Q&A: ELIJAH FROM THE MILLS, FORMERLY KNOWN AS "ELIJAHOVO," SITS DOWN WITH CO-SIGN RADIO TO DISCUSS BATTLING DEPRESSION, LOSING HIS FATHER AT SIXTEEN, PARTYNEXTDOOR, AND MORE...
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Tell us about yourself. Who is Elijah “Elijah From The Mills?” What was it like as a child growing up in Baltimore, Maryland?
Elijah From The Mills: Sure, My name is Elijah… I’m 25 years old & I’m an artist. I like to see myself as someone who gives people some sense of hope by creating music that anyone can feel and relate to. Whether you’ve experienced it first hand or not, you’ll be able to grasp the concept as if you were there…
Elijah From The Mills (Continues): Growing up in Baltimore was different… with a combination of danger, excitement, and memorable moments I can’t say I would change anything about it. I was raised in Owings Mills, “The Mills” for the majority of my childhood. Some moments the city gave me… I wish I could erase, and then there are some I wish I could relive over and over again. But to sum it up, if you can survive in Baltimore you can survive anywhere.
Did you have any figure within your household that influenced your musical career path? Was it a choice you pursued from an early age or did it come later on in life?
Elijah From The Mills: Yeah, so I’ve been surrounded by music my entire life but… never actually paid much attention to it I guess until maybe 8th grade. My mother was an aspiring singer at one point & would always sing all kinds of music like blues, R&B, and Christian to me as a child. My older brother deserves the credit though, he was rapping at one point and I didn’t care what he was doing I just wanted to be like him. I remember begging him one night to use his studio equipment, and he said no… so I just took it when he was sleep. I recorded my first song in our kitchen and he was pissed until he heard it and that’s really when I discovered I had a talent.
I mourn the passing of your father, were you very close to him? I understand if this is a touchy subject. If you’re comfortable speaking on him, I am sure we’d all love to hear how much he impacted your music in any way, changed your perspectives on life, and what lessons he may have taught you in regards to life today.
Elijah From The Mills: I appreciate that thank you… but yeah my father died in 2011 when I was 16. He had a heart attack while Him, my brother & I all were playing basketball in the high school gym he coached at. I mean my father fought a lot of battles while alive that took time away from me specifically. Weirdly, I didn’t feel good enough when he was alive, he was a star basketball player in his younger days and I think he wanted that from me but it wasn’t something that was in the cards. Don’t get me wrong he was as good as a father as he could be under his circumstances, but I missed out on a lot. Directly though I would have to say the impact he has had on my music is just that him not being here makes me go harder you know? I feel like 9 years later as a grown man I’m still trying to prove to him your son’s a star… its a slow grind but its gonna happen.
How would you describe your sound? It is very authentic. Having said, in my opinion, it has a grungy-emotional, R&B-Hip-hop mixed with Trapsoul sound. You do you, being yourself on every song with clear inspiration from the greats of PARTYNEXTDOOR and let me guess, Ja Rule?
Elijah From The Mills: I mean you kind of hit it on the nail, to be honest. I have a really hard time describing my sound… only because every song is really just based on how I’m feeling at the moment. It makes it easier to have a wide range of being able to create different types of music, but that’s what makes it enjoyable. If I’m extremely high and depressed and wanna sing about a past relationship or create a dark image of a timestamp in my memory I can do that. And the rare occasions where I’m in more of an upbeat mood and want to show that I can out rap anybody… I can do that. But PARTY? I would say an early-on version of PartyNextDoor is usually my go-to in order to get in the correct headspace to create yeah definitely. Ja Rule makes his way in there mainly because guys like him made it okay to switch it up. But I more so gravitate towards particular sounds from different areas. With me being from Baltimore, I fell in love with the somber tone of certain Toronto artists and just incorporated it into my own thing.
Adding to the question above, we would like to know the inspiration to your sound if there is one, and what is your current recording process? What do you do to get inspired?
Elijah From The Mills: So I suffer from depression… like it’s bad, haha. There have been countless moments where a song or a certain note or lyric has literally saved my life and kept me here. Those are the songs I live for… those songs that hit so hard and resonate so perfectly that it feels like everyone in the room is staring at you. But my current process has changed over the years before I would write days ahead of a session. But now it’s off the top, punch me in here, scratch that, save that… it’s more fluent. But I don’t and never need much for a session, just my dim blue lights, some weed, and any outside interference… it’s perfect!
Having said, please explain “ElijhaOVO?” Where did that name come from and why did you change it to “Elijah From The Mills?” Also, did you think of that name from Toronto’s “Jimmy From The 6?”
Elijah From The Mills: Yea, so the first song I ever released on YouTube was titled “Falling Up”, this was around 2011. I had just recently found out my girlfriend was cheating on me the day after my father passed away, so there was the inspiration for the track. I didn’t even let anyone hear it, I just recorded it and uploaded it one night and randomly woke up to 10k views. I had no idea how it didn’t make sense. I was happy but confused… so after some digging through the internet, I found that out somebody heard it and thought it was Drake, so they posted it as a new single from him. And remember its 2011 so YouTube is still fairly new, so that’s when the rumors started. And believe it or not, the YouTube comments gave me the name “ElijahOVO” so I ran with it. But after a while, I realized I wanted to build my own brand and grow something organic from my side, hence “Elijah From The Mills“. Oh, and Nah but I did use to listen to him back in my Tumblr days. But I really just wanted a name that wasn’t able to be mistaken you know? it’s like I’m Elijah and that’s my hood I coined that.
It is evident you have been doing music for over 5 years now, crazy! The persistence is incredible. You have dropped tens of singles and multiple projects. Just out of curiosity, why do you think you have yet to have your big blow out appearance?
Elijah From The Mills: Honestly, I think its a bunch of different factors. I don’t have the backing most artists do, I don’t have a group of niggas where their main goal is to see me win, I’m not being something I’m not or anything like that so the road is gonna be a little longer but I’m more than okay with that. I’ve had people email me and say my music has stopped them from hurting themselves a man… it’s not about me anymore you know? My day will come, trust.
Can you elaborate on the number “32” and its meaning to you? I have noticed it is a reoccurring number within your music and image.
Elijah From The Mills: 32 is my father’s number when he played basketball in college. My grandmother has his jersey hanging up in her house, I have it tatted on me, so its kinda like to me like I’m retiring his jersey in the way. I reference him a lot of different ways, “long live 32”, “long live 32 shots”, “32Forever”, “Lijahfor32”. Regardless of the situation, That’s my guy.
Are there any artists you look to work with within the near future? Are you even open to working with artists? Why or why not?
Elijah From The Mills: I obviously have my dream features with Drake, PND, Sade, to name just a few. But to be honest I am open to working with other artists… I just don’t reach out first for the most part. Only because this music shit and clout get to people’s heads, and I don’t like waiting on people or having to get excuses or anything like that. It’s just better that way
What can we expect from Elijah this year? Unfortunately due to the global situation currently occurring, do you think that will interrupt your music hustle, or are you studio locked in?
Elijah From The Mills: I’m coming hard this year, This is the best time for creatives to feed the masses. Were all stuck in the house just waiting for the next wave or the next drop to vibe to in everything that’s going on, so yeah I’m locked in its only right.
To wrap things up, tell us one positive thing you would say about yourself?
Elijah From The Mills: One positive thing I could say is that I really do believe I was put here in order to do something extraordinary, whether its a short period of time or a long period I plan on making a difference.
“Thank you again for having me stay safe guys!” – Elijah