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Today I am happy to share Spanglish Noise’s first interview, which is with New York’s talented Bachata artist Eli Jas. If you have not heard her single “Tú Me Haces Volar,” you can view the video on my post from earlier this spring.
I truly believe that Eli Jas is the next big artist in the Bachata scene. Her music infuses elements of R&B, which has proven successful for the popular Prince Royce and Romeo Santos of Aventura, with electronic pop sounds that give the music a modern vibe, while her soulful pop vocals bring the energy, passion, and themes of love that have come to define the genre.
The interview covers everything from the upcoming album to Eli Jas’ desire to connect with her fans to Prince Royce and her work with MTV 3′s Quiero Mi Baby (Premieres Monday April 16, 2012, at 9pm EST).
JM: This is an exclusive Spanglish Noise interview with New York’s up-and-coming bachata artist Eli Jas. I’m Joseph Mitchell. (Sound clip of the song “Tu Me Haces Volar“). Her newest single, “Tu Me Haces Volar,” has taken the internet by force and has even attracted the attention of such media outlets as MTV3. Today we’ll introduce you to the woman behind the music…Hi Eli Jas, welcome to Spanglish Noise. For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell them a little bit about yourself?
Eli Jas: Well I am a Latin artist who started off singing R&B and right now I’m doing bachata pop..but it’s sort of a fusion of a whole bunch of different things, a whole bunch of different types of music since I’m into pop, R&B, rock, a little bit of techno..so it’s a fusion of a lot of different things and I’m very happy that my fans are able to enjoy it. I’m making my own sound.
JM: Well that sound is very unique. How long have you been working on your music?
Eli Jas: I’ve been working on my music – this type of music – for about a year now..but I was always singing. 14 years old was when I finally figured, “why not take this seriously,” and I was also in school at the time and I just went at it..and finally now I’m already turning 21 in June and things are starting to flourish (laughs)…so you just need to follow your dreams, you gotta go for what you want.
JM: How did that start out when you were 14? Was there a specific moment?
Eli Jas: That was the first time I ever stepped into the studio, so that’s when I figured..I was like, “I need this in my life, this is definitely what I want to do,” and I started doing my own music..which started off to be R&B and pop. So things started flourishing as it was and this year I found what I really love to do, which is..you know..Latin music. ..and honestly, from being 14 and working on this R&B and pop stuff, I wouldn’t think that I would be a Latin artist, but it definitely gave me the chance to connect to my Latin roots and to actually speak in Spanish..cause I was not speaking in Spanish when I was doing my R&B stuff..so definitely it opened up more doors for me and it shows a different part of me – and I’m very happy to do that.
JM: So I was reading about your upcoming album on MTV 3 and I saw that it’s going to be a concept album focused on themes of love (Eli Jas: “Yeah”), and quite a variety of themes at that (Eli Jas: laughs)..is there a specific process you go through when you write your songs?
Eli Jas: It’s definitely..this whole album definitely is going to be from personal experiences. I know it’s pretty hard for most people to talk about their emotions and what they’ve gone through and to be very vulnerable speaking on sensitive things like this..so that’s definitely why I wanted to connect with my supporters and connect with my fans on this note because I know that it’s very hard for people to do that. That’s why I want this album to portray a love story. You know how love stories..they start off beautiful and you’re deeply in love with this person and you feel like you’ve found the one..but obviously that’s now always the case and sometimes things go sour and some things..it’s an emotional roller coaster and you’re going to be along the ride with me, so let’s see what happens (laughs).
JM: So my next question is more out of curiosity..but do you have any connection to Prince Royce?
Eli Jas: Well we’re friends (laughs)..but yeah, we’re friends, we’re friends..I met him through my manager’s hookups and things like that, so we just met and..he’s a really cool guy and really humble and really down to earth and he’s doing his thing (laughs).
JM: Any plans for a collaboration down the road?
Eli Jas: Maaaybe…but when that happens, it happens, you guys will find out (laughs). Me doing collabos right now..I want to do them, but I think I want to concentrate on my craft first. So that’s what’s going on right now.
JM: What was it like watching your fan base grow, how did it feel? (Eli Jas: “Oh My God”). Was it something that happened overnight or was it a gradual process?
Eli Jas: No, no..it was definitely gradual and it’s amazing seeing my fanbase growing each day and getting these messages and getting these..you know, it’s basically a whole bunch of encouragement and it definitely keeps me wanting to do more and wanting to connect with them. That’s why I always dedicate my time, when I can, to talk to them. I think it’s a very simple thing and obviously I won’t be able to do that if things start rolling even quicker and, you know, I have more things to do..but I think it’s very important for an artist to actually spend at least an hour, half hour, and talk to the fans ’cause they’re making you what you are…and I love #TeamEliJas..and I’m seeing all these cover songs to “Tu Me Haces Volar” and it’s such an amazing feeling, you can’t describe it. I’m just doing this for them; this is exactly what I want to do..making them feel good with my music and connecting with them. That’s exactly what I want and they’re the ones that give me the drive to do this.
JM: Well I’m sure it means a lot to them. And what about you..has anybody reached out to you along the way to give you some guidance? That is to say..do you have any musical mentors?
Eli Jas: Mentors..well I definitely have my mother as a mentor and she’s always helped me since I was young. She’s been a mother and a father to me and she’s always given me that backbone to really go for what I wanted and she’s always been my support system. That’s definitely my mentor..she’s been there, she’s the one that’s traveling with me when we go to Miami, when we have to go to Massachusetts..when we have to go places, she’s always there, and she’s the one that pushed me and this is why I’m at where I’m at now.
JM: I hear you’re working with a talented producer for this album.
Eli Jas: Yes, Chris Hierro.
JM: What’s it like working with him?
Eli Jas: What’s it like working with him..well..the first time that we worked together, I went over to his house and we just met and there definitely was a connection there because he’s just a fun person to be around. We wrote “Tu Me Haces Volar” in an hour, which is crazy to me because it was finally somebody who I was able to connect with, ’cause I’ve worked with other producers and things like that, and the connection that I have with Chris definitely wasn’t on that lane at all. I’m definitely open to working with other producers, but the connection that I have with Chris, I don’t think I’ll have with anybody else. The connection is so strong..he actually co-writes with me. So whenever I give him an idea, I’m kind of like, “OK, this is how I feel today, this is what I want to write about,” and he’s totally open minded and he embraces that. So I think anybody that’s open minded, anybody that’s willing to understand..that’s very easy to work with..and personally, I’m easy to work with also..so we just opened up to each other and we’re creating this album and it’s sounding crazy and it’s definitely something brand new, I hope everybody likes it. He’s definitely a great guy, very talented.
JM: So I hear that your album is due to come out in summer 2012. Can you confirm this?
Eli Jas: Yes. (laughs). And if it doesn’t come out in the summer, it’s definitely a 2012 release, I promise.
JM: How did you become involved with MTV3? Did they find you, was this through your management, or how did this come about?
Eli Jas: Yeah, it was definitely through my management and they actually had a couple hit-ups from different people, not only my management, and so they kind of forced (laughs)..forced them to check me out. And you know, I got introduced to Gaby Ortega..she works with MTV3 so she’s definitely a super super nice person..very humble, just great..and the whole cast and the whole team are very down to earth..and they basically adopted me, which is great (laughs)! I went to Miami a week ago and they’re coming out with another show, which is called “Quiero Mi Baby” and they’re using my song “De Nuevo,” which is going to be used for the theme song, and they allowed me to do a video to it, which is going to be amazing like..I saw the footage and it just looks amazing..and obviously it’s about babies, so I think it goes along with my album very well because it’s about unconditional love. I think it’s perfect; you guys gotta check it out. It comes out..April 16th  it premieres. So don’t forget that, you guys will enjoy it.
JM: And do you have any other plans for this coming year?
Eli Jas: I’m definitely planning on more performances, so I’m going to be traveling soon and all of that information will be up on my website therealelijas.com and I also have a blog..which I’m posting up some fashion stuff, I’m posting up so that you guys are basically going to be getting to know me personally. I post up anything that I like, anything that interests me. I’m just like anybody else..I’m a girly girl..sometimes I’m a Tom Boy, you know (laughs)..that’s exactly how I want to conenct with my fans, I want to show them that. They can connect with me on twitter also @therealelijas.
JM: And just in case anybody missed that..what’s the blog site again?
Eli Jas: The blog site..therealelijas.tumblr.com.
JM: Great. So I notice that you’re one of the few female bachata artists at the moment. What’s the scene like out in New York?
Eli Jas: Oh yeah, it’s definitely male-dominated also, so you get your different reactions. I believe some people don’t really like females singing bachata, but I think the open-minded people get that it’s not only supposed to be sung by males…it really doesn’t have to be, you know, you gotta be open-minded about these kinds of things. When I’m going it, I’m not just doing it because the lane is open..I’m doing it because I love this music and I was introduced to this music from my grandfather since I was young – I was three years old listening to bachata. Actually being..having the opportunity to actually sing bachata, and for it to actually be good and for people to actually love it..that’s definitely a blessing. You get your different, “Oh, I don’t think females should be singing bachata, I don’t think that’s going to work,” “Oh I don’t think “Volar” is going to work, I don’t really think people are going to like it,” but this is where you have to prove people wrong. You gotta burst through the doors, you gotta bring it down and not wait for people to like your stuff. You just gotta do what you want and do what you believe in. Do what you love! That’s one problem that I see..people give up too easily and if you give up too easily, then there’s nothing to fight for. That’s definitely one of my goals now, is showing that females can do this too..Thank you for the opportunity, I had a lot of fun!
JM: Well we loved hearing your story. Thank you for joining us today.
Eli Jas: Aww thank you, thank you so much!
JM: You can find both Spanglish Noise and Eli Jas on iTunes and Facebook. You can also find Eli Jas on Twitter – @therealelijas - and Spanglish Noise is online at www.spanglishnoise.com. You can check in every Monday [Update: Now Wednesdays] for the latest in the Spanglish Noise podcast [Update: And Interview] series. Thanks for listening.