Today I’ll be introducing you to American artist Elijah Bisbee. Here we go!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois and moved to Los Angeles for a few years. I currently live in Cleveland, OH.
How long have you been playing the piano?
I took piano lessons when I was very young, but didn’t stick with it. At different points in my life I’ve messed around on piano, but only over the last 1.5-2 years have I taken it more seriously.
Do you play other instruments as well?
I do! I consider myself first and foremost a guitar player. I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 or so years. I play/tinker with a lot of other instruments, too, but guitar and piano are my main focuses.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My family has always been really musical. My dad owned a music store in our hometown up until he passed away in 2001. I had been playing guitar for a few years when that happened, but it was really the inciting event for translating emotion into music.
How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve only been making piano-centric music for about a year. I’ve always admired and enjoyed musicians and composers who can convey such strong emotion with one (or very few) instruments.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
This was fairly early on for me – but on guitar. I can’t say I remember the moment of realization, but I do remember having tremendous pride when playing songs I’d written for other people.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
Probably all the neoclassical standards… I am a long time fan of Nils Frahm – his piano music and his other outlets. Olafur Arnalds, of course. Some recent finds that I’m enjoying quite a bit are Blurstem (Chris Bartels is a ridiculously talented, all-around musician), Klangriket, and Kyle McEvoy (I’m releasing a single with his label, Sonder House, in February).
What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
Impossible. Right now, though, “Sunson” by Nils Frahm always gets me in the headspace to work.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
Such a hard question to answer concisely! Everyone has their own rules and barriers that constrict them from being their truest self – as a musician and otherwise. I think, then, that the rule that needs to be broken is that there’s not time to explore a sound and that you have to release your best music all the time. Create, iterate, release, learn, repeat. I think that’s a pretty good model. And don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold your work too preciously. That is, if you want people to hear the music. I know plenty of people that create for themselves and get plenty of enjoyment and fulfillment from that. This feels more like advice than breaking rules, sorry!
The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
To put it shortly – from within. 🙂