From the land of the free and home of tropical Hawaii, Brian Ellefson has joined the ranks of Bellevue College.
Talented musician, Ellefson has ben gaining recognition from radio to television to newspaper, and making a name for himself with a unique style of sound not heard all too much around our Seattle area. And now that two of his original works have been selected for an ABC series “Cougar Town”, his music has been on the rise. There’ll be no living with him after this:
What instruments can you play?
I play acoustic and electric guitar, bass, ukulele, I do some percussion, some piano – basically anything that I want to put into a song I’ll play it – not always great, but good enough. I also just switched my recording setup over to a Mac using Logic Pro software and it’s been the coolest thing ever. I don’t know how I got stuff done before this.
Where do you get inspiration to make your music?
Hard question! I get little ideas when Im doing things not related to music. I just hear them in my head when I’m driving or something. So a lot of times I just take out my iPhone and record them so I dont forget em. My phone has honestly been the most important tool for me ‘cause I get ideas at all hours of the day and a lot of them pop up when I don’t have a guitar around.
Have you been performing?
I’m playing out about 4-6 times per month right now. Being on TV and on Marty Riemer’s show (103.7) really helped because I get emails now from people asking me to play. I just played at the GreenNote Festival this summer and that came because of being on Marty’s show.
Have you been handed any record deals or requests to use your music?
I’ve got a big publishing company out of New York that is waiting for me to finish this next batch of music. If they like it, then we’ll talk about a traditional publishing deal. So far, my music has only been on one TV show, which was “Cougar Town” on ABC. They used my songs “Girl” and “Right Time”. The publisher sent me like a four-sentence email saying it was gonna happen and I had to read it like 5 times ‘cause I couldn’t believe it.
When did you first start playing your music?
When I was 16 I was helping my friend clean his parents attic. We found this old electric guitar and I bought it from him (without knowing how to play). I just got super focused on it and never put it down.
What are your plans for the future in music, school, just in general? I’m going to keep recording music and playing live. I have some good opportunities coming up and hard work makes even more. I’ll keep plugging away at school. I want to get my degree in business (marketing) and hopefully some day I have the chance to use my skills from my music career with my education and put them into one job. Maybe that’s in the music industry, maybe not.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists?
I used to play guitar for other bands and artists before I did my own thing. I’ve been thinking about collaborating lately, though, too. I’ve got some songs that would sound really good with a female voice and or piano in them.
What themes, opinions, and beliefs do you integrate into your music?
I’m not sure I can say I have just a certain set of beliefs or themes in my music. I know that I generally want it to be positive, though. A lot of it has a theme that things are going to be okay if we just push forward. Ya know?
Just do your best, hold onto what you believe, and things usually work out. But outside of the lyrics and songs, I just tell people to go after what they love. Two years ago I was humming a song idea into my iPhone and that song ended up being played on ABC – so anything is possible, but you’ve gotta go for it.
What do you think is important to convey or accomplish in the role of a musician?
Well I think it’s important to give people their own songs. Once it’s written, recorded, and put out there for everyone to hear – it’s not yours anymore. People are gonna listen to a song and apply their own life to its meaning. So as an artist the best thing you could do is just step out of the way from the beginning and use words that allow the song to be someone else’s, too.