Lee Eller is a singer and songwriter born and raised in New York. An only child, Eller threw herself into music discovery and began writing original songs performed at local venues, even though she often wasn’t old enough to legally enter them. Then, to the shock of family and friends, she moved to Tel Aviv and enrolled in a music school to immerse herself in its thriving and developing scene. This adopted home became the inspiration for much of Eller’s debut seven-track EP, “Wrote To You” (expected May 25). She’s now moved back to New York and is scheduling performances in the United States and across France, Germany and the United Kingdom, too.
Could you tell us a bit about your musical background?
“My musical background consisted of my small, four-year old self, blasting Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston songs in the car, belting (them) at the top of my lungs. The first time I can even recall feeling an emotion, was when I cried to a song called “Broken Wings,” by that 80’s band Mr. Mister. My father is also extremely musical; he has rhythm like no other. I was always surrounded by the beats of a Darbuka being played to perfection. When I think of my “musical background,” it isn’t necessarily tied to a specific genre. I would fall in love with songs, lyrics, beautiful melodies, or specific beats. It always fascinates me (as to) what draws certain people to a song or piece. Most musicians I’ve asked usually name instruments or certain sounds; the bass line, the rhythm section, the guitars…for me, it’s always been about the vocals and lyrics. My need to sing is what led me to pursue my career. It’s an outlet I can’t fathom living without.”
What (or who) led you to pursue a career in music?
“Music was made out to be a “hobby” in my family. I simply acknowledged that I would never be allowed to study and pursue music instead of attend university for a specific profession; but about two and a half years into school, I (began) to feel the depression that often accommodates the neglect of a passion. My need to change my destiny began to manifest itself in very painful ways. It became apparent that I had grown unhappy in a life without musical outlets. I began to recover…and decided that not only would I reincorporate writing and singing into my life (but) would sacrifice anything I could in order to make music my career.”
What does your writing and recording process look and sound like? What musical equipment, instruments and programs do you use live and in-studio?
“The writing and singing is actually the easiest and most natural part of it all. Each track demands a different combination of instruments, so we really just tried everything and worked with what sounded right. As for live performances, minimalism is everything. It’s usually myself, a vocal-looper and a guitar or piano. That may change in the future, but for now that’s what works best for the music.”
Could you tell us about some of the most exciting or interesting live performances you’ve been a part of to date?
“I performed at Muzik Fest in Tel Aviv. I’ve played venues around Israel and have also been featured on Sofar Sound. I’m excited (to bring) the live show to the US in 2016.”
What hobbies and activities do you enjoy outside of music?
“Eating. I don’t know if that’s a hobby, necessarily. It’s definitely an activity. I love to eat, and try new restaurants. I really don’t think this is the answer you’re looking for, but I’m always, always hungry.”
What is your favorite social media platform?
“My favorite social media platform currently is Wine N Dine, which allows you to Instagram your food and wine. I’ve always struggled with social media. It’s very difficult for me to immerse myself in social media, since I am quite the introvert. I’m loud and opinionated, but when it comes to my personal time, I like to keep myself hidden. I believe I was born in the wrong era.”
Do you have any upcoming performances?
“I am planning a mini tour back in the USA for spring/summer. I am working on booking some NYC dates soon as well. I’ve been working on my live show for a few months now. I can’t wait to play these songs in front of an audience.”
What experiences and events influenced the writing and recording of your upcoming debut EP?
Each track is very different from the next. I had a good time with the last single, “Blood Bath.” I got into character for this song. I don’t like to go into too much detail about the specifics of my song lyrics because I don’t like to assign emotions to them. The listener is invited to feel whatever feeling is naturally evoked.”
Aside from the release of “Wrote To You”, what else does 2016 hold in store for Lee Eller, musically-speaking?
“Tour dates, videos, love and of course, more music!”