Elijah Blake

Singer/songwriter Elijah Blake has worked with a majority of the biggest names in the music business from Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Usher, Mary J and more, either having written for them or being featured on their songs. Now with his recently released Drift EP (available on iTunes here,) the talented Def Jam signee sat down to talk about the project and some of his experiences over the years. Below, get his 7 tips on how to NOT act around celebs, find out what he blew his first big check on and more!

Marisa Mendez

His first big check:

I bought a Porsche. It was when the Panamera first came out, I was 19. My lawyer and business manager and everybody was like ‘Are you crazy?!’ My lawyer was like ‘I represent Keri Hilson, and I don’t even drive a Porsche!’ Haha, I was just like ‘You don’t know my life!’ I was sleeping on the floor trying to get a place! This car was what I was excited about, and what kept me going when I wanted to give up, so [I was like] I’m gonna get this Porsche. And my lawyer was like ‘But you have enough money right here to live well for the next 5 or 6 years, you should put it aside.’ And I was like ‘If you think this is the only lucrative funds that I’m going to get over the next 5 years, then you don’t believe in me and you should look for another client to represent.’

His 7 tips:

1. Never over hype yourself!
I think a lot of times, people get around artists and feel they’re not worthy of being in the same room as them, so they big themselves up. But the thing is, if all that was going on, you wouldn’t have to tell me. Then the name dropping, but it’s like if you have to name-drop, then you’re really not doing it like that.

2. Don’t be so impulsive.
That scares 90% of us artists. It’s okay to be excited. I had to learn that myself when I first started working with Mary J. Blige. There were a couple times I wanted to scream and be like “You’re Mary J. Blige!” but I’m pretty sure that would’ve creeped her out, so I just kept it really professional. It sets a level a respect, because I’m respecting her.

3. Always keep business business and keep personal, personal.
I was 15 when I first started, and a lot of times you think people are your friend, because you get so close to these artists and icons you grew up listening to. You don’t follow certain precautions that you’re supposed to because you get excited. There are things managers are supposed to do, and certain discussions and conversations lawyers are supposed to have, and it only comes back to bite you. It causes tension and friction between you and that person you looked up to. Whatever pertains to business, keep it that way.

4. Never participate in the gossip!
I’ve seen it go down so horribly. There’s industry beef and industry things going on. Kind of like as a child, when your parents would talk about their friends…they don’t know that kids are like a sponge. Me being a youngin’ in the game, I just would hear certain things. If you thought you were getting gossip from MediaTakeOut, if you could only hear the things I would be a fly on the wall for at 16/17!

5. Don’t be so desperate that you’ll do something you can’t take back.
I remember at Big Sean’s [“Hall of Fame”] listening party, we went into this room and there were so many people after he did the concert for the party. I was going to congratulate him, because while I was working on my album, he was working on his next door at No I.D.’s spot. There was this guy who managed to get past security and get into the room. He did it so casual; we just assumed he knew Sean. He got in there, and he was like ‘Sean, I just came from North Carolina to freestyle for you, and blah blah blah’ and it was so awkward! I would have given him a jump drive with my music, and said ‘Holla at me later’ ya know. He was in the middle of the room, just this loud outburst, and even if he was the best rapper in the world, you’ve already set the tone that it’s not going down by making it awkward for everybody!

6. Mean what you say, say what you mean, and stand your ground.
People always say ‘hit me up, let’s work’ as the common thing…but it’s better to be like ‘hey, this is what I do, this is my sound. If I can get your email, I’ll shoot you some tracks,’ instead of saying let’s work without building that foundation for us to even work.

7. Value relationships over money.
A lot of people burn really important bridges [over money]. If there’s a deal for $60,000 and you’re like ‘I need that extra $10,000,’ just for the sake of it and you burn the bridge with someone who could have brought you $300,000…I just call that bad business. Since[the money] is so inconsistent, people feel that have to beat each other over the head when it’s check time. Always get what you’re worth, but don’t do bad business, because those people won’t come back and do business with you whether it’s an endorsement, advertisements, a promotional show, or whatever.

Read the full interview at LifeIsTremendez.