/ Music

We are delighted to introduce our other first prize winner from our Emerging Music Artist Contest, ELEVEN – a RnB/Pop duo from Philadelphia, made up of Karis and Blue.

Blue entered our contest on behalf of the duo with their song Step Forward.

We sent Karis and Blue a few questions for them to answer so we could get to know them better…

Where your love of music came from?

ELEVEN is an American RnB/Pop songwriting duo from Philadelphia, consisting of vocalist Karis Stephen and producer Blue Bookhard. After meeting at the University of Pennsylvania, the group released their debut single, “Step Forward,” in 2017.

Our love of music came from exposure at an early age. We both performed in choirs, orchestras, musicals, jazz combos and rock bands. All of these varied experiences influenced our style because we learned how to write across genres. In college, Karis sang in an acapella group and Blue drummed in a troupe. Both of these experiences allowed us to collaborate with dozens of performers and really hone our craft.

For the past few months, we’ve dedicated ourselves to exploring our sound and getting our music heard. We have musical influences ranging from Erykah Badu and Alicia Keys to and Quincy Jones and Questlove.

What three word describe your music?

Bold. Bold defines how we approach lyrics, songwriting, and production. We push to challenge traditional songwriting conventions by adding pop melodies to hip-hop beats or adding strings to RnB tracks. Lyrically, we love playing with phrasing and double entendres.

Smooth. Our music is easy to listen to. Be it the vocal harmonies or string arrangements, it’s the type music that should make you want to sit back and take it all in. We want our listeners to be immersed in our sound.

Fun. At the end of the day, this is about making great music and hoping somebody else enjoys the ride.

Where do you find inspiration for your music?

We spend a lot of time dissecting how people interact. We often find ourselves playing out different conversations and drawing inspiration from experiences we’ve had. A conversation can inspire a chord progression, melody or phrase. Once we have an established motif, we build the rest of the song around that.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

The University of Pennsylvania Spring Fling. It was a great opportunity to share our music with our peers. The Penn community has been supportive of our sound and we take every opportunity to perform.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played (and why it was the worst)?

Karoondinha Music and Arts Festival 2017 – it never happened. We found out it was canceled through a billboard article!

Where would be your dream venue to host a gig and why?

Made In America in Philadelphia. We went last year and it was insane. Performing at an iconic monument like Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the city which brought us together would be amazing. Plus meeting Jay-Z would be kinda cool.

Who would you most like to do a collaboration with and why?

We have two: Bibi Bourelly and Childish Gambino (Donald Glover).

We love fusing genres. Bibi and Childish are two of the best artists and visionaries who take styles and fuse them in a way which sounds refreshing. ”Bitch Better Have My Money” and “Redbone” are two masterpieces of music. Donald Glover works across creative fields, like film, TV and music. It’s incredibly inspiring and something that we both want to experience.

What are your top tips for other musicians starting out?

Collaboration is hyper important – be it with filmmakers, designers, bloggers or fellow artists. Seriously, we want to work with you.

What’s your life motto?

Stay curious. Stay creative. Stay clever.

More on ELEVEN


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