It’s always been a challenge to stand out in the music world, and this is even more true today with the flood of artists who are now able to access audiences that would have taken years to cultivate before the advent of the Web. It’s definitely more difficult for country singers in Tennessee or rappers in New York, but up-and-comer Erick Arc Elliott has slowly but steadily built a following since he began making music in his home turf of Brooklyn. And Elliott looks poised to tip the scales of fame with his second album, Almost Remembered.
Elliott’s biggest advantage over the rest of the crowd (aside from his exuberance) is his constant creative flow. He’s also a visual artist and the founder of THELOVEINUS, a collective of young artists and creators who are individually making marks in photography, music and film. Elliott was kind enough to answer our burning questions about life as a musician, the creative process, and Shepard Fairey.
You’ve been making music for a while now considering that you’re 22– what got you started?
What initially got me started was watching YO! MTV Raps, Musicbox, & BET… idolizing Rakim, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, DMX [to name a few]. I was always that kid, the kid that knew all the words to all the songs I shouldn’t know for my age, the kid who knew the sleeper album of the summer, that one kid who would adore a filler song on a popular album more than the single.
Listening to music was not only my own choice, but I have two older brothers who would call me into their room and play classic records just to school me on what I should know about hip-hop. I remember one time specifically, my oldest brother called me into his room and he played Wu Tang’s “Protect Ya Neck” over and over until I memorized Inspectah Deck’s verse!
What was on rotation on your walkman/stereo when you were growing up? And now?
Aw man… as a kid I played it all. Definitely the infamous Biggie Smalls, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson, Wu Tang, The Lox, Nas, Jay-Z, Heavy D & The Boys (guilty pleasure), Bobby Brown (just guilty), to name some. I loved playing my mother’s Motown records too; I love James Brown, The Delfonics, The Ebonys, The Chi-Lites… it was such a great era of music. Now, I play a lot of the same kinds of stuff… sometimes I like to just listen to tracks without words when I’m designing or reading, folks like Starkey, Oriol, Madlib, AFTA-1, Eric Lau, Flying Lotus. On rotation right now I am playing Little Dragon, Pusha T, Big K.R.I.T., Gorillaz, Lykke Li … I jump all over the place!