East of Eli (aka Nathan West) just released the first single from his sophomore album Lost Transmission last Valentine’s Day in honor of his wife famed actress Chyler Leigh. The song titled Nowhere, beautifully fuses cinematic folk, pop melodies and modern electronic sound. Nowhere is a love letter to West’s wife who makes her singing debut providing angelic harmonies throughout the track. The arrangement is stunning, highlighting catchy melodies, soaring guitars and deep synths, a reminder of their devotion to one another despite the challenges that come with both having careers in entertainment.
Thematically and sonically, the new single is East of Eli’s strongest work to date, a poignant reflection of the past and present. East of Eli has received critical acclaim with American Songwriter noting West as an artist on the rise. East of Eli has also found success performing at top venues throughout Southern California including the House of Blues and Soho House.
Listen to “Nowhere” here!
Listen to “Children’s Play Copy” here!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Live. Laugh. Love.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
That’s a really hard question! I have so many people that have been influential & made a lasting impression in my life. I guess if I had to choose one person right now, it would have to be my father, because he never gave up fighting for what he believed in, he was always willing to learn from his mistakes & make the changes necessary to get a different result. One of my favorite things he would say to me as a kid growing up was… “Son, no matter what path you choose in life always shoot for the stars and if you land in the clouds, be thankful because it’s still a pretty damn good view.” I’ve lived by that golden rule since I was about 13 years old & I’d have to say it’s worked out so far.
What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family?
There’s actually no musical background in my immediate family. My uncle was the first one to get me interested in learning to play when I was in my teens. I started on a classical nylon string guitar that he gave me & taught me a few songs like, Blackbird by the Beatles, Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin & Under The Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers. After I learned those tunes, you couldn’t pry that thing out of my hands.
Do you ever get nervous?
Ya know, oddly enough I don’t get nervous. I used to when I first started playing infant of my friends or at house parties & what not, but I think that came from a place of being insecure in who I was as an artist because I needed everyone’s approval. Then I learned a priceless little secret… When your art has purpose you learn to live, create & perform beyond the boundaries of “self”. Simply put: I do what I do for my fans, not for me so my number one job is to get out of the way & let the music speak.
For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 3 words?
Cinematic Folk Pop.
How did you get started in the industry?
I actually got my first taste of the music business back in the day when we were shooting Bring It On. I was sitting on the steps of my trailer on set writing this song for my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) & this music manager who was putting together a boy band for La Face records heard me playing, so he walked over convinced me to join this group which lasted all of 24 hours.
Now tell us about your album “Lost Transmission”?
Well, before I start… Warning: you just opened pandora’s box, but I will do my best to condense it. Which is still gonna be a long winded answer!
Lost Transmission, has been an incredible journey through & through. I’ve been working on it for just over a year & a half now and honestly looking back with all the ups & downs along the path to completion, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. It’s been a priceless experience that continues to prove its worth time & time again.
The whole idea came from a conversation I had with Vince Gill in Nashville when we first moved there. Chyler & I, did a music video for him within the first week we arrived & during those two days we spent together he shared a lot of knowledge about his own experience in the music business & as a songwriter/storyteller. It was a pivotal moment for me as an artist, because what he shared challenged me to think differently about my own artistry. He talked about breaking through the noise (A reference to all the music out there now because it’s so easy to create music at home using your computer, an interface & a microphone and put it up on iTunes or Spotify).
Not but a month or so later, I met a well known songwriter & producer in Nashville, Juan Otero who is based in Nashville. He & I became brother’s almost instantaneously (which included the high’s & the lows of being so close) as he took me under his wing and helped me to see how powerful music could really be when it’s not self serving. His advice was not only timely, but inspired me to dig deep & look far beyond my own dreams & aspirations.
It took me a couple years to put it all the pieces together because there was some personal growth that needed to happen on my end as a father, husband, friend & artist… But, it was well worth it because it’s afforded me the opportunity to be the artist I am today. As the saying goes… “All good things happen in due time.”
Eventually the idea for Lost Transmission came together after seeing a documentary about how the US government has been sending RF signals to outer space since the space program began in the 1960’s. The whole concept was that it would take another intelligent life form like us, to recognize that these frequencies were actually a message & eventually if intercepted by such a being, they would send one back to us letting us know they received it.
At this point I have to pause & admit, “Yes, it’s true… I’m a total nerd.” That whole idea was absolutely mind boggling to me & eventually I made the correlation between that idea & being able to effectively share my heart with my son who struggles with ADHD & Asperger’s.
Sometimes it’s unbelievably difficult to breakthrough all the thoughts, ideas & feelings that are racing through his mind on an ongoing basis. As a father, all I want is to give him & his sisters every opportunity to be 10 times the person I will ever be. That to me is what my life is all about & it’s a legacy worth living no matter how difficult the circumstances have been or might still be.
Finally, a light bulb went off in my mind… He loves music just like I do & so much so that he listens intently. So, I decided to write the title track (which is called Lost Transmission) in honor of him & eventually I was inspired to write songs for each of the kids & of course the love of my life, my amazing wife.
Truth is, we never know how long we have in this life so I wanted to make sure no matter what, each of my kids, my wife & those who choose to listen to the album… a chance to hear my heart on life & love through the lyric & melody.
And about your hit track “Nowhere”?
Nowhere is in my mind a timeless piece. We originally wrote it as a song I would sing by myself, but the farther we went in the writing process I started to realize how important it was for my wife, Chyler Leigh to be featured on the track, because the song was supposed to represent the idea of when you think of your lover they are thinking of you. Kind of like when you go to text someone & they call you while you’re mid text. LOL… It happens to Chyler & I, all the time because we rarely get to spend time together with our crazy schedules, but when we do it’s magical.
What or who was your inspiration for your album and songs?
My family & personal experiences up to this point in my life.
What we can expect of East of Eli in 2017?
You can expect a lot from EOE in 2017. We are currently touring the US & Europe followed by a tour across Canada. We are also working on a music video for our song Nowhere and we’ll be releasing the album this summer.
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
It’s hard to pick one highlight from my career so far. I’ve had so many amazing moments with the fans. One moment that sticks out in my mind, would be this 13 year old kid that was at the Knitting Factory (Brooklyn) show. I sat on the edge of the stage to sing one of the songs off the Nothing Ordinary EP called, The Silent kind & I met his gaze halfway through the second verse. I could see he was lost deep in thought as he mouthed the words, so I called him up to come join me & we sang the rest of the song together.
Afterwords, he & his mom walked up and he told me he was a a musician/singer who was a bit afraid to share his music, which hit really close to home because that’s exactly how I started. It was the perfect opportunity to speak into his life and encourage him to take more chances and also share what I’ve discovered as an artist on my own journey. By the time he left, he was all smiles and he looked ready to take on the world! To me, that’s what it’s all about & I hope to have so many more opportunities to do the same.
Best advice ever given?
Vince Gill – “You can break through the noise if what you have to share is more than just a song.”
Name one your strengths?
Connecting with people right where they are at in the moment.
What are the 3 things you can’t live without?
My guitar, Shabu Shabu, which is a Japanese dish that means swish swish & quality time with my family.
What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
As the tattoo on my right forearm says, “Music is medicine for the soul.”
Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Enjoying quality time with my family.
What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Say It Ain’t So by Weezer.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Semi sweet chocolate chips & milk.
Do you support any charity?
Both my wife & I, are huge advocates for charity! So much so that we started a company called Charity Pulse that puts an altruistic spin on entertainment as a means to inspire artists & creatives to use their talents for positive social change. You can check it out at charitypulse.com
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to golf, snowboard & fly fish.
Five years from now you will be….
Hopefully playing Time Square on New Year’s Eve!
Where we can follow you?
Holiday Destination: Sailing the British Virgin Islands
Food: Any Japanese cuisine
Drink: Earl Grey Tea
Sports Team: Edmonton Oilers