Elliott Trent is ready to step out from behind-the-scenes and step into the limelight as a solo recording artist. At 27 years old, the Columbus, Ohio native has solidified his place as one of the most sought-after songwriters and producers in the industry. His biggest placements to date include producing Trippie Redd 2017 smash “Love Scars,” co-writing Kehlani’s fan favorite “Nights Like This” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, co-writing Chris Brown’s “Flashbacks” off Indigo, and even being recruited by Usher and Zaytoven to write five out of eight songs on their joint project A.
Having sung since the early age of 9, Elliott describes himself as an “R&B singer full of vibes, trying to put my own sound and story out.” Currently signed to PIVTL Projects (new label launched by Believe Music), he now releases new EP titled INTO THE NIGHT, spearheaded by lead single “Motions.”
Flaunt caught up with Elliott via Facetime to discuss how he got engulfed in music, songwriting for Kehlani and Chris Brown, the meaning behind “Safeside,” goals, and more!
Being from Columbus, Ohio, what was the household like growing up?
I grew up with 2 brothers and 3 sisters in the house. I had more siblings than that but everything was cool. When I started doing music, my dad separated me from them. He put me in my own room and had me doing music every day. It was normal up until 10 years old. I was focused on music, doing music music music. Certain chores I didn’t have to do, I didn’t have to wash the dishes as much. It’s more so about music, my dad was helping me nurture my talents.
Biggest influences growing up?
I listened to Micheal Jackson, Usher, Mario, all the dope people. Boyz II Men, all the old school.
Talk about your strong pen game, how did it help your own artistry?
I started writing around 11. I’d write whatever, little words here and there. Never really making sense. My dad started off writing for me, I’d give him rhythms to write to. He showed me exactly why he’s saying a certain thing, explaining to me how songwriting is with different kinds of style and formats of a song. I was learning that at a young age and started taking it serious around 13, started producing at 16.
Did you teach yourself how to produce at 16?
For the most part yeah, I learned as I went. At first, I wasn’t really trying to get into production because I’m not that knowledgeable in playing the piano or any other instrument. I know how to play the piano and guitar, but that’s by ear. I went to Chicago to meet up with this artist named Willie Taylor from Day26, he linked me up with one of his producers. Once I saw he had an easy way of finding his way around the keyboard, I started getting into it more. Loved making beats ever since.
How’d you end up writing Chris Brown’s “Flashbacks” off Indigo?
“Flashbacks” started off as a song for Noah Cyrus. She was there in the session but 15 minutes in, she ended up leaving. She had something else she had to do. I was about to leave because she left and I was there for her, but they said “nah man finish the song, it’s dope.” It turned out good. That following week, they hit me up saying that Chris Brown wants to cut the song.
Crazy, what was your reaction?
At that time, a lot of people were saying they wanted to record my songs so I stopped getting excited. I wanted to wait until it happened to get happy or excited, because I didn’t want to jinx it. I’m excited, that was dope. A big goal for me.
You co-write Kehlani’s “Nights Like This” with Ty$. What was the dynamic in the studio?
Creating that song, I didn’t know she’s the one cutting the song. Me and my friend were writing and recording from our own experience, she ended up hearing it and loved it. She recorded it. Next thing you know, I heard her version and fell in love with it more. She had to sing it because it sounded beautiful. She wanted me to help her produce it vocally, help her sing it. We linked up, she recorded it. Dope session.
This whole time, were you wanting to be an artist?
I’ve been doing music since I was 9. In my head the whole time, I’m thinking I’m Elliot Trent. That’s how I’m carrying myself, trying to be the artist. Wasn’t writing or producing but as time went by, different things in my life happened that put me in a position. I ended up being around people also into music, helping them write, produce. Realized that those things could help other people, other artists. I got into it not even thinking about it. I looked up 2 years later and I’m still writing. [chuckles]
“Safeside” is such a vibe. Who or what inspired this one?
“Safeside” isn’t inspired by a specific person, but similar experiences between a couple females I interact with. It’s promoting safe sex. Sometimes, you can have somebody you’re super sexually active with. From my experience once you become sexually active with somebody unprotected, you become more connected and close. They feel they shared a part of them they don’t usually do. At that time, I wasn’t ready to get into a relationship. I wasnt ready for anything that comes from unprotected sex: another kid. I don’t want any STDs.
How many kids do you have?
I have 2 kids: a son and a daughter. My son is 7, my daughter is 2. Going through that experience, I had that conversation with somebody before along the lines of what the song’s talking about. Be on the safe side, I don’t want to catch any feelings. We both don’t have limits with how far we go with each other, it’s supposed to be fun and positive.
You just released the visual for “Motions.” What were you looking to capture with this one?
What inspired “Motions” is I’m a lot different from a lot of my friends, when it comes how I am in my relationships. Majority of the time I take them serious. I’m a Cancer. If I like somebody, I have confidence in them enjoying how I treat them. Feeling like I could be addicting. That song’s me being confident in being someone’s significant other. Nobody really knows what it means to go through the motions. From my perspective, I see it as somebody being all over the place over somebody.
What can we expect from your forthcoming EP INTO THE NIGHT?
Majority of my music I’ve released prior are urban R&B, this has more of a fresh pop sound. I have different songs on there I probably wouldn’t have released a couple years ago. I never wrote a whole pop song or even country, but I went to Nashville and we worked on some country/pop songs. My voice sounded good on those. This is the first project introducing that sound. I’ve been in music for a long time, but I’m fresh as an artist. All my music is a combination of all the dope stuff I’m working on. A lot of people love it, it’s super vibey.
How do you create a vibe in the studio?
I go with how I feel. I’m more productive when I’m by myself. I go to Youtube or my hard drive, find a beat, get a style that gets me in the musical mode. I get the beat, record the rhythms how the beat makes me feel. Think of a concept first, then plug the lyrics in.
Goals for yourself at this point of your career?
Biggest goal is I want a #1 song, be on Billboards. I want my career to go as far as it could go. I want to get more placements, write for more artists, have a Platinum album. I’d love to do a song with Drake, that’s a big goal of mine.
What do you think is going to take to get there?
I have to keep putting energy towards promoting. Creating, keep putting music out, keep putting my brand out there along with myself. Anybody who listens to my music would love it, majority people who hear it love it. It’s all about getting it to them to hear.