Probably not a household name to many people, but American singer / songwriter Elijah Blake is a man who has been behind a lot of your favorite R&B songs. His most famous hit that he penned was for Usher and his number 1 smash “Climax”, he has also worked on Rihanna’s recent album on the song “No Love Allowed”. At the age of 16 Blake signed a record deal with Atlantic records and worked with Trey Songz on his 2009 album “Ready”. Blake also appeared alongside rapper Rick Ross on the track “God Forgives, I Don’t” and also appeared on songs released from The Game and Keyshia Cole. In 2012 Elijah Blake decided to branch out on his own releasing his first solo mixtape entitled “Bijoux 22” which included the popular song “XOX” which featured Common. It was his first EP signing under Def Jam and earned him praise from the music world comparing his style to the likes of The Weeknd and Frank Ocean.
Although the comparisons are a compliment, Blake is very much his own artist with his own style and doesn’t really portray the electric vibe of The Weeknd nor the vulnerability of Frank Ocean. Instead were given a more sensual, smooth falsetto singing, thought provoking artist who manages to capture your visions on record. In 2014 Elijah Blake released his second EP called “Drift” which contained the ever popular single “I Just Wanna” that would go on to feature on his 2015 album “Shadows & Diamonds”. In 2016 he released yet another EP entitled “Blueberry Vapors” and went on to pave the way for his now newly released studio album “Audiology”.
Most successful artists I have always believed start as great songwriters, and from there manage to not only pen a catalog of hits but break into the music scene as a singer and win countless Grammy’s and other awards. So how did it all begin for Blake, well in an interview with Complex magazine he shun a little light on how his mind began writing art : “I started out doing poetry. I was in elementary school and I wanted to make money. I was too young to actually get a real job. There was like a little club where they would have poetry contests and I started going there and winning. I’ve always had a knack for English; anything from English literature or anything like that, I was naturally good at it. “I started winning poetry contests and getting money and stuff. One day, my mom went through my backpack. She saw a whole wad of money. It wasn’t that much but she knew that she didn’t give it to me. And I walked into the living room and she was in tears like, ‘Oh no, I tried to keep you away from the hood and now you’re selling drugs!’ She literally thought I was selling drugs. There was nothing I could have told her at that point in time to convince her. I was like, ‘No, I’m doing poetry contests.’ She was like, ‘At least come up with a better lie!’ One day she followed me there and there was a poem actually about her and halfway through the poem, I didn’t even finish and she just jumps up and she’s crying like, ‘That’s my baby and he’s talking about me!’ And she has like a little accent so it was just the funniest thing. She was in tears. If she hadn’t followed me till this day she would have thought I was selling drugs. It was that crazy!”
Blake’s passion for singing also started at a young age, and really began when he joined the choir at his local church. At the age of 7 it was his local pastor who pushed him to keep singing and develop his local range and Blake discussed his love for it all with Complex saying “I kept going there and I would sing in the choir and I really just developed this love because I just loved the whole thing of me being on stage and singing. So I was like, ‘Ok, I’ll do all the solos. As long I get to sing the solos, I don’t want to be in the choir!’ Anytime they tried to put me in the choir, I would be so loud that they just had to give me the solo. That was like my goal. And it just turned into this serious love for music. I just told my mom, ‘I have to be a singer. Everything else bores me.’ So she realized that it’s not that you didn’t care about school, it’s just you were bored.”
His dad a great piano player turned his son’s visions into reality and started to work with Blake and almost became a Joe Jackson or Matthew Knowles to him. They ended up doing an independent album together which they wrote and produced all the songs and released it on an ITunes platform that had just begun, and sold just over 60,000 units. At the time Blake has a job at Blockbuster video, and during a period when MySpace was the big social media platform, Blake was advertising his music through it. ” I woke up one morning—and this is when MySpace was popping—my MySpace was filled with messages from lower level A&Rs saying, ‘Please contact us ASAP! The vice president of A&R at Atlantic Records is trying to sign you!'” Blake said, and it was the moment he realized something big was about to happen.
At this moment Blake flew out to Atlanta and signed with Songbook and started working with singer Trey Songz. From then on Blake’s musical journey began and everyone could see even from a young age of 16 just how much of a gifted songwriter he was. When explaining his own style of writing Blake said “I make music for the misfits. I want to continue the legacy of the unorthodox, fearless non-stereotypical black male. I want to be vulnerable, I want to be truthful and I want to be fearless. And I want to be honest in [those] times that I am fearful. I find myself with so much liberation. I don’t give a f—k if I do everything you want and you’re still not happy. I may as well do what I want and be happy with myself at the end.”
Elijah Blake bares his soul on his new album “Audiology” and exhibits his lion hearted attitude. He also gets a whole lot more personal with his listeners like on the track “Momma Knows”, the singer reveals being molested as a child, a subject he’s never before discussed. “I want to die as an artist knowing I changed lives or was trying to save one or two lives. It’s our duty as artists and public figures to make somebody feel like they’re not alone.” Trying to secure with his own identity has never been an easy road for Blake but gathered a lot of support from his friends in the music business like Sam Smith and Nick Jonas, who he credits as people who were “keeping him sane”. “You feel like you’re kind of doing something wrong because the label doesn’t get it, but then you see it’s working,” he admits, “When you deal with so much scrutiny and there’s a guy at a [record] label who’s never been to a club, doesn’t probably even listen to the radio and he’s tell you your s—t doesn’t connect — how would you know?”
Blake has spent almost the majority of his career behind the scenes but now he is ready to break free as a solo artist and show his independence and showcase that through his new album “Audiology”. “It’s leaving a piece of my DNA on each song and getting through to people who I really am. The only thing that scares me now is to not walk in my calling and not walk in my purpose” Blake stated. Elijah Blake exposes himself every way possible in the lyrics of his latest album, and you can truly see just how gifted he is turning his poetry into life through his music.
Elijah Blake not only has phenomenal voice but also has a brilliant mind which makes for and incredible artist. Listen to one of my favorite songs by him below.