The Open Mind of Eli'Jah Image

by Biko Kennedy

We caught up with the budding Reggae singer to find out more about his beginnings, musical journey and his hopes for the future.

JAMusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles? 
E: It is very important because one can never know their limitations, hidden talents and dreams until they embark on overcoming fear and doubt while testing the musical outdoors and inner realms. I have taken many risks, walking miles daily from studio to studio trying to get by in this music industry. If I had depressed my thoughts on the exhaustion that would follow after a long day’s walk in the mighty sun heat, cold rainfall and what some people thought or had to say, I would not be where I am today.

JAMusic: What elements do you hold that’ll define you as an entertainer as oppose to just another artiste?
E: I am an avid thinker - I research, I seek out knowledge to gain an understanding of situations so I can take an empathetic approach towards each one. I try to reach the hearts of the people, I go about each song based on what I have experienced throughout my lifetime. My music has and recommends solutions to counter negative vibrations such as: apathy, depression, anxiety, self-hate etc. I live as if my guitar is alive.

JAMusic:  What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads? 
E: I am glad you asked that, learning and then fusing to become one with the acoustic guitar, I devoted 3 whole years to just learning unique strums and vocal patterns on the acoustic guitar I became fixed on only sharpening the craft so I made a few sacrifices, I dropped out of school because of it, I have slept a few homeless nights, walked long journeys to studios, I have experienced hungry days only the love of Jah sustained me.

JAMusic: What do you consider to be the greatest obstacle that you had overcome in achieving your current status? 
E: Overcoming fear, learning to be courageous not being afraid to try again if something doesn’t go your way, so it’s overcoming the spiritual obstacle of fear no matter however it chooses to present itself, one must persist to persevere.

JAMusic: Let’s talk a bit about your latest work with Twin of Twins. What’s the story behind meeting them, working with them and being featured on their latest project - Stir It Up Volume 11. 
E: It’s a long story but it was something that happened naturally because they lived close by, with them being musical and I myself the same we would have eventually crossed paths and so I became a part of the stir it up family, they became musical mentors to me always motivating and reminding me to not be afraid of what others may think about my craft and that I should never allow this to stop or stray me from my path. I came across Eli-jah’s role unexpectedly one evening as I was on my way home from work, my phone rang, I saw that the Twins were calling , they asked me to come by the studio later on so I headed over there, I just had a good feeling. When I got there I heard them working on something that sounded funny because of the character’s voice and so on, it was then I learned how different and life changing  Twin of Twin’s stir it up volume 11 was about to make things not just only for me but for all those who were about to listen, they explained Eli-jah’s role and then asked me to take it on and for that I gave thanks and Eli-jah came to be, this volume reflects the bitter truth of society today not just within our inner cities but everywhere, problems within the home the breaking down of today’s family ,people devaluing themselves just to gain material wealth that eventually vanishes away and last but not least the excess use of social media and how that can destroy relationships. I personally felt Eli-jah’s role a bit more being it that I played the character, I felt every bit of every second of what Pinky had done. Working with the Twins doesn’t even feel like work because it’s always filled with so much laughter and knowledge, it has been an amazing and rich learning experience.

JAMusic: What would you consider to be the greatest contributor to your musical diversity and versatility? 
E: My greatest contributor is the life that I live one must appreciate life as the Creator’s sincere gift by becoming your best self, by being grateful, it is the mind’s eye seeking out growth to gain understanding ,learning to have a passion to evolve, accepting music for all that it truly is which is harmony, I am not afraid to be myself, I will sing about all that I know.

JAMusic: How does your musical influences compound when you are sitting to write a song and record it? / Apart from them being timeless, what drew you to all the artistes that influence your sound?
E: Well here is something that may seem odd about be, I can hear thought frequencies these are musical notes playing in my head from time to time based off whatever vibe I am grooving and vibes are moods. I hold a one away to achieve a calm and then I only think about becoming a better person so that I can help people around me because I just have this love inside I and I for Jah creation and so I begin to hum a melody. I extend high Ratifications to Inspirational ones such as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Buju Banton , Twin of Twins and Dennis brown.

JAMusic:  We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention? 
E: Well I am just being the unique individual that I am I’ll always keep an open mind, I love and enjoy the kind of music I do I believe that the message and lifetime that I sing about has within it the key to bring about paradise on earth because my message is love. I feel Life’s people and reason with them I am often in a meditative state of mind. I’ll try to bring one to appreciate themself, it is  not about getting attention for me it is really about extending Jah’s love because times are serious.

JAMusic: When you look to the future, what are some of the areas you’d like to change professionally and personally?E: Well I am satisfied with who I am and being it that my inspiration springs from growth and evolution I just make the best of what I have now taking my time day by day because no man truly knows what is it that tomorrow holds so I just keep it positive. My music is who I am and professionally I would love to learn other instruments explore new genres some time further along the journey.

JAMusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
E: I am just here to show ones and ones to live in love, plain and straight forward, too long has it been since humanity has been a captive of Babylon, will I ever see a day when the primetime news report comes in saying, no one was murdered today and the economy is trending well, everyone has access to better jobs now, we grow our own food and are exporting surplus will CNN and BBC ever broadcast world peace?  I am also known to many as Aljahbar this is my middle name and it means ‘one who consoles’ so upon learning the meaning of my name I then understood my virtue and that my purpose is to assist in raising the vibrations of the ill spirited, to show love and bring about peace on earth through musical harmony.

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