Philadelphia based artist Eli Costello is one of the most interesting artists on the line-up for SEV Fest, both musically and history wise. I spoke to the singer/songwriter at the gym ( DEDICATION am I right?) We spoke on everything from his humble beginnings, our shared love/hate relationship of social media, and Michael Jackson. If his voice doesn’t win your approval, his spiritual personality will.
Born in a small city close to Pennsylvania’s capital Harrisburg, Costello was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. His father was on the road with groups such as Parliament Funk, and Costello sang in the choir. Though he no longer considers himself a Jehovah’s Witness, he does describe himself as “spiritual”. “The world is so much bigger than organizations teach you.”
Armed with a voice as smooth as velvet and some impressive guitar playing skills, Eli Costello is a force to be reckoned with. Costello’s pop infused blues sound comes together as music everyone can like and relate to. Tupac, Sting, Nirvana, and Lenny Kravitz are among his influences but he maintains respect for newer artists such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Drake. You can hear similarities between him and these artists through his blues/pop/indie hybird style. We had a great conversation about our mutual love for Drake and he offered these interesting words : “He doesn’t come from the same background as the others say they come from. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do and he’s on top of his game.” He also states that Michael Jackson was a huge inspiration to him. “It was weird how it affected me when he died.”
Eli didn’t always know that he was going to make music as a full time career. In fact, at one point he quit music, broke up with his long time girlfriend, and went on a soul-searching quest around the world. “I quit music 2 years ago, I felt like everything I was doing was for everyone else. I didn’t want to do that anymore. Why am I sacrificing so much? I took time off to travel the world, Amsterdam and Russia. Broke up with my long time girlfriend… There’s directions in life you can take other than the ones you’ve been presented so far but you have to search for them.”
After re-emerging from his trip enlightened he set out to make the music he does today. It’s reflected in his introspective and bluesy
Costello makes it a point to talk to every fan at shows and even people who haven’t listened to him before. In a world where most communication is done via the internet, it is refreshing to see someone who values face to face communication.
When asked what his favorite part about making music is, he replied:“The connection, also the fact that you’re able to tell people your side of the story. Even if someone doesn’t like me or they don’t have my experiences, they can see similarities and it might open them up to evolve their way of thinking. I learn a lot from audiences. It’s really about the connection to other people, it’s what I search for. Music should be about perspective.”
Other than SEV Fest, Costello hopes to work the festival circuit and one day play Coachella. He has music released on his soundcloud, which you will find linked below.You can check out Eli Costello and more at SEV Fest this weekend!