Now years removed from his departure from Roc Nation today sees Elijah Blake begin a new industry journey with the single ‘Black & Blue‘.
A lot’s changed since my last conversation with TGJ. Since then, I’ve been working on my new LP which is uptempo, inspired by Funk and fearless. A lot of it was inspired by Prince and his death. Actually, Prince dying encouraged me to leave Def Jam.
I felt a void in the industry and an empty space where unique artistry should be. I tried to play the game and stay at Def Jam but it didn’t work even when they started to believe in me but it wast enough.In our final meeting Steve Bartels said he’d seen me grow up and loved my music but the trust was gone and we both knew it. No I.D, who signed me, was leaving the label too and he was one of the only people who was backing me and understood me.I feel like others had a difficult marketing me because I didn’t fit into a narrow stereotypically box.My new team understand the direction and I’m excited about the freedom I have now and that extends beyond the music to the brands who believe in me and the project and the parts they can play in supporting it. I believe that’s where music is going. Brand partnerships are becoming popular among artist circles who may not be interested in the major label system.
It happens whenever there are changes (Vinyl, CD, Tape, Streams) and I’m embracing it because I’m changing too. My older music was moody because I was in a dark place artistically because I didn’t feel I didn’t get as many opportunities as I would have liked.
Now, I’m alright with knowing I’m not for everybody and I’m making music and celebrating the liberation of myself and that joy’s coming through in the sound.
So, is he against major labels?
I tried to avoid the major labels when I left Def Jam and I went into meetings with presidents and realised I may have been close to making the same mistake. I needed the time to figure out who I was. As it stands now I’m tailoring my deals to fit my artistry so it works both ways. Social media puts pressure on all of us to make it seem like we have it all figured out but I am happy to say I don’t have it all figured out. I’m learning that there’s strength in that growth. So many artists sign their lives away for an advance so they can buy chains and cars not realising how much more thy can make with brand partnerships in long term if they put art before their money.
The only reason black music “died” is because the label execs refused to spend on it. Streaming reflects the people’s interests which is why music created by the black community came back. Now is the right time for my music.
It drops in summer. I was Sony Music today and they heard it and agree it was made for the summer so I’m looking forward to that. The coolest thing about the album was that a lot of it was co-created by British producers and that lends to its sound. I’m in a positive space and by the grace of God the music is too.