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Eli Lev is an artist on the rise. With his newest release "All Roads East," he proves he is a musical mastermind. His folk-infused tunes go above and beyond to create a sense of melodic beauty you will not soon forget. We had the honor of catching up with Eli Lev as we fully head into 2018.

1. When it came to writing your newest release, what was the inspiration behind the writing process? Do the pieces come from more of a storytelling or personal place? The inspiration for these songs come from my time traveling the world, especially in the Southwestern USA, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia. Each one is presented in a storytelling format that gives the listener just enough material to form their own adventure in their minds and create their own meaning. I guess you could say the essence of the songs come from my personal experience, but really those experiences connect to universal themes of creating community, surviving in the harshest conditions, finding home again, and spiritual awakening.

2. Tell us a bit about your backing band! How did you meet the members of the group? They really were the 'Fortunes Found!' I've heard stories of bands looking for the right drummer or guitarist for years and having tryout after tryout. For us, we just kind of came together from internet searches and mutual friends. No tryouts, no drama, just pure sound. I met Bobby (on bass) and Corey (mandolin) online through a band search site. Bobby introduced me to Mike (Drums) and we played our first show in DC without having a full band practice. I remember when we played the intro of 'Making Space' on stage for the first time as a full band during that show. We all looked at each other and were like, 'holy #$% this sound good!' I met Dante (guitar) through Instagram a bit later, and now we're ready to rock with a full lineup for 2018.

3. What is your personal favorite song from the record and why? My personal favorite song changes from day to day depending my mood, but this morning I woke up with 'Long Way Back to Shonto' in my head. It's from my time in the northern Arizona deserts where I was a teacher out on the Navajo Nation for a few years. I would go out into the canyons on my bike for these week-long solo trips. I would get lost and then try and find my way back home again through incredible heat and zero shade. The song is about being so close to death you've got only one thing on your mind...survival.

4. What artists influenced you to become a musician full time, and to pursue it as a career? Every artist, band, and creative that I've come into contact in my life has inspired me to live my life as my true self and trust the process of realizing my potential. However, my biggest influence is my childhood friend Tony Bernardo of the band Zeroes. He heard me play my first show in 8th grade and recruited me to become the lead singer in his (much cooler) high school band. Later on in life he introduced me to booking agents in the DC area that would help book me paying gigs so I could earn a living doing music. He continues to be a huge support system in navigating the creative aspect of being a musician as well as the business side of things. Also Emma G, my singer-songwriter friend and soul sister, has helped me tremendously in pursuing music full time. Her energy and skill and devotion to music as a life-long passion is truly inspiring, and we support each other all the time here in the DC area. I think 'DIY' is a misnomer, because there's no way you can 'do-it-yourself' as an artist - surrounding myself with good people has been one of my most basic ingredients to success.

5. When it comes to crafting your sound, how did you find the genre that spoke to you the most as an artist? It's funny because I don't really listen to indie folk music. And to be honest, I don't really listen to country music either. I listen to electronic music, soul and funk music, flamenco, early singer-songwriters, and bluegrass. So it's odd that somehow I've found myself in the 'indie folk rock/country Americana' genre. I would like to think my music is universal and can be enjoyed by folks from all walks of life. If there was a 'storytelling' musical genre, that's the one I'd like to be classified into. There is something about an acoustic guitar though that I really love. The ability to travel with it and sing my songs without electricity is something that attracts me to the instrument, and I guess the main reason why I have gravitated towards its sound and simplicity.

6. 2018 is finally here! What can we expect from you in the new year? Are there any videos or more releases in tow?Yes! 2018 holds and incredible amount of more fortunes to be found. The new music video for 'Making Space' will be out shortly. In the video I walk around DC with my mandolin, singing with the good folks of the city who end up joining in and 'making space' with me along the way. Two more videos for 'Long Way Back to Shonto' and 'Just Tryin to Get Home' will soon follow, with our next album, 'Way out West' releasing this summer. Add in a couple of East Coast tours at the end of the year, and you can probably see why we can't wait to share our new music and full-band live show with our growing fan base this year!

***Interview with Kurrent Music: http://www.kurrentmusic.com/blogviewer.html?blog-...