To all my readers, I advise that you start listening to one of my new favorite artists, Elwell. The Minneapolis native has been creating and singing music for the past 12 years and is continuing too. Elwell’s vulnerable vocals navigate a fluid soundscape, using glitches and electronic flourishes to mirror the emotional peaks and valleys. I was able to hear about his story and how he became interested in music and his future plans as a musician.
I always ask my artist’s and bands that I interview to tell me their story and how they got into music. Would you mind telling yours?
Music has always been in my family and around the house. My dad primarily plays the piano, but he and my mom both play a bit of guitar. My Grandfather, Lee Wilkins, was a fantastic musician. He played saxophone and clarinet (probably any reed instrument for that matter) and he was in a swing/big band group for many, many years before he died. He also was the main arranger for the group. I remember that he had this old upright piano in the basement of my Grandparents house and as a little kid I would always go down there and mess around on it. I had to make sure to be extra careful because he had all his charts strewn about and I would catch hell if I messed any of those up.
The moment I knew that I wanted to play music and perform was at a family reunion when I was eleven years old. My cousins had come to our cabin in northern Minnesota and all of them brought guitars and the like, and when they sang and played I was just sold. They were the coolest people I had ever met in real life. As soon I that reunion was over, I had my sights set on being a musician and here we are now.
How was your tour in 2014 when you traveled to Ireland?
Ireland is great! I am not of Irish ancestrally, but I really feel a special connection with the country. At the time I was playing something like folk music and touring with just a guitar. The Irish have a tradition of legendary folk musicians, so to go there and play my songs was a fantastic experience and I will never forget it. Apart from the few odd gigs where things are amiss from the start, the people were kind, welcoming and very gracious. They really appreciate musicians and our craft and they don’t take it for granted when people make the effort to come play for them, especially if you’ve come such a long way.
Are you working on any new music, album, singles, or even planning on going on tour?
I am! I am actually headed back into the studio very soon with my producer Brett Bullion to start work on a couple new songs. I have a whole album of unheard stuff, just waiting to be released right now as well. As for touring, I’d love to get back on the road, but at the moment I am focusing on doing a few local gigs and getting the new stuff to as many ears as possible. But, you never know what is around the corner and if a tour pops up and it fits, then perhaps I’ll be back in the van, doing gigs.
On your album, what song do you think all your new listeners should first listen to?
I would definitely point the listener to the first single off the record, “Closer”. I think it is a jam and it is a really good way to get into the vibe of the record. It also is a great song to prepare the listener for the weirder and more intense songs from the record that haven’t been released yet.
If you could collaborate with any other artist who would it be?
If I could collaborate with any other artist it would be Kanye West. I know that is probably an answer that a lot of people would say, but I think that, apart from being a life changing opportunity, it would be an intense learning experience to be able to song-write with an artist with such talent and vision. Plus, I love Kanye.
I love your remix of Bon Iver’s song, “Towers.” Do you think you’ll do anymore remixes of big songs (example, “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift or “Roses” by the Chainsmokers)?
First off, thank you! I appreciate that a lot. I love remixing songs and would definitely be interested in doing more than that. I will make a note of those songs and try to get my hands on some stems to get those remixes happening!
Keep on rockin’ and we hope to see you in Boston soon!