Jeffrey Eli releases his latest track “Gay Man”, talks new music, Tiktok & more

Jeffrey Eli is an artist who is not so much defined by genres as he is emboldened by them; from the dada-art inspired, hyper-pop bop of “Zoom” to the stadium rock of “Sleeping Beauty“- as a chorus of electric guitars swoon in Jeffrey’s angelic plea “It’s not mind or world / It’s not boy or girl / It’s not life and death its birth while living is eternal” sounds as much as a generation-defining artist statement as it does a top-40 hit. At one moment, amidst a backdrop of thumping staccato guitars, his lyrics interpolate psychedelic imagery and investigate his fear of God, while at another, he is packing the emotional heft of years growing up gay into a digestible pop song. Calling upon influences of childhood imagery but with mature storytelling, he writes in dichotomy. His original songs and massive range have garnered him 16 million likes and over 830k followers on TikTok. In 2022 alone, these videos earned praise from the likes of SZA, Chloe Bailey, and Silk Sonic. Now having recently relocated to New York, and with a slew of upcoming releases slated for 2023, Jeffrey Eli is beginning to write his queer fairytale. Jeffrey eases his fans wishes with new music and releases his latest single “Gay Man” accompanied by a music video you can watch HERE. Read our Exclusive Interview with Jeffrey below.

Photography by Tyler Twitty

Featured Interview:

Tell us about your latest single, “Gay Man,” where did the inspiration come from?

Last summer, I was writing a lot of somber songs about boys who didn’t like me back. My friend Brandon Shoop, who produced “Gay Man,” said, “No more sad songs.” I think the opposite of a sad song is a freaky one. So, when he started the beat, the idea to make a tune about falling in love with a woman popped into my head. I started singing the post “You make a gay man go straight,” and everything came from that. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t based on true events.

Now that you have made the move from LA to NYC, how do you plan to disrupt the music industry?

I am thinking about getting a sound device permit so I can perform outside in Lafayette and Jersey. I took a mental health break from TikTok, but I want to lean more into it again. I went live the other night and played a bunch of demos, which was really fun and therapeutic.

Who are your musical heroes?

My biggest musical heroes are the main pop girls. My upcoming song, “Wife Pleaser,” references and celebrates some of my idols, iconic female innovators like Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Ariana Grande. That song is all about being the pop girl I never thought I could be growing up, and now seeing her come to fruition in my 20s.

When did you fall in love with music?

I admit that the cliche, “I’ve been singing before I could walk,” is true. I was three years old and singing on top of tables in public. A big moment for me was hearing the Mariah Carey Christmas album for the first time and listening to her voice soars across every octave. It was like she was flying with her voice. I wanted to do that. Another great memory was in middle school summer when I would stay up until 4 AM crying my eyes out to “The Listening Sessions – Ariana Grande Tour” videos on YouTube.

What is your writing and recording process?

With writing, I like to try out different approaches and be flexible, but when it comes to singing. I always track my own vocals because I am shy and quite particular about getting the right takes. I pretty much just hunch over my laptop in a closet for 10 hours after an oat milk latte from Dunkin. Sometimes, I get a matcha. It’s a daily routine. I often start with guitar loops and sing melodies for a few passes, then I work on the lyrics. “Sleeping Beauty” is one of the songs I am most proud of because that was just me on my guitar, singing about what I had been suppressing for years into the voice memo app. Then, a few days later, I recorded the vocals and sent it to [co-writer and co-producer] Jake Weinberg.

What are you most looking forward to people hearing with your upcoming music?

I am super excited for people to hear more songs about gender, fluidity, and sexuality. I think these topics aren’t always explored enough in pop music. My upcoming songs are ones that I wish a younger version of myself could have had.

How would you describe your personal style and how has it grown over the years?

I used to wear khakis and sportswear. Now if I do, it’s paired with stilettos and attempting to be ironic. Moving from Massachusetts to New York after high school got me more into thrifting and helped me learn how to tell a story with outfits. Recently I’ve been going for a yassified witch.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your 16-year-old self?

Gay is okay, the pompadour undercut is not.

Tell us what’s next on your superstar journey.

I am manifesting an opening slot on tour with someone, but I am very superstitious about speaking too soon. Let’s just say whoever you can picture me opening for, that’s who I am talking about.

Gimme More POP

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