Elijah Blake is one of the most talented songwriters in the game, but he’s also an artist in his own right. Having contributed to some of music’s biggest records, a 15-year-old Elijah wrote “Jupiter Love” on Trey Songz’ critically-acclaimed Ready album. After that, he wrote Rihanna’s “No Love Allowed,” Justin Bieber’s I Would,” and Usher’s “Climax” — which initiated a whole controversy as of late.
DJ and producer Diplo recently tweeted that Usher’s 2012 single was in fact, inspired by The Weeknd. But when Diplo listed all the people in the room for that recording session, he mistook Eric Bellinger for Elijah Blake (or so we think).
Blake is a big kid at heart, which makes sense given his slight trolling. The Carribean, Florida native was quick to respond, laughing at the matter and stating it couldn’t have been Diplo tweeting. Regardless, the show must go on.
Elijah’s first feature as an artist appeared on Rick Ross’ “Presidential” on God Forgives, I Don’t, also working with The Game on “Freedom.” Fast forward to 2020, Blake recently released his new single titled “Frenemies” inspired by Nipsey Hussle, with a powerful visual to match.
Flaunt Mag caught up with Elijah to discuss his solo artistry, the “Climax” ordeal, his new single “Frenemies,” working with Nipsey and The Game, and more!
How are you so plugged in? You’ve written for all the greats.
I try to get in where I fit in, and it takes a check. All jokes aside, it’s really what I love as an artist. I was an artist first before I ever wrote my first song, but there’s certain sacrifices and compromises I wasn’t willing to make. Songwriting afforded me the ability to still be able to sustain and live the life I want to live, while also being able to do a slower build on my artistry the way I want to do it.
How’s that been? Being able to focus on your artistry.
Amazing! This is the best, most liberated time for me as an artist. I’ve been doing music I want to do, sing the way I want to sing, play in areas I want to play in. Experiment with my visuals — I wasn’t able to do at Def Jam per se, no disrespect to them. I really feel enamored.
You were signed to Def Jam as an artist?
I was signed to Def Jam as an artist, but signed to Sony as a songwriter.
There’s always this weird line between songwriters and artists, but most songwriters are artists to begin with.
Definitely. My favorite artists honestly are singer-songwriters. I used to hate when Def Jam tried to seperate it. Lauryn Hill, singer-songwriter. Stevie Wonder, the best singer-songwriter of all time. That’s what I grew up on. When I was at Def Jam, they’re like “are you more of a songwriter or more of an artist?” I’m like “Shit, I didn’t know I had to pick motherfucker!” [Laughs]
How’s quarantine life?
I’m at the crib right now. Honestly I’m a homeboy, so it’s not too bad. At this point, I’m starting to be like “okay, now ya’ll playing.” I need to go to the gym, I’m starting to lose my lineup. I’m getting smaller, it’s killing me.
Do you miss Florida?
All the time. I miss the weather, I love the people. You’re going to think I’m crazy but I love the humidity. I love the food. I’m from the Caribbean too, so it’s close to the water.
Who’s Elijah Blake listening to?
I listen to old school artists. I listen to Prince. I listen to Mariah Carey, who liked my post today. Who I love. She was doing something for COVID-19, I told her how much I loved her. People were sending screenshots that she liked or retweeted. For somebody whose moniker is “I don’t know her,” to the crazy ass fan who said “who are you?” I wanted to say, “Mariah knows.” [Laughs] They have to type my @…
Stan culture is so funny to me. I see it even in my fans. Of course my fanbase is not as big as Mariah’s or Usher’s, I’m still a new artist. Like Lizzo, you don’t really start until you have your big moment. Even when it’s done and I’m on the side where they’re going hard on people for me, I’m like “nah you gotta chill.” Life is too short. People are really dying. If I’m having fun or somebody else is having fun, it’s never that deep. Do I agree with his comment? No. Do I think he’s the worst person in the world? No. It’s not that deep. People take it and make it so much. It’s music, it’s supposed to make you feel.
What’s the definition of a “Frenemy”?
I’m really excited about my single. It was inspired by Nipsey Hussle, the fact that his passing came from someone he considered a friend at one point in time. Really watching the people around you. Diplo, can’t remember who wrote the song. [laughs] That’s my dawg.
What inspired you to record that song? Did something happen?
We’re still in the hypebeast culture right now, but watching the people share the same love or affinity for something like Jordans. Being able to kill a brother over shoes. In the first line: “I just seen a n*gga lose his life over some Yeezys. [sings] Nowadays you’re better off coppin’ yo shit off eBay. Fashion killers on the move they want that shit the free way, you can be broke long as you fly you might catch you a new bae.”
A lot of these n*ggas really don’t have the swag like that. They don’t have the juice, so they need a Supreme shirt to get the chick’s attention. But a real n*gga can put on a tank top and still be fresh, or you can mix it. True style is individuality. When I see someone put on something I wouldn’t necessarily think goes together, okay you got style. Now, everybody wants what everybody else has. They’re willing to kill over it, it’s so annoying.
How was working with Nipsey on Game’s “Fuck a Bitch”?
I was in the studio, Game told me to pull up. Me, Game and Nipsey, it was a fun record. To this day, it still cracks at the house parties in LA. People wouldn’t really expect it but Game has a really dope sense of humor. I’m a big goofball so we connected on that end. I went in there, did my hook — just to be able to see Joe Moses and them to kill it. People wouldn’t expect Elijah Blake to be chillin’ at a Game session, but I’m really comfortable. I’m really from the streets. I’m from the hood. I used to chill with people at the corner store, that was my environment. I know how to do me. Not to say I’m a perpetrator being there holding a gun and being hella hood either, but I’ve grown up always in the middle of both spectrums.
How do you create a vibe in the studio?
It’ll sound good if I said I need to light a candle or incense, I’ve tried it but it doesn’t really work. Sometimes, it’s me and a pen. I was sleeping last night and a whole hook came to me in my sleep. I was so tired I didn’t even get up to write it down. Sometimes, it’s me and the producer produce from scratch. Telling him what chords I’m hearing, do it from the ground up.
What’s your relationship with Kehlani?
I vocal produced a lot of the new project, helped out on “All Me” with her and Keyshia Cole.
What does vocal produce exactly mean?
Set up the arrangements, harmonies. Sometimes it helps the artist to have a separate ear. Even me, an ear I trust in the studio to say “yo, change this. Do this better.” To really push you and pull out the best in you. Whitney had a vocal producer, Mariah had a vocal producer.
What’s your relationship with Lani?
I love her, she’s incredible. She’s super talented. She records really quick, she has a dope ear. Her perspective, what she offers to the music industry is very interesting. Her whole album is crack.
What can we expect from your third studio album, The Neon Eon?
It’s mixing up all the colors. Because of the internet, everything’s fusing in one beautiful melting pot. Trap drums and 808s are going with electronic sounds, everything’s being blended in and mixed in without being boxed in from genre to genre. That’s really what I thought was beautiful about “Climax,” the electronic sounds but with soulful melodies. People try to seperate it with the production, but no. It’s the whole song in general, something different that we haven’t heard before.
When’s it dropping?
Coming summertime for sure. It’s more uptempo. People are used to hearing me being sad and emo, but this is going to be uptempo, party, summertime. I know when people come out of quarantine, nobody’s trying to be sad. Everybody’s going to go out and have fun, so this project’s going to be more electrifying and fun. I’m going to play with all of these elements that I love from Prince, that I love from Florida. Everything that makes me me. I’m trying to break that barrier, break every box people try to put me in.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
Honestly, I’m having fun. It’s all the support. I’d be lying if I said I’m doing it for Jesus, I’m not a gospel singer. Of course, I want this project to go #1. I want it to be my big project. At the same time, I’m really making the music I love. I have an amazing team. Everything in due time. If you look at Lizzo’s success story, me and Lucky Daye came up together in Atlanta being in the streets together. You have to put your blinders on and go. Don’t worry about what other people are saying. I’m in a really good space, my next royalty check is going to be lit.
Are you getting into acting?
Yes, I actually have. I’ve been taking acting classes, got a couple dope callbacks. I want to commit myself to this album and focus on that. I don’t want to disrespect anyone who takes acting super seriously, but a couple of really dope opportunities have come to the table in the past. In the future as well, it’s going to be dope.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Listen to “Frenemies,” stay tuned for the new project. Live, love, laugh. That’s what I want people to know, it’s no beef. I don’t really have no desire. As a singer-songwriter, we have mutual friends. People are taking this thing too seriously. Maybe it’s the dynamic with my friends. If I’m in a room with my best friend and he says something crazy, I’d say “bro what you talking about? Hell no.” That’s who I am. In Florida, we roast you like “get your man! Your mama this that.” It’s never that deep. “You’re so rude, you’re shady.” That n*gga isn’t even making it that deep, but thank you all I guess. Every time you retweeted to say something crazy, the views are up.
Do the negative comments ever get to you?
Never, I’m Carribean. I have thick skin. The way my homies talk to me and cuss me out… my grandma used to roast the shit out of me. None of that shit bothered me. Me and my best friends get mad at each other and say crazy shit, that’s how I was brought up. That shit doesn’t bother me, I be laughing. Sometimes I see something and screenshot like “haha, look what they said.” I don’t care. At this point, I gave it energy and had a whole day to be funny. Now it’s back to the basics. It’s a block party. If I see that shit now that I’m off it, you get blocked. I’m not going back and forth with that rah-rah.
Are you single?
No, I’m not single. [laughs] I’m with God, I’m never alone.