Singer-songwriter Eli King An artist who is not waiting to break down. He has received GRAMMY®️ nominations and Platinum certification for his injured blues-rock, as heard solo “Ex and oh“And”Sweetheart of America. “His two albums for RCA have matched his fuzzy vocals and passion-plumbing songs with production and co-writing talents such as the name Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhaskar, Greg Carsten, Ben Gibbard, And others. However, this year King is quietly uploading raw, personal and untreated music to his Instagram account with the hashtag #LostHotelRoomSongs. In these videos it’s just King and his guitar, the artist looking at the camera while he shakes and spreads ideas.
It’s a glimpse of the cutting-room floor, so to speak. These songs aren’t final cuts for albums or other formal projects, and they present an interesting snapshot of how much music a dedicated singer-songwriter like King can contain. We talked to her about her creative process, how she decides what ideas to put on an album and what she learned from #LostHotelRoomSongs.
Spotify for Artists: First and foremost, can you explain what a “lost hotel room song” is?
Eli King: Basically, my creativity, it comes in waves. I will write straight eight months for the record. Then I do a record and then I don’t write for a few months because I’ll just concentrate on new songs. And then usually when I turn around a bit and start traveling I start to feel this annoying feeling. It’s coming through a creative flush. So, if I have a day off or whenever I’m at the hotel, I’ll write a song.
Even traveling and traveling and everything for the last six or seven years, I would write these little songs and I would record them on my phone. And then I write 75 songs most of the time, maybe three of them will be used for something. I don’t know if it’s just like sharp or practice, or if I have to figure something out, or if I just try to figure out my emotions. But they will be written and then they will just be on my phone. Maybe I want to send it to a friend or my mom or something else. And nothing will ever happen to them.
And then this year, I was, you know? It breaks my heart in such a way that no one will ever hear it. Why don’t I just post a short snippet of them so that even a small part of the song can come to life? Its a minute or more. And then I’ll feel better about going ahead and writing other things.
Do you see compositions with skills such as playing the guitar or practicing the scale of the song?
I mean, yes. I think you have to go back to it. It will take me a few days or maybe, four or five songs to find my flow again. I think if you are a lyricist, if it comes from your soul, you will never lose it. But it’s important to always push yourself.
My hotel room song, they’re not like, “I have to write this co-writing and send it to the label.” The songs in my hotel room are, “Oh, I have a passion that I want to get out of.” Or, “Oh, I woke up to this funny thing and I want to write this story.” Or, “Oh, I have to kill three hours, let me write and record a song.” So it’s part of the practice. And then, I think 90 percent of it is exactly what I like to do. I mean, when I first started making music and recording songs in my dormitory bathroom and stuff, because that’s what I loved to do.
How do you decide which music to keep and which to discard?
When it comes to pitching songs for an album, I think whatever the story is. You know, with most artists you change and your influence and your inspiration change. Your life changes. So, that’s the kind of thing that tells the story when you create these creations and which weave the best together. And sometimes you don’t know until the last second, you know? And then you thread it together. I don’t really know.
What will you learn from the songs in the lost hotel room when it comes to writing your songs?
I think the songs in the hotel room are like my real personality. They are kind of funny. Some of them are sad. They are different and strange. I consider them like my own version of folk music, which I really love. I think they are a true form of representation of me and my music and really, my emotions and how I feel about things. I’m not always great with my words, but for some reason, I can write a song, listen to it and be like, “Oh wow! Someone hurt my feelings at that time.” So it’s like a conversation with me.
My song “Ex and Oh” was a great song, and it’s hard to keep it in your back of your mind and, like every song you write: will it be the same? Would it be good? And at some point in your life you just have to be cool and be like, “No. You never have to ex and 2.0.” Nothing needs to repeat the same cycle and that’s okay. It’s totally okay.
So when I started writing again this year, after going through some heavy shit, I was right, just write down your emotions. And I can feel, you know, something of that balance lifting me up.
Do you have success stories from these short sessions?
I take my own written things in sessions because sometimes sessions aren’t great. They suck. And they are uncomfortable. So I always find that if I come up with something that I started with, it makes me like it. Even if it is a four-pronged advance. Or a sentence. Or a stanza. You know If people start co-writing, it’s a very nerve-wracking and uncomfortable and very weak thing. And so, if I were to advise someone, I would say, always keep some things in your back pocket. Because it can really help you start something great from scratch and it can become a collaborative kind of thing.
H Christopher R. Wingerten