What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is artist, Eli Yenskii. Eli is straight out of Atllanta Georgia by way of New York. Eli style is R&B, vibey, and heavy on the bars when it needs to be. We can definitely see Eli performing on stages such as Rolling Loud or Coachella. The Atlanta based MC has been on our radar for a while so we had to tap in with him! Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: When did you start making music?
Eli: I started writing songs in elementary school. The songs were extremely corny lyrically and at the time it was just for fun; but I could always sing really well so no one really cared about the lyrics. I started recording music when I was 15 with my highschool music teacher, who had a home set up. Around this time I had also learned how to make beats with Garageband on my Iphone. About a year later I started working with my current engineer (felz), on my first project 3/8, which dropped in 2019.
Westleaf Staff:Dope! So you've been doing this! What city are you repping?
Definitely NYC & ATL all day!
Westleaf Staff: Thise cities have both produced some legends. How did your early life shape your interest in music?
I was always happiest when I was singing and dancing, and it was often an escape for me. I started singing in the youth choir in church when I was really young, along with participating in multiple musical theater groups and programs in Atlanta. I would put together little singing groups with my neighborhood friends on the westside, and in my early teen years I ended up joining a musical theater company in Atlanta; where I met a lot of the amazing people that inspired and motivated me to really pursue music full time.
Westleaf Staff: Nice! Who is your biggest musical influence?
Eli: I can’t really say that I have one that stands above others. I’ve been inspired by a lot of different artists and musicians overtime, and at different times; like GaGa, Bey, Prince etc… Right now, I’m REALLY into Doja Cat though. Her versatility and fearlessness is definitely admirable.
Westleaf Staff: I love Doja! What has been the defining moment in your music career?
There have been many. I honestly feel like every time I’m able to get on stage is a defining moment because it's always a new fun experience; but I will say that one of my biggest moments happened when I got the opportunity to perform twice at BonfireATL. The energy and love from the entire audience was so potent & I’ll never forget those performances.
Westleaf Staff: What makes you a unique artist?
Eli: I think my ability to adapt in a way that stays true to my authentic self and purpose is a huge factor in what makes me different. Music wise, what makes me unique is that I can’t be placed in any specific genre because every song or project I do sounds and feels completely different, but in the most cohesive way.
Westleaf Staff: What does art mean to you?
Eli: Art is expressive. Art is expression. It’s everywhere and in everything. Art is liberation, and for many an escape. It’s one of the few things on this plane that can be both tangible and intangible. Art is life.
Westleaf Staff: How did you create your stage name?
Eli: My middle name is Elijah (Eli), which is also the first name of my uncle who passed away when I was young. In a lot of strange ways I feel like he’s been one of my guardian angels/protectors on my journey
Yenskii actually came from an inside thing between me and my best friend when I was 14. It’s one of those things where if you know, you know.
Westleaf Staff: That's super insightful. Respect. Describe your music in 3 words.
Eli: Free, fun, & fresh.
Westleaf Staff: Before we go, here do you see your music career going over the next few years?
Eli: Hopefully there will be a full length album or two. I definitely want to be performing on a larger scale, and in front of larger audiences, but my biggest goal is to be able to travel and perform in other states more. I’d love to meet new people that listen to my music but can't necessarily come to a show in Atlanta
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