a big smile. “Yet this is something I want to keep doing, making music and producing it.”
We jokingly asked what he would be doing in thirty years. “Retire man!”, he laughs. “I love what I do and I would probably be producing a track or two.. or six!” But whatever happens in the next thirty years, we will still expect this passionate singer to still be a professional in the local music industry. Eli is definitely an artist to watch out for.
Revolt is available at all good music stores in Singapore – Starbucks, The Esplanade shop and HMV. The album is also available on iTunes, Amazon and Google music store. Eli would also be performing a stripped and intimate set of his songs from the album this weekend – 31 March Saturday, 3pm at Starbucks (One Rochester). Together with band leader Justin Low, Eli will converge his Starbucks Tour on Saturday at Starbucks (One Rochester), so be sure to catch him there live!
Eli T. will also be back at the Esplanade for a small showcase on the 8th of April 2012 and negotiations and scheduling are underway for a showcase at HMV (Singapore) in conjunction with their feature of Eli T. as their Artist of the Month of April 2012. With plans to bring Revolt regional - Malaysia, Vietnam & South Korea and Europe late this year; you can be sure that we will still hear from him!
Here is a snippet of what you can expect on Revolt!
Image Credits: Tune to Eli T.