Eli Paper Boy Reed Chats with HEAR Magazine
By Ryan Solecki
With an affinity of genres that continue to pour onto the music scene, perpetuating pressure mounts on artists to change with the scene. Increasingly requiring artist to detach from there stylistic pedigrees in search for something new.
In Eli “Paper Boy” Reed’s latest record, Nights Like This, he clings to his southern loins while also embracing willingness for modification. Reed teams up the old tradition of southern soul, blues and gospel with today’s traditionaless sounds of Dub, EDM and other modern genres. Check out our review of Nights Like This here.
Just as unpredictable as his sound, Reed’s back story is just as erratic. His true blue nature and strict adherence to his sound his one of fresh air. Progressing with the times is a part of any industry and music certainly isn’t any different, just look at shitty MTV.
Whether it is label executives, lack of fans, or direction many artists go by the wayside as they continually chase the dragon. Reed seems to have found that common ground between new and old school with his latest record. Going forward Reed is well aware that the future is uncertain in a dynamic industry.
HEAR Magazine: You’re originally from the northeast, what inspired your move to the south to learn about the roots of southern music?
REED: It was a combination of things. At the time I wasn’t really after something. I was really young and didn’t even really know what was there. I had a coincidental radio opportunity thing mildly working out in Clarksdale, Mississippi and that’s what kept me there. I fell in love with the place and I’ve been in love with the music since I was young. I have been listening to blues, soul and R&B for a long time at this point and saw that the music was still a living breathing thing that I wanted to be a part of.
HEAR Magazine: Care to expand on the radio opportunity that kept you in Clarksdale?
REED: I was on a southern road trip with my dad to look at some colleges in the south. We we’re listening to the radio and this station was playing some modern soul blues type stuff. I didn’t really know anything about this newer kind of music in the area at the time. I was then on a message board or something and this guy reached out to me about starting this radio station back up as a live blues radio station. So I eventually visited the station and when I got there he basically didn’t have the financial backing he claimed he had and it kind of went to shit, unfortunately.
HEAR: You said you weren’t really looking for anything when you were first down there, what would you say inspired you most while you stayed in Clarksdale?
REED: There are a lot of things. I’ve been playing R&B, soul and gospel music for a long time, pretty much half my life. The kind of music that I expierenced there is amerced in me now. It’s something I can’t really shake. But that’s also why I’ve branched out on this past record this time around because I know that style of music is always going to be in me. So whatever influences me in the future you will still hear the roots of the music that I love. To me it’s a blessing to be able to make that kind of a choice and still hear the old style while hearing the new style.
HEAR:What were the influences of your song writing for this album, lyrically?
REED: When we went into recording this album we had more like three records of material. I worked a lot with my writing partner, Ryan Spraker, and we were developing as writers together. When we finally got some time to work while we weren’t on the road it gave us a lot more freedom. So we went out to L.A to see what other kinds of music were out there. When we got back we wrote “Shock to the System” and kind of thought this is something new and different, let’s see where this takes us. So just having the time and freedom gave the ability to open up stylistically.
HEAR: You do a great job of mixing the old and new school, but going forward how do you look to stay innovative with your sound?
REED: Tough question, I don’t really know. But with any luck, things will go well with this record and it gives me more opportunity to work with different artists with different styles. To me it’s really exciting as a process. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen but I’m excited to see what happens with this record and then after that it’s anybody’s guess.
HEAR: Your record has lead you to travel around the world, do you feel traveling helps you make connections with some of these other artist that you’re looking to work with?
REED: Honestly, no. Touring is really hard, time consuming and not a lot of down time. It is very difficult to work while you’re on the road. That’s why we had success with this last album because we didn’t have to be on tour while we were writing it. I just got off the road. I was gone for a month, and it was basically 24 straight days of singing and playing with no time off. I think people can glamorize being on the road, but it’s hard.
HEAR: Traveling can obviously have its difficulties, but what are some of the places you love playing?
REED: O absolutely. It was fun to be back don’t get me wrong. I love going to Spain. I have great fans in Spain so it is always great to play there. We got back to the U.K for the first time in a while. Been a long time playing in the U.S too, which we have a fall tour set up.
HEAR: Earlier you referred to working with other artists, what ones did you have in mind?
REED: There’s a million of them. I mean, Bobby Womack is one of my heroes. I love to work with some country artists but I also would love to work with Cee Lo, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, or Kendrick Lamar. There are a lot of people making great records these days.
HEAR: What are your end expectations for this latest record?
REED: My hope is that we get some mainstream success. It would be great to take it all over the world again. One thing though I want to have some success here at home more than anything. We’ve had some great success in Europe and overseas. But I’d like to have some touring and radio success here at home.
With his talent, it is only a matter of time before Eli Paper Boy Reed earns the respect he deserves and the acclaim he seeks from us here in the states.
For more information please visit Eli Paperboy Reed’s official website: http://www.elipaperboyreed.com/
For social media please visit: https://www.facebook.com/elipaperboyreed