Elijah Blake is a two-time Grammy Award-winning star. He’s written songs for Usher, Rihanna, Ciara, Christina Aguilera, and JoJo, to name a few, and served as a vocal producer on some of Kehlani’s hottest joints. But, he’s not just the talented guy working behind the scenes as he also releases his own music.
Capturing the attention of major labels early on, Blake signed a deal with Atlantic Records at age 16. From here on out, he has been on one crazy musical journey. During his 10-year-plus career, Blake has released countless projects, racked up hundreds of millions of streams, and collaborated with a whole rey of stars from Keyshia Cole, Tamar Braxton and J. Cole. Earlier this year, he joined forces with Jordin Sparks to release an EP, Deux.
Today, July 14, Blake is back with some more heat. His new single, “Foreign Land,” features genre-defying artist RMR and will be a part of his upcoming EP Chateu Lane, out August 11. In an interview with EUPHORIA., Blake talks to us about what’s influencing his new material, which song of his he’d like to hear Rihanna sing, and what else is in the pipeline.
Let’s talk inspirations. What is inspiring Elijah Blake at this present moment?
For me, at the moment my biggest inspiration is allowing myself to feel all things. Pride is something that can be a pain killer but after it runs its course the wound is still there. With this new music and place I’m at in life, if it hurts I won’t shy away from it. If I’m happy, I also make it a point to remind myself of the work I had to do to get there.
You’ve been a mainstay in R&B for over a decade and penned hits for some of its brightest stars. How do you feel the scene and industry at large have changed since the release of your debut?
Thank you! It’s fun to see a lot of the things I got called weird for now be accepted across the genre. I would go as far as to say that when Bijoux22 came out my biggest issue with the label was always like, “How do we market this electronic soul rnb music” and I would just always say, “Isn’t all still soul music?” Music should always constantly evolve & be allowed to free form. At first, I won’t lie it was a little frustrating seeing people actually wanted it all along but internal politics made me feel like I’d be shelved if I didn’t dim it down just a smidge. If I could go back I definitely would’ve leaned into the Bijoux22 drift sound a little longer but they were so viral at the time organically and everything after started happening so fast before I knew it there were too many cooks in the kitchen.
Let’s talk new music. You just released a new single, “Foreign Land.” What is driving your new direction and how, if at all, has it been influenced by developments in your personal life?
The details of everything that goes into love and heartbreak are driving me right now. Things I’m now coming to terms with from my childhood that directly affect my relationships are important for me to speak to head-on now. Inspiring those who listen to my music to grow within themselves and with me as well.
Your style is just as notable as your sound and voice. How has your style evolved over time? And how has it been influenced by your music?
I go through these phases where some days I feel like Prince and wanna be as bold and unapologetic as possible through what I decide to put on that day. And then there are moments where I feel more grounded in my Florida roots… super simple walking out of the house in just a tank top, braids, sweatpants, and grillz.
You worked on one of Rihanna’s last studio albums. Are there any new Elijah Blake songs you’d love to hear her sing?
I would love to hear RiRi kill “Sky Blue.” Her tone on that would give it such new breath. Yo, to be fair, she can sing anything and I would be like “Yup… it’s yours, take it!”
Tiffany Red is leading the conversation on the maltreatment of songwriters. What changes would you like to see made?
Simply put… pay the writers. Music is nothing without its core and that is the song.
Finally, what is next for Elijah Blake?
New music, new endeavors with my skincare line, new heights I’m about to really deep dive into who I’ve become since the last time you all have seen/heard from me for real and this will be my most authentic expression this far. That I can promise. I plan on being brutally honest in the next season to come.