2021 is in full swing and new releases are starting to roll in from our favourite artists.
And E.L has already delivered, with a new single out before January is even over and a new studio album on the way.
His latest single, Nobody Send You, has already reached nearly 5,000 views on YouTube in its first six days. And it’s a strong comeback after a serious car accident last year.
But the setbacks of 2020, including the cancellation of his world tour due to the pandemic, aren’t stopping E.L’s music.
As one of the most prolific afrobeats and hip hop artists of our time, E.L regularly releases up to 6 singles each year. But he’s probably best known for his numerous mix-tapes, with multi-volume titles “Songs for Girls”, “Project Hip Hop” and “The B. A. R.” (“The Best African Rapper” – clearly a coveted moniker). And his music has generated over 39 million plays across YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.
As well as winning several awards for his work, including Artiste of the Year, Hip-Life/ Hip-Hop Artiste of the Year and Producer of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards 2016, E.L has also branched out further into the music business, starting Accra-based record label and studio V.O.Nation in 2015.
Nobody Send You is the lead single on E.L’s third studio album, scheduled for release on 19th March. And it brings the perfect combination of a vibe you can’t help but move to and a poignant message for these ever changing times.
With the recent release of his latest single and his new album on the horizon, we spoke to E.L about being both a producer and performing artist, performing with Lauryn Hill and why black artists worldwide are coming back to Africa.
What was the inspiration behind “Nobody Send You”? What message did you want to send?
‘Nobody Send You’ is a song I wrote to encourage my listeners, my friends and my fans to be a lot more careful in their actions and not take life too seriously. As we say in Ghana, “if you rush you go crush.” So basically it’s just my piece of advice to all my loved ones to take life one day at a time.
As a producer as well as a performing artist, how does having a knowledge of the whole creative process influence your music?
To me it’s a much more magical experience and also very highly satisfying. Being able to go into a studio and start from absolutely nothing – from zero! – and ending up with a complete song is an indescribable feeling.
Personally I like to record in privacy. It destabilizes my psyche when I record with people around, So in a way I’ve had no choice but to learn how to make music from scratch.
It’s a much more intimate vibe to be in the zone where you are actually putting the instruments together, writing the lyrics, recording the song, mixing and sometimes even mastering this song.
You’ve been working on the single and your upcoming album whilst recovering from quite a bad car accident. What have you taken from that experience?
For me that moment has taught me a lot about the fragility of life and how one moment can alter a whole lifetime of planning, robbing us of the things that we love and cherish the most. So it’s definitely made me more conscious of my mortality and more grateful for the chance to live another day.
Let’s go back to your performance with Lauryn Hill in 2016. What was that like?
It was a complete eye-opener for me as I got to open for one of my musical idols, and perform in front of an amazing audience – most of whom had no idea who I was in the beginning.
It was a great lesson in communication and connection with your audience. I feel lucky because that whole experience made me a better artist.
Loads of artists from the African Diaspora are coming back to the continent to perform and make music. How does it feel, as a born and bred Ghanaian artist, that musicians brought up in Europe and the US want to come back to Africa?
I always say the AFRICA is the next great frontier. We are poised to be great leaders in the creativity industry.
African music is the best made in Africa and I think that a whole lot of artists in the diaspora are beginning to feel the impact that African music is having on the global scene. It only makes sense that African creatives all over the world would want to be a part of it.
I’m very proud of my African roots and know that the future holds nothing but greatness for African Creatives.
When you’re working on a project, what makes you think “this’ll work better as a mix-tape” or “this suits a studio album”?
Mostly I sit back and ask myself – “could this song be nominated for a Grammy?” If not I chuck it in the mix-tape bin.
Any hints for fans about the upcoming album?
It’s my best work yet!… Period.
And finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?
I plan on spending a lot more time with my family, Promoting my music to a greater audience and learning new things.
Maybe start my own family, who knows?
E.L’s next album is scheduled for release on 19th March.
Nobody Send You is out now.