Interview by DJ Aaron Omar
In what I like to call a "Circle of Good Music," Zeek Elliot was introduced to PMF through Travis Mendes, whom he met after a Jon Bellion show in his home state of Texas. Zeek reached out to me and sent over some really awesome music, including his debut single "Tough Times," due to release on October 1st.
We have an exclusive 1st listen of "Tough Times" on this week's Fresh Selections playlist (click HERE to listen). Without further ado, check out my interview with Mr. Zeek Elliott.
What's up Zeek. For starters, I really enjoyed the message and vibe of "Tough Times." It has a classic inspirational feel that I'm sure many people will appreciate. What made you decide to tackle that subject matter for your 1st single?
I was a little hesitant to drop such a mellow and deep track for my first official release, but the content really came out of a place of struggle. My family and I were going through some issues that were really heavy on me spiritually. This track is a direct reflection of that. I decided to completely open myself to the world and write the thoughts in my head.
Let's go back for a bit. Everybody is a fan of something before they decide to pursue it as a career. What artists, songs, or albums had the biggest impact on you from a fan's perspective?
I went through a time of depression once my injury forced me out of soccer. I mean, when you dedicate your whole life to something and it's taken away in a moment, it's pretty hard to accept. When I say dedicate my life I mean training 4-5 days a week, traveling and playing games on the weekend since I was 13 years old; spending time away from my family traveling to Europe to play in big youth soccer tournaments. It was my dream to play professional soccer, God closed the door and I didn't know why. I wrote/produced music and had a little home studio as a hobby when I was about 15. I played in my church and always loved writing and recording music.
After your dreams of playing soccer professionally came to a close, how did you find yourself getting back into music?
When I saw Jon Bellion's "making of..." videos, they inspired me to begin making music again and pursue it as a career. The enjoyment and natural artistic flow that was captured by DXTR made such a big impact on me. It brought back memories of when I felt that spark as a kid.
I then began building a home studio out of my one-bedroom condo living room with a lot of my old gear I had invested in throughout the years. I began studying Jon's music and what some of his inspirations are–Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest, Death Cab, Kanye– and found inspiration from them as well. I've always been inspired by Led Zeppelin, B.B King, Queen and NWA to name a few. Travis Mendes, Dre Boogie and DJ Rhetorik have offered some invaluable advice that has inspired me to continue making music and what steps to take in my early career.
I'm finishing up my degree this semester in marketing and work full time at the university. I know it will take a while for my music to be a financially stable career for me. In the meantime, I am mastering my craft in audio engineering and producing while working on my creative musicianship. I know where I want to end up, it just takes time and patience to get there.
You grew up in Mesquite, Texas, which I can't say I'm familiar with. Is there anything about where you grew up that has an influence on your music choices today?
Mesquite is a suburb 15 minutes from Downtown Dallas. Dallas has incredible local talent that influenced me with groups like Hemmle, Serosia, Lil Wil, Brian Gang. I'm a huge supporter of local artists in all facets of creativity–film, art, music. A local indie film director, Josh Jordan, is a big inspiration.
How would you say your music has grown since you've started working with your producer Alex Cotton?
It's a huge blessing to have met Alex. His expertise in producing takes the production quality to a new league. I wasn't going to officially release music until I knew I was happy with the production quality. So I took that time to find my sound and see what works with my audience. I prayed in the meantime for someone to join this project and help take my music to the next level–I met Alex in a computer store while upgrading my ram to continue finishing this song. He took over production and really brought the track to life. Crazy how it happened.
Now that "Tough Times" is rolling out, what's next for you?
I have a few tracks queued up for the studio. As an artist, I'm always looking to improve and know I'm not where I want to be. I'm in this industry with a long-game approach. It takes patience and a lot of hard work mastering the craft. I'm just beginning and I know there are a lot of dues that have to be paid and am willing to enjoy this time in my career and trust the struggle.
Thanks for your time. Let our readers know where they can get your new single as well as where they can follow you online.
You can preview and pre-order the single on iTunes now! The track will officially release on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more on October 1st! Pre-order the track for a shout out on Facebook and Twitter! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Visit ZeekElliott.com for behind-the-scenes blogs and videos!
Preview & Pre-order HERE