First and foremost, how long have you been singing?
I've been a bedroom singer for many years, since the late 90's when the real R'nB was played on the radio. I used to be in my room singing along to my favorite songs.
Who are some of your influences?
My influences range from Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Jon B, Dwele etc to Amy Winehouse, Adele, Mary J Blige, Faith Evans...the list goes on.
Describe the feeling associated with collaborating with artists from the States.
Working with artists from the States is a great thing, and it is also important due to the fact that the States has more connections within the industry than anywhere else in the world. Hiphop, Blues, Jazz and RnB were genres all founded in the US, and my music is mainly influenced by these genres, especially Hiphop and the culture. With that being said, I feel that it is definately important to work with US artists who live and embrace the culture in their music.
Would you mind sharing the power of technology and how it has helped extend your reach?
The internet has definitely helped me get to where I am today, and I'm sure a lot of artists would agree that technology has helped them get to where they are. Back in the day, around 2002, I made a profile on Myspace, and back then I started out drawing Hiphop illustrations of 2pac, LL Cool J, Aaliyah etc so it was a great way of getting my work out there. I made quite a few connections on Myspace.
When Facebook was introduced, I immediately set up a profile to promote my drawings and it was great to see people from all over the world taking a liking to my artwork. Throughout these years, thanks to Facebook and other social networks, I now have a following, and many supporters of my work. And now that I'm making music, the following has been expanding daily.
Soundcloud is great - I'm connecting with producers and artists from all over the globe from Los Angeles to France, Africa to Japan, and Twitter is a great way of getting in touch with artists directly - it is also great promotion. I've learnt that the music blogs are very powerful as well, as it's great exposure for new artists who are looking to put their work out.
What does a perfect writing setting for El Ay look like?
I don't really have a perfect setting. I need to make sure I'm comfortable with no distractions, so that I can really zone out and listen to the music. Whether it's in a park, on a plane, or at home in my room.