Way Out West is the second album. West symbolizes action, doing, and creating. Eli explored West as he pushed the boundaries of his expression to create a masterful production. Way Out West won the WAMMIE as the Best Country/Americana Album this year. Eli said, “There are a thousand decisions when developing an album, so each one of those decisions being validated with a ‘Good Job’ is crazy.”
Eli just started work on his third album, Deep South. Eli laughed, “they say that you’ve got your whole life to write your first album and you’ve got a year to write your second one. It’s kinda cool because all of these songs are brand new and from this moment in my life or hasn’t happened yet.” South, according to Navajo teaching, focuses on empathy, trust, inclusion, love and emotional wisdom.
The final album in the Project will pay respects to the cardinal direction North. The principles of North are rooted in mental wisdom, reflection, and illumination. Let’s see what Eli will imagine in his journey north!
Eli loves to combine unexpected sounds into both live performances and production. Eli can be found on stage with a collection of unique and indigenous finds such as a woodrow, which is a three stringed instrument that sounds like a banjo, a Native American wooden flute, a mandolin, a harmonica, a melodica or even a bagpipe. Eli says, “New instruments and new sounds give me inspiration.”
Eli’s thrives on collaboration. Eli said songwriting is “a very mystical process which is why it is so interesting working on it with other people. There is something to be said about sitting down by the river [with] my woodrow and I’m just singing to the river. But, working with someone else is really good for making your work cohesive.”
Most recently, Eli brought an idea, a melody and a mandolin to Daniel Strauch of House Studios in Washington D.C. The two riffed off each other as Daniel made a video of their collaboration. The video will be part of a YouTube series Daniel is producing about songwriting. Eli says, “other people challenge me and I like to see what I am putting out through somebody else’s lens.” Eli thought about the resulting song and reflected, “Really, it’s not ours. It might come from us or it might come from some place we think is within us, but it’s not ours. I don’t know where it comes from.” Eli has plans for collaboration with wide array of songwriters, musicians, and producers in some capacity so far in the development of The Four Directions Project.
Collaboration led Eli to many opportunities. Eli connected back to his teaching roots by holding master classes with kids. Eli is also starting a consultancy to help other artists achieve their goals, whether it be help with songwriting, distribution, booking lives shows, generating income from music, building a fan base, streaming, making videos or building a strong community of friends, family and fans who support him on Patreon: patreon.com/elilevmusic.
Eli keeps grounded with daily meditation. Eli said, “It’s really balancing. We shower every day, but don’t always think to cleanse our insides, you know our spirits. Once I started doing it, I realized it is what I had been missing.” He continued, “When performing on stage, you pick up a lot of people’s stuff. There is an energy interaction between you as a musician. It’s a lot to deal with. The meditative practice has been helpful. It allows me to separate myself from all the stuff that’s happening because as a creative person working with our heart outside our sleeve, we are literally just exposing ourselves to the world. It’s dangerous not having a way to process that.” Eli participates in an annual silent retreat to practice Vipassana meditation and mused “in the first three days you just learn how to sit”.
Eli’s calm comes across on stage, where he earns the love of new fans with his understated, yet captivating style. Be sure to check out Eli Lev at a venue near you and download his latest reimagined tracks https://eli-lev.com