Every Saturday, at the age of around 9, me, my mum and my sister would visit our aunty’s place in central London. Unlike most kids being dragged to their relatives house, I always wanted to go – why? Because there was a live electro/ funk band in my aunty’s loft! My two older cousins (Ronnie & Steve) would be writing and rehearsing their songs with other band members, tucked in a tiny room filled with synthesizers, guitars and gizmo’s. Along with their band, Steve & Ronnie sounded like a cross between Earth Wind & Fire and Kraftwerk. I was mesmerised by the grooves and chords they created and I’d tinker along on a keyboard – whenever they would let me!
A few years later, Steve went on to work with Stevie Wonder, The Jones Girls and many other talented, creative people. Ronnie was also signed to a major label. In watching and learning from them, and in seeing the magical connection between people when they were dancing , the seeds were sewn for my own crazy career in music.
By the age of 16 (way before the internet came along) I was hanging out Groove Records in London, spending the little cash I had on the latest Jazz Fusion, Funk, Disco, Electro, Hip-Hop & Soul records imported from the USA. By the time I was old enough to get into a club I was ready to get down to the sounds of Shalamar, Ashford & Simpson, Roy Ayers, Loose Ends and anything with a groove. By the time I was 21, a friend of mine suggested I look for DJ work after he saw my record collection and listened to me moan about having no money because I was always buying records!
After sending my DJ mixes to three venues (Ministry of Sound, HQ and The Limelight), they all called me back and my career had begun. London nightlife back then in the 1990’s was amazing. Drum & Bass was thriving, House music was establishing itself as music that was going to stick around and the rare groove scene kept me searching for great old school Jazz, Funk, Latin, Disco & Soul music too. The music I was making in my little home studio started to reflect the mixture of the the past and the present that my record collection had. And I was loving being involved the club scene. I’d hunt down records I heard played by my favourite DJ’s Norman Jay, Jazzy M & Patrick Forge.
Fast forward to the late 1990’s. Me and my then production partner Marvel do a naughty bootleg UK Garage version of Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK” and my remix career begins after our Marvel & Eli remix of the song gets playlisted on Kiss FM. From there we went on to remix songs for label’s including Motown, EMI, Sony and many more. The adventure continued to take me on tours DJing deep and Soulful House for Ministry Of Sound (back then I was known simply as Eli) in places such as South Africa, New York & Paris and performing DJ set’s with Frankie Knuckles, Danny Tenaglia, Masters at Work, DJ Harvey, Roger Sanchez and many more.
Fast forward again through musical adventures in Broken Beat and presenting the Groovadelica radio show, I finally get around to holding off the DJing, remix and production work for other artists long enough for me to get back to what I love most – making soulful, uplifting music that makes people move. You can hear the fruits of my labour right here on my current album, aptly entitled “Take Your Time”! It took a while, but it’s here.
So where am I at now? Well, after chasing a beautiful lady across the world to New Zealand and then coming back to London with her (and our two kids!) I’m soaking up the musical vibes and getting creative all over again. If you want to stay with my on my journey and get some great music, podcasts and DJ mixes in the process, just click here to join my mailing list and I’ll keep in touch with a load of free music and mixes.
Till next time..