The New Adventures of Elias Abid

Photos by Michael Salisbury

Photos by Michael Salisbury

“Je suis comme un nouvel artiste. Ca fait dix ans que je travaille sur la musique, mais c'est dans la dernière année que j'ai commencé à vraiment penser à ma propre musique.” 

Elias Abid, a bilingual, musical prodigy featured as one of These Days’ 2019 ‘Artists To Watch,’ states in his native French that although he has worked in music professionally for years, he really should be considered a new artist. He’s right, and his debut EP that he’s been working on is an opportunity for fans who know him solely from his collaborations as a producer, to get to know him as a solo artist.

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This solo journey truly began with the release of “Wayside” last year. That first single is a soulful spin on his alternative musical influences including The Strokes; Gorillaz; Peter, Bjorn and John; Coldplay and The Shins. On “Wayside,” Abid began to venture outside of his hip hop and R&B roots and into a soulful indie rock hybrid. Abid displayed his eerie ability to transport listeners with his music by using his luminous and advanced production skills to create an accessible musical experience.

His latest release “Unforgettable,” a loose single, will serve as part of a love letter and goodbye to Chicago; the city he considers his foundation - as he prepares for a move to Los Angeles in August of this year. “Unforgettable” coincides with and kicks off the re-release of a series of singles he previously released in 2018, which will precede his upcoming and currently untitled EP. Singles like “Wayside,” “Old Me,” and “Deception will all feature new track artwork courtesy of Abid's uncle, the Brooklyn-based Argentinian - Gonzalo Pita. With these pieces, Abid would like listeners to see the way that he hears his music - as clean little moments in time. They are intended to be an abstract portrayal of the nameless emotion that a song can evoke in the listener. The new artwork lays the groundwork for a unique and engrossing experience, imbued with an ineffable quality that is simple, honest, moving, and human. 

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On “Unforgettable” Abid confronts what he considered a “traumatic teenage relationship, its fallout, and his first brush with death.” Abid wrestles with the turbulence that his teenage relationship brought into his life through what he describes as a conversation between himself and his “ability to work through the residual trauma.” The single’s artwork is a piece that features several pastel shades of pink and blue punctuated with a deep red that bleeds slightly from the middle into the other colors. The shapes and colors represent the human element - an indescribable feeling - featured on a pristine white background reflective of Abid’s signature polish and refinement. “Unforgettable” begins softly then builds into a haunting and remarkably mature sound that conveys the angst and trauma of a failed romantic relationship. 

In the refrain of “Unforgettable,” Abid grapples with his feelings about his unsuccessful relationship by asking whether she just got enough of him. We may never know the answer to that question, but after a sneak peek and introduction to Abid’s potential as a solo artist, it would be impossible for a listener to walk away without yearning for more from this young and yet incredibly refined and talented artist.

On his forthcoming EP, Abid works with producer Andrew Christopoulos for the first time and has created an indie alternative pop record featuring a liberal use of a full gamut of folk instruments including, the mandolin, banjo, guitar, violin, drums, cowbells, and triangles. Abid, a self-taught musician, plays some of these instruments himself, but calls friends and collaborators, Sean Burke, Jameson Brenner, Benji Shefler and the Violet Suns to lend a hand. Together, they create an genuine, yet sophisticated sound that infuses many traditional genres organically. 

In September of this year, Abid will turn 24, signifying his 10th year making music professionally. Abid previously demonstrated his ability to maintain the authenticity and honesty in his production while helping the musicians he works with develop their own voice. On his debut EP, he turns that perspective inward, and if ‘Unforgettable’ is reflective of his new direction, the results are thrilling.