Elijah Mann Sends Up The Signal With Aching Track “Dust Storm Darlin’”

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Elijah Mann specialises in electro-folk. Born and raised in the New England state of Connecticut, he has established himself as a formidable live act with a talent for thoughtful songwriting in independent music scenes from LA to Austin and beyond.

The New York-based musician has performed at places including Rockwood Music Hall, Berlin, and The Bowery Electric since moving to the Big Apple.

To celebrate the release of his new track “Dust Storm Darlin’,” he stopped by the studio to talk with us. He opened up about how he got started in music, what inspires him, and more.

What is your real and showbiz name?
My real name and my Showbiz name are the same: Elijah Mann. Most folks call me Eli.

How did you get into music?
I got into music pretty late, compared to others. I was a huge musical theatre nerd growing up, but I’d always listen to music from the 60s/70s with my dad (Rolling Stones, Elton John, Paul Simon, etc).

The first rock album I bought with my own money was “High Voltage” by AC/DC when I was 13, around the same time I bought my first guitar.

What field or genre are you into and how would you describe it?
I’ve been calling my genre of music “Electro-folk”. My writing is very much inspired by the folk/Americana tradition, albeit some of the newer voices in that tradition (Anais Mitchell, Foy Vance, Glen Hansard, Hozier, Joy Williams… to name a few), but the instrumentation and production go much farther.

I love that guitar rock sound of the 70s and early 2000s, as well as the synth textures and world-ending drums of 80s pop/rock. More modern artists I’ve been inspired by include Phoebe Bridgers, Torres, Ethan Gruska, and Bleachers. I’m always trying to figure out how to make my songs explode.

What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
My first official release came in 2016 with “To Fall Apart“, an EP I sort of saw as my senior thesis for music school. A lot of it was me figuring out how an album gets made, what I like/dislike, how I work with other musicians, and what parts of me I want an album or a song to showcase.

Since then I’ve released a 2nd EP “The Flooding Season” and 5 singles, each project learning from the one before. Maybe I’m too close to the subject, but I feel like you can hear the growth in my voice, my writing, my production, and my intention, from project to project.

Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
I get so inspired by the other artists around me. I’m very fortunate to be part of a very supportive community of artists in New York. We all stream each other’s songs on heavy rotation, we share tracks with everyone we know, we collaborate on projects (either co-writing or singing/playing), and we pack each other’s shows.

I’m constantly pushed to a place I didn’t think I could get to because of that community. (And hey, while you’re at it, go stream Paola Bennet, Jordan Popky, Ellajay, Trophy Wife, Ori Atomi, City Island, Kiirstin Marilyn, Giselle, and Yify Zhang).

Elijah Mann Sends Up The Signal With Aching Track “Dust Storm Darlin”
Elijah Mann Sends Up The Signal With Aching Track “Dust Storm Darlin”

Any models you look up to? With reason(s) why?
I really look up to artists that have found their own way of making their careers in music. Whether it’s by leaning hard into the internet by regularly posting full live bedroom videos of new songs like Orla Gartland, or committing to touring over 200 days out of a year like Seth Glier or Liz Longley.

What do you look out for in this line of business?
I’m not sure if I’m the best person to give advice about the music industry. But I think it’s important to release just how much of it is just marketing to a lot of the execs out there. And while that’s important, it’s just as important to make sure that doesn’t influence your creative process.

What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
I think the biggest challenge facing everyone I know in this business is how to make it sustainable. I know very few people who aren’t currently operating at a loss, myself included.

Everything costs money, and there are a lot of systems set up for indie artists that are really just out there taking our money and not doing anything in return.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
The internet has been a great neutralizer for a lot of musicians. On one hand, you don’t need a label for your music to be heard, you just need Wifi.

On the other hand, now that there are millions and millions of artists to listen to, it’s easier to get lost in the shuffle. I don’t think the internet is fully good or fully bad, it’s a tool that we’re all trying to figure out how to use.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
This is some advice that I honestly should start listening to myself: create a routine around writing. I feel the best about myself as an artist when I write *something* every day. So it stops being this precious little activity, it’s just something you do.

What is your current project about?
My new release is a song called “Dust Storm Darlin’ “. In 2018 the Mar Rover Opportunity was caught in a planetary dust storm. Before losing the signal, it sent the message “My battery’s low and it’s getting dark.”

The scientists at NASA, some of whom had grown very attached to this little robot, decided to send one last message: They sent a recording of Billie Holliday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.” This story was all I could think of in the summer of 2020, as I flew down to Alabama to see my grandmother for the last time. To put it simply: “Dust Storm Darlin'” is a song about learning how to say goodbye.

What are your hobbies?
Recently I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of DnD. I know very little about it right now, but I’m having a lot of fun! I also love cooking and coffee.

What do you do aside from this profession?
Aside from music, I work on the wholesale team of a coffee company. I get to help small cafes build their coffee program from the ground up. I literally get paid to geek out about one of my favourite things.

What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thank you so much for supporting me, keep on listening, there’s more coming!

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MrrrDaisy is the Owner of Music Arena Gh.  As a graphic designer, blogger and social media expert, he is a confident and creative designer who is self-motivated, self-sufficient and comes to you with a strong background in both print and digital media. He currently lives and studies Digital Media at Nottingham College, United Kingdom.

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