Forever in awe of his father, EL-Tan has always pushed himself into that creative realm. As a kid, his love of video games led him towards being more than a fan of music. We kicked things off by talking about how playing Xbox turned EL-Tan into a producer before middle school. From there we dove into deep connections, faith, and more.
Kendra: It’s clear that music was your path from the start, but how does a nine-year-old get into producing? That seems a step above rapping and having piano lessons.
EL- Tan: My older brother and I would go over to our friend’s house to play some video games, but I would never go to his house for the Xbox, instead I went for this weird software that he had on his laptop called FL Studio.
As a kid, I had no clue it was professional production software. To me, it felt like a video game. I loved hitting the keyboard buttons on the laptop and creating music. So I asked my dad to install the software on his laptop so that I could use it at home. Eventually, I started understanding what was going on and began to get better.
Kendra: You mentioned your father, a jazz artist himself, has always been a big influence on you. Are there any pieces of music he created that you’ve felt a next-level connection with that you carry with you?
EL- Tan: I am constantly inspired by my dad’s ability to write music and musicals. His composition levels always surpass the norm, and his ability to tap and blend jazz with his African DNA is always amazing to hear and watch.
Kendra: I say that because there are some unexpected jazz elements in your latest, “Run Away.” Do you feel like that genre is heavily underutilized in today’s mainstream music?
EL- Tan: From a musician’s and producer’s point of view I feel jazz is still heavily present, in the creation process; in terms of chords and theory. The genre itself is not as mainstream, but artists such as Kendrick, J. Cole, and Charlie Puth have the genre’s abilities on a mainstream stage.
Kendra: You also worked alongside Judah Ball on this track. How’d you two come together?
EL- Tan: Judah and I were introduced by our lovely mutual friend Emily at a church in London.
Kendra: Essentially “Run Away” encapsulates a deep connection with someone. My guy and I often say we could really survive with just one another (and our dog) because we just vibe so well. What do you think is the foundation for a relationship like the one found in this track’s narrative?
EL- Tan: A good relationship is built on trust and communication; seeing the beauty of loving someone and building a life together. By building it together you are constantly learning something new about each other. The key is complementing them in both their growth and beauty.
Kendra: Faith is also very important to you. How have your beliefs guided you thus far in life and your career?
EL- Tan: As a man of faith, God has done so much for me that I can’t personally understand, but all I can do is show my love and appreciation for him. He has guided my steps and dedication in both life and this industry.
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
EL- Tan: My favourite school trip memory has to be when I got chased by an ostrich at night and it fell over trying to kick me. During the same trip my best friend, Praise, and I accidentally almost set an entire field on fire.
Kendra: Lastly, with “Run Away” out now, what else can we expect on the horizon as we head into the fall?
EL- Tan: I have new music coming out soon. I’m beginning to experiment with different genres that shaped my childhood, and I’m taking a mature perspective on both my production and storytelling abilities.