I just finished my album Magic City!
What is your earliest memory?
I was about seven years old, and I used to record myself on this karaoke machine. I would play a tape and record myself in layers with all the harmonies. Some songs were made up. Some songs were covers. And then I would host my own music countdown show. The songs would be in order of which songs I thought were hot at the moment, and I would make my little brother and sisters listen to me and be the audience as I hosted. I was always at the top of the countdown. I’m sure it was really annoying for them, but even back then it’s what I wanted to do.
If you weren’t a musician, what other profession would you choose?
I always wanted to be a news anchor. In high school I was really into television production. I was the sports anchor on the daily school news broadcast. The short time I went to college that was my major.
Describe a typical work day.
Being an independent musician, I do almost everything career-wise for myself. Typically, If I’m not too hungover, I get up and answer a ton of emails, update my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and then I follow up on any gig bookings. Since I’m finishing up my album, I spend a big part of the day going back and forth with my producer, Kenny Scott, about mixing and song ideas. Right now, I’m also touring, like, 2-4 days a week; it can get pretty crazy.
Is there a time you wish you’d lied?
I auditioned for a lot of reality singing competitions early on. I was always told I had a great voice, but then all the people with these tragic stories would go through to the next round and I wouldn’t. So sometimes I wish I‘d made up some horrible story so I could make it on the show.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?
I would probably tell myself not to care so much about what other people thought of me, and I would’ve learned to play guitar. It’s still not too late for that I guess.
If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?
There are so many great break-up albums. For me, though, definitely Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill has to be one of those albums where you can listen to it the whole way through without skipping a song. Sometimes it’s fun to be angry and depressed just so you can get lost in the music.
From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is anyone who didn’t think I would come this far. I can only speak for myself, but I think a lot of my drive and ambition comes from constantly feeling like an underdog. It’s difficult because sometimes I feel like I am doing this to prove something to the people who didn’t believe in me. Which is ironic because at the same time I have such an amazing supportive family and group of friends, so they really should be the main source of inspiration for me.
Name three books that have impacted your life.
I don’t really read a lot of books. I’m not ashamed. I have a very short attention span. I tend to gravitate towards magazines and comic books. I will read music-related books or biographies, but it’ll still take me like six months to read. I hear Fifty Shades of Grey is pretty intense.
If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?
I don’t think I’ve had that moment yet. I think very far ahead, and I tend to set big goals for myself. I don’t think I’ve had that one definitive moment yet, but I can definitely feel it coming. The universe has been very good to me lately.
How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?
Oh god. Okay, let’s see .… I just worked with latin singer Alejandro Sanz who lives in Miami on the same island as Gloria Estefan who was in Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep who starred in The River Wild with Kevin Bacon! Boom!
What makes you feel most guilty?
Food. If I eat too much I get what my friends call “pouty face.” I just hate feeling like I indulged too much. I feel gross. I have major food issues. It’s a dilemma I’ve been dealing with my whole life — a love/hate relationship with food.
How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?
I think my influences are absolutely present in my music. I try to always embody different artists’ energy when I’m in the studio according to what I’m recording. Usually it’s Michael Jackson. It’s always Michael Jackson.
Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind your new album Magic City?
I was on the road with Don Omar singing backgrounds, and I remember being exhausted and anxious about my career and wanting so badly to come home and start the recording process. When I was on the tour bus — I think we were in Vina Del Mar, Chile — I wrote the chorus to the title track from the album, and that message kind of released itself and became the theme and inspiration for the album. Everyone has his or her own “magic city.” Miami is mine, but everyone has that safe place they go for shelter or to escape, that they can call home. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a physical place; it can be within music or art or within your own mind. It’s the magic within that place that helps us get through life.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?
If you’re going to do something, do it right. I don’t care if you want to be the garbage man. Be the best garbage man you can be.
List your favorite in the following categories: Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.
Comedian — Chris Rock.
Musician — Freddie Mercury.
Author — Lester Bangs.
Actor — Johnny Depp.
If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?
I would pay for and sponsor my own tour. I would take the show on the road and gain fans the old fashioned way. Clearly the show would be amazing, since we’d have like a huge light show, and I want to walk on stage with a black panther on a leash. No joke. More is more.
What do you want to know?
My grandfather passed away a few years ago. I want to know what he’s up to.
What would you like your last words to be?
I am a warrior, and so are you.
Please explain what will happen.
The world is not going to end.
* Photos by Alexander Guerrera.
Putting a modern-rock edge on old-school R&B, Miami, Florida singer/songwriter ROBERT ELIAS has been compared to George Michael, Justin Timberlake, Freddie Mercury, and Ricky Martin. After conquering the Latin world writing songs, touring, and singing back-up for Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Jon Secada, Don Omar, and Chayanne, Elias is finally getting ready to release his first English album — Magic City.
For two seasons Elias has been a part of the music on Univision’s international hit reality-television series Mira Quien Baila. Elias’ songwriting efforts and voice have recently garnered the attention of iconic Latin pop stars. Chayanne’s song “El Hombre Que Fui,” co-written by Elias, appears on Chayanne’s number one album No Hay Imposibles.
In 2011, Elias began work on Magic City and touring with his band The Revenge. The album has been three years in the making and is being produced by 90’s pop icon Kenny Scott (Swirl 360) as a tribute to the city Elias grew up in, everything that has inspired him to dream and continue his journey, and the heartbreak along the way. The album includes songs co-written by some of the industry’s best, including local rockers Chris Alvy and Daniels Wills, Alan Frew of 80’s group Glass Tiger, and Denny Scott and Erick Marin.