Sound Check Q & A with music artist Ellison
Senior Writer: Kamilah McLeod
June 28, 2018
1. How long have you being playing the guitar and do you play any other instruments?
I've been playing guitar for over twenty years now. I originally taught myself to play and then got a little help later on. I also play the bass, keyboards/piano and the drums.
2. How does it feel to be discovered and signed to Motown?
I feel very honored to be associated with such an iconic name. Although we don't have an official connection yet, the relationship I've developed with Motown means so much because it has allowed me to give to them and to IGNITE, their Museum's Youth program. I am looking forward to seeing our relationship and partnership grow.
3. Who are some of your musical influences?
I've been inspired by so many great artists who created timeless, authentic and meaningful music. It's hard to narrow them down. But I would say the influence of great artists like James Brown, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Lenny Kravitz is evident in my music.
4. How did you feel playing for Kelly Price?
It was an amazing experience to be a part of a project she did in Detroit. The project was a live recording and so I had the pleasure of interacting and hearing her in that kind of a setting. I just remember how amazingly, powerful and strong her voice was. She has the kind of voice that knocks you off of your feet. It's full of gospel traditions mixed with soulful R & B feel.
5. How was your experience performing in a different country?
Wild! Music is the universal language so it connects with people no matter where in the world. To feel an authentic connection with others despite barriers of spoken language, culture or location is something I will never forget.
6. How was your experience performing at Ford Field?
There are things that stand out in your life as special. That experience is definitely one that I'll remember. Stepping out on stage in front of twenty thousand people for the 1st time gets your blood flowing for sure. But once you were up there, you focus on the music and get lost in it. You focus on giving your best and making the event special for those that are there. The event was truly phenomenal and was organized to benefit the city of Detroit, so I felt so honored to be a part of it.
7. What was the inspiration behind the song “Don’t Tell Me”?
I feel so strongly about the need for people to get past physical irrelevant traits. Between the events in Charlottesville, the episodes of police brutality against African Americans, school shootings, dishonor of women, and disrespect of another’s religion or preferences, our country has become cold and unrecognizable. There's so much that people allow to separate us; black, white, brown, yellow, rich, poor, republican, democrat, etc. We need to get back to focusing on respect, honor and support of each other as human beings. We need to get back to love!
8. How was your experience shooting the video for “ Don’t Tell Me”?
It was a lot of hard work. It was the 1st video I starred in and also the 1st video I wrote and directed. So I was involved from start to finish. To see my vision go from my mind to paper, to a finished project was a journey that was unforgettable. Also my daughters are featured as co-stars in the video, so I was equally able to make a memory with them that will last a lifetime.
9. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
I would tell them to get prepared. Get prepared to work extremely hard and keep their mind positively focused on their dreams and goals.
10. What do we have to look forward to hearing and seeing from you?
Watching “Don't’ tell me” rise in the charts is the next thing I am looking forward to! The message is going to resonate with everyone and I am excited to watch the world respond to it. I am also developing new music and the new stuff is so unique and real. I think people are going to really love the sound of it and the vibe they'll get from listening to it. Lastly, we are working on organizing a limited tour! The future is going to be very exciting and full of some amazing things. So, stay tuned!