Interview: Elijah Blake
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:25:09
Elijah Blake Videos
Hit songwriter and R&B trailblazer carves out the stories behind his full-length debut Shadows & Diamonds...
As a songwriter, Elijah Blake has been behind songs for everybody from Rihanna and Rick Ross to Usher. However, we're just first getting to hear his voice on his phenomenal full-length debut Shadows & Diamonds [ARTium Recordings/Def Jam]—out now. The record is one jewel after another fashioned in eclectic production, guitar swells, and driven by his expansive and entrancing vocal range. In order to really open up this treasure trove, we talked to Elijah Blake in this exclusive interview about Shadows & Diamonds, movies, what inspires him, and so much more.
Did you approach Shadows & Diamonds so to encourage listening from beginning to end?
That was so key for me! If it was an album just full of hits, I don't know if it would feel that way. I don't want to be a "Singles" artist. I could've easily done an album full of hits. I write them for people all day. I wanted something that if you skipped a song, you would feel like you missed the story. Everything has to flow. That was really important to me and No I.D. We brought musicians in. They'd play at the end of one song, and then seamlessly change the key to go into the next one. I just wanted it to be one body of work.
What was the thematic thread?
Everything is a narrative. First of all, I wrote or co-wrote every song. They're all about something I went through personally or something I helped somebody through. The concept No I.D. had is that everything starts with "One." Before you have two, there is one. It's my first love, my first heartbreak, my first coming-to-Jesus moment about my insecurities as a young man and just being like, "Wow, I have to start taking some responsibility and accountability." That all started with my first high school sweetheart. She was the first woman I said, "I love you" to and the first I committed to.
In high school, you always think you've fallen in love, but that was the first time that someone was able to break my heart. It was the first time I realized I had the power to break somebody else's heart, and I had to take accountability for it, apologize for it, and come to the realization of what I did and how I affected her. It was the first time I watched myself break somebody so much by my actions being a young man that she was never the same anymore. You feel like, "I was in a relationship, and I don't even know you anymore. You're a different person." I could get upset and say, "Forget you," but I'm responsible for it. All of that is the narrative.