Robbie Elias
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Robbie Elias

Miami, FL, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Miami, FL, Florida, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Pop Soul

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Robert Elias is a pop musician in the truest sense of the term: an adorably groomed specimen with a knack for injecting danceability and universally relatable lyrics into the same song. Based in Miami, he once explained to our very own Arielle Castillo that, as a purveyor of a sound unfriendly to both Churchill’s and the Latin music scene, it was often difficult for him to find his niche, at least in terms of simply booking shows. “I still get a lot of shit for that interview … but I’m thankful [Arielle] gave me the opportunity to be honest,” he says. “I was never trying to play a victim or make it seem like I had no support at all from the Miami music scene … because at the moment, that’s how I felt and I feel like I spoke for a lot of local pop artists. You have to prove to people that you can put on a high-energy show. There are some venues that fully support what I’m doing; then there are the other venues that don’t get it or just haven’t seen me live yet. Usually when they do, they automatically want to book me.”

That is, essentially, Elias’s ideology: it’s not that there isn’t an audience for him in his hometown; he just needs to be exposed to them. “Within music, borders definitely need to be stretched,” he says. “I was watching a speech by creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, and he says, ‘If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.’ I really try to abide by that. I’m not afraid to push myself. I’ve failed before; I have nothing to be afraid of. I’ve always gotten satisfaction by proving others wrong or surprising people with what I’m capable of musically and vocally.”

Such confidence comes not from a place of conceit, but from Elias’s experience alone. Though his work is set apart from the likes of his former tourmate, Don Omar, he “started off in the Latin industry” — before touring, Elias wrote for Chayanne on his last album and recorded background vocals for both Marc Anthony and Alejandro Sanz. On Don Omar’s iDon World Tour, Elias nurtured a born ability to absorb a multitude of genres and find inspiration from them. “The conception of the album Magic City began while I was on tour with Don Omar,” he says. “I was touring in South America and I was missing home genre. For me, growing up on mostly American pop and rock music, I wasn’t very familiar with the music or the intensity of what this music means to people. … I had to embrace it and learn about it. Even though I’m Cuban-American, it was like learning a new language.”

Elias’s willingness to learn and grow was the guiding force behind the formation of his backing band, The Revenge, whose inception again came from his desire to challenge both himself and the stereotypical perception of him as a pop artist. “[The Revenge] are a great balance for me musically,” he explains. “I wanted people to know that I was a live act; I take pride in my live show. In Miami, sometimes it’s easy for a solo pop artist to be put into a box, and I wanted to break that stereotype. Robert Elias and The Revenge allow me to give more of a live rock show … [and] it brings out the soul in the music. An artist is nothing without the band that backs them up.”

That’s Robert Elias: self-confidence is important, but not as much as giving credit where it’s due. But even if he felt he was nothing without his band — and it is an excellent one, true — he’d be incorrect. Elias’s openness in both this interview and on stage is the mark of an earnest, ever-growing talent. Asked about the blunt, lyrical honesty of his single, “Lies,” he says simply: “I guess it has a dark undertone because, at the time, I was feeling miserable and a bit lost within my love life. I’m inspired by the people around me, art, other music, by my own experiences. As an artist, you have to be willing to pull from all aspects of life.” - Salty Eggs


“Are you mother****ing ready?”
“Are you feeling alright?”

Robert Elias asks us in the title track of his newly released album, Magic City. I’ve never been to Miami, but after listening to the title track, an energetic pop-rock beat, I am ready to join Elias as he goes “back to the magic city, sun shinin’ hard we all look so pretty. . .”

Born and raised by professional musicians in Miami, Fla., Elias has always loved music and began his professional career at age 15, singing demos for local songwriters. He has since toured extensively throughout the Latin music world, working with artists such as Marc Anthony and Alejandro Sanz. Magic City is Elias’ debut album as a solo artist.

I’ll admit I’ve been on a pop music kick lately. Life is hard and pop music makes me feel good! And Elias’ record is no different. The opening track, “Night Calls,” echoes the sounds of 80’s dance hits and makes me want to ride down a glittering street in the backseat of a convertible, hands in the air, hair gone wild in the wind.

But Elias is more than just another manufactured pop artist. His vocals are both wide-ranging and beautiful, perhaps best showcased in the stripped-down closing track, “Saved.” Throughout the album he fuses old-school influences such as Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder with modern pop, R&B, and rock sounds, resulting in a record that is original and refreshing.

But what’s a pop record without heartbreak? For anyone who’s been rejected and recently found someone new, “How Does It Feel” is your anthem. A catchy beat, Elias demonstrates his ability to layer sounds and vocals, building momentum throughout the track, breaking it down halfway through, then building it back up for one more round before fading out.
Also characteristic of most pop records is an invitation for love, such as Elias’s “Come On Over.” The lyrics are sweet but disappointing in their unoriginality:

Don’t you see
Finally
I can be
All you need
Close your eyes
Take my hand
And dream
Fall into me

While the smooth R&B sound is a nice compliment to some of the harder beats on the album, because the lyrics fail to deliver, maybe I would have preferred something edgier, something sexier, something to make me really want to come over.

Elias more than makes up for it, though, with “All the Wrong Reasons,” a definite highlight of the album, which samples the forever-cool Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Yet Elias surprises us by blending the sample with more of a pop-rock feel, creating an edgy sound that is all his own.

Overall, Magic City is a dynamic debut album, moving between retro R&B, modern pop-rock, and even taking a step towards the southern-rock genre with “Could’ve Been Good.” Elias’s passion for music is evident in his influences, his intricate layering of sounds, and when he sings it’s with all he’s got. And that makes me feel more than alright.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Album: Magic City
Release Date: August, 2012
Genre(s): Pop
Location: Miami, Florida
Members: Robert Elias
Website: www.robertelias.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/roberteliasmusic
- Indie Music Reviewer


Robert Elias Says Pop Artists Get No Respect in Miami: "It's As If You Can't Be Cool Enough"

By Arielle Castillo Tue., May 15 2012 at 9:00 AM
Categories: Concert Preview, Local Music


The debate over the merit -- or lack thereof -- of various Miami venues for live music recurs pretty much every day across the local blogosphere and social media landscape.

One day, it's commercial radio rock that's getting the shaft. The next day, it's all bands, indie rock or not. And so goes the largely Facebook- and Twitter-fueled infighting.

But one talented local artist posits a new twist: It's actually, says Robert Elias, musicians unafraid to wave the pop flag who have it the worst in Miami.

"For some strange reason people are afraid of pop music and what it means to be labeled a pop artist. But I've always been fascinated by it," says the 20-something Elias, who recently self-released a solo album titled Magic City in homage to his hometown.

"What makes it difficult is trying to convince some of the newer bars, promoters, and booking agents that a pop show can be a live rock show that fans want to come see. It's ironic, because the biggest-selling acts in the world are pop acts. It's almost as if, because you are doing pop music, you can't be indie or cool enough for these venues."

Veneer of coolness or not, Elias is proud to wave the pop flag. He got his start locally in the Latin industry, writing songs, touring, and singing background for mega-artists like Alejandro Sanz, Don Omar, and Marc Anthony. But from the beginning, he dreamed of doing universal, danceable solo work.

Elias's childhood idols included the likes of David Bowie and George Michael, along with late-'80s and early-'90s R&B and dance music. That translates, in 2012, to an artsy yet crowd-pleasing style that traverses sunny, catchy guitar-driven ditties ("Come on Over"), torch song-style soul ("Saved"), and, perhaps in a nod to the city's clubs, pulsing, New Age-y disco-pop ("Night Calls").

With a pro songwriter's knack for memorable melodies and concise song structure, Elias has created a body of work that's unabashedly radio-friendly. But with an aim at arenas, he says it's difficult trying to find local stepping stones to get there.

Luckily, he says, in the past few months, opportunities for him and a few other like-minded artists, such as female-fronted band Roky Sofi, have improved. "I created a band, the Revenge, because venues were less judgmental of the music if I had a cool band name, and we've been gigging a ton. I love playing Brickell Irish Pub, Bougainvillea's, and recently I played a benefit for the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center that was amazing," he says. "Usually it takes someone who is willing to take the chance."

Another venue taking a chance is the Clevelander Hotel, where Elias takes the stage on Wednesday, May 30, and where he promises entertainment on par with that of any full rock band and an ethos as indie as it comes. "As of right now, I am my own manager, promoter and booking agent and thankfully, I am not living in the streets. I'm making a living doing music only," he says. "If that's not what an independent artist is, then I don't know what is."

Robert Elias and the Revenge. Wednesday, May 30. The Clevelander Hotel, 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is free. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-532-4006 or visit clevelander.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL. - Miami New Times


Revolution caught up with Elias directly from Miami to chat about his new album soon to be released and get scoop in living in the heart of the Latin quarter.

R. Throughout your musical career you've achieved and made a lot of noise in the latin quarter, who has been some of your musical influences?
RE. It's funny, because growing up, other than Gloria Estefan, I wasn't really influenced by a lot of Latin music and artists. All I heard around the house was whatever my mother played which was a lot of dance music, Donna Summer, Expose, The BeeGees... my dad was more of a southern rock guy, so he was into The Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, Willie Nelson... so I was influenced by all that and then of course whatever was more mainstream that I saw on MTV. Family gatherings, birthdays, was the only time I really listened to Latin music. It wasn't until my teens when I started writing songs that I began to take an interest in knowing more about Latin music and culture.

R. Latin music has brought about some major artists from as early as Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony and of course, boy wonder Ricky Martin. Their conversion from heart wrenched Latin pop songs turned English set the tone for the Latin music on a large scale with new fans. How do you feel about this conversion and what are some of the positives and negatives it has had on Latin music?
RE. I think it's important for me to keep in touch with my Latin roots and I would love to have success in the Latin market one day, the Latin fans are a very dedicated fan base to have! However, I do think that the world has this perception of what Latin- American music should sound like. I don't think a Latin artist has to make in your face, obvious Latin music. I could easily make a salsa album and call it a day... but I want to stay true to myself and make the music that I want to make. With that said, I think there is something amazing about what the artists before me did, they were able to take what they knew about Latin music, translate it and make it successful! That's amazing.


R. What can your audience expect from this new album and what was it like to work with songwriter Kenny Scott (swirl 360)?
RE. When I first started writing this record about three years ago, I didn't want to do music anymore. Ironically, it wasn't until I went on tour doing backgrounds for Don Omar that I really began to get inspired to record for myself again. I was traveling all over the world, learning about culture and about myself and who I was and who I wasn't. I had a really negative experience within the music industry prior to this and I was ready to give up. So this album is my dream album. It's my own personal comeback album! It's a preview to everything I want to be an artist. It's essentially a very versatile album, a lot of different themes and genres, but thanks to Kenny Scott, he was able to bring that all together and put it through the "Robert Elias" filter. Kenny has believed in the project from the beginning and I really believe that the world has not seen what he is capable of as a producer and songwriter. Swirl 360 was just a part of who he is as a musician, there is so much more!

R. You live in Miami, a city which is notorious for mojitos, upbeat salsa rhythms, and a series party town.Where do you go for chill out time?
RE. Honestly, ask any of my close friends, I rarely go out anymore, since I am really trying to focus! But, if I do, I'm a true believer that it's all about the people you surround yourself with. I could be in the sh*ttiest bar or the fanciest club and have a great time as long as there are awesome people around me...and some Jameson. I also try to make it out to as many concerts and local music shows as possible!

R. When your not recording your own tunes, tell me whats HOT on your playlist of favorite artists?
RE. Wow. So much great music in the world! I listen to a lot of different artists... right now I'm on a George Michael kick, since I get compared to him so often, I like to know what I'm being compared to. He's brilliant and has definitely influenced me. I still listen to a lot of rock and roll, new and old. Queen, Guns & Roses, Journey... The Black Keys, Foo Fighters... When it comes to pop music, I live for Lady Gaga and I thank her everyday for making pop music exciting again! I'm also into a lot of local Miami artists like Chris Alvy Band and Roky Sofi... I think every artist should support local act!



Last but not Least...

R. You've just been type cast for a new reality show that will have; You, Slash, Madonna, and Big Bird, your stranded on a remote island. You only have 1 guitar, a mirror, and 1 chocolate bar to share between the four of you, what happens on the first night?
RE. Hmmm....On the first night, we break the mirror and we cook Big Bird and use him for food and then have the chocolate bar for dessert. (Smiling) - Revolution 360


Robert Elias & the Revenge. Saturday, November 26, 10 p.m., Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern, 7221 SW 58th Ave., South Miami. Free. Catch the Mira Quien Baila singer live in South Miami. - blogs.miaminewtimes.com


Robert, 25, is a third-generation Cuban American. He learned Spanish to get in touch with his Cuban roots. He is a composer of Latin music, following in the footsteps of his deceased grandfather, who was a music producer in Cuba. - Miami Herald


"The show began with Robert Elias‘s seductive Latin voice raising the tempo of for the entire show." - miamiolivia.com


Luli Fama’s 2011 collection was opened with the amazing voice of Robert Elias, which set a high expectation for the show. Color drenched, dynamic and oh-so-attractive, the collection wowed everyone. The elegant lines of the different designs, as displayed in the “Best-of” below, blended beautifully with this dazzling and high energy runway show. The show closed with a graceful last “dance” down the runway, and another gorgeous song performance. - www.formzine.com


Luli Fama was one the most entertaining shows of the week, titled “Baila, Luli, Baila!” (Dance, Luli, Dance!)- a tribute to designer, Luli Hanimian, a Miami native of Cuban descent. The crowd was in awe as Robert Elias turned the runway into a stage, as he belted out a soulful rendition of Cooler than Me, setting the tone for the electric show, getting the crowd to clap and sing along. Then Cabana Grande was transformed into a Miami night club as gorgeous models strutted down the runway to the hottest soundtrack-the crowd could not sit still. Elias took the stage at the end closing the show paying tribute to the designer’s Latin roots but not before seasoned model, Tika Ivezaj, a dead-ringer for Giselle Bundchen, teasingly stripped off her tunic, waving it in the air, and sauntered seductively down the runway flanked by a lone spotlight, to the rhythm of tribal drums, raising more than a few blood pressures. - miamisocialholic.com


Robert Elias, the latest homeboy from the 305 trying to make it in the recording industry, has worked with the top of the Latin music food chain -- Marc Antony, Luis Fonsi, Obie Bermudez and Chayanne.

He's now touring with Don Omar "El Rey Del Reggaton."

And on Chayanne's new album, No hay imposibles (There Are No Impossiblities), Elias co-wrote the song El hombre que fui (The Man I Use To Be). He also sings background vocals for Chayanne's latest single Me enamore de ti (I Fell in Love With You) as well as album tracks Si tu no estas (If You're Not There) and Me pierdo (I Lose Myself). The album is available on iTunes and has recently topped the Billboard and iTunes charts at number one.

Don't be fooled. Elias is more than a background voice. He wrote, produced and sang has own single, Corazon en pedazos (Heart in Pieces), which is getting airplay on Latin radio station Romance 106. And his English-language song Over is being sold on iTunes.

No stranger to hard work and perseverance, Elias is commited to his music. After auditioning for American Idol four times - twice making it to semifinals - he never made it onto the show. He was also dropped by his record label.

" I never thought things would happen for me again,'' he said. "Then I decided I wanted to be an artist who people can relate to. I want to make music that I love. Anything is possible. When you think you're finished, that's when you have to push the hardest. "I want to work hard, bust my ass performing, write songs. The way "real" artists used to do it."

Elias didn't make it on American Idol, but you can watch him in the documentary Havana Miami : Times are Changing, an original project coproduced by Arte, the French-German cultural channel, and co-produced by groups including the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami and Cuba's Troqua Vision. The documentary follows the daily lives of young men and women from Havana and Miami over three months. The stories are told through two-minute long videos. The individual subjects (12 in all), were filmed by teams in Havana and Miami, and began airing Feb. 22 on www.havana-miami.tv/ - Miami.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Robbie Elias is a singer-songwriter from Miami, Florida who has been compared to George Michael, Justin Timberlake, Freddie Mercury & Bruno Mars! After conquering the Latin world: writing songs, touring & singing backgrounds for international acts like Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Don Omar & Chayanne; Robert Elias released his debut album "Magic City" in 2012! 

Born in Miami, Florida to a Cuban guitarist/songwriter father dedicated to classic rock and professional vocalist mother who favored pop and disco, it wasn't long till Robert Elias began singing along to the latest by Queen, Michael Jackson and Elton John on the radio. " I love artists who have the ability to push the envelope and be themselves, I want to be like those artists, its inspiring," says Elias. He started his professional career at 15 when he began singing demos for local songwriters and producers; after years of dedication he has become one of Miami's go-to artists and singers!

 "Overall, "Magic City" is a dynamic debut album, moving between retro R&B and modern pop-rockEliass passion for music is evident in his influences, his intricate layering of sounds, and when he sings its with all hes got," says Sarah Certa of Indie Music Reviewer Magazine.

Currently, Robert Elias is working on a new album. We can all look forward to seeing much more from Robert Elias in the near future he's only just begun to take over the music world!

Band Members