You may know him as the loveable Seaweed from the blockbuster musical Hairspray, but 20-year-old Elijah Kelley is ready to be known as just Elijah. The R&B singer is breaking out with his first solo record, Love Letters, and has already been featured on the Sex and the City Volume 2 soundtrack and DisneyMania6. Check out what the Georgia boy had to tell J-14 exclusively about his new album, his life after Hairspray and his friendship with Zac Efron!
J-14: Tell us about the album.
Elijah: The album takes you from like the '70s to the year 2050, all an hour, basically. You get all types of different music. It's exciting. It takes you on a ride. I wrote the whole thing, and it's basically about this one girl--falling in and out of love, the courting process, breaking up, making up and all that good stuff.
J-14: Do you have a favorite song from the album?
E: There's a song I think is my favorite because it's just been around for so long. It's one of the songs that we originally did like two years ago when I was not even that serious about the music, just cutting demos and not even having this big thing in sight. It's called "Tell Me," and it's basically an acoustic song--it's my voice and an acoustic guitar. It's just telling a girl, "You don't have to be that way. You don't have to hate me. You don't have to ever talk to me again. I just need to know if you still love me or not." On the more upbeat side, there's a song called "P's & Q's" that is pretty great.
J-14: What did the girl who you wrote the album say when she read the lyrics and found out the songs were about her?
E: I went home over Christmas, and there were a couple of songs that I played her that she knew it. It's funny, because when you're so close to somebody, it hurts that much when you do stupid stuff. There were some times that I would just be stupid and naÃ¯ve and prideful, and we wouldn't talk for a week. It got to a point one time where I did something really stupid, and there was a big misunderstanding and we didn't talk for like three months--at all. It happened on senior year spring break and for the duration of the school year, we didn't even talk. We were supposed to go to the prom together! She was supposed to take me to her school's, I was going to take her to my school's and it was just a big misunderstanding. One of the things I regret is that I didn't apologize.
J-14: What made you finally decide to talk to her?
E: This is super dramatic, but the night before I left for California, I went to her parents' house. Her parents knew what was going on--they knew something had happened. And I was like, "I really, really need to talk to her because I'm leaving tomorrow." I was saying I was leaving to go to California since I was like 12, but this time it was for real, so I had get it right before I left. So I sat there, and we talked for hours and we got it right. The next morning, I was on a plane to California.
J-14: How are you two now?
E: She's like my best friend! For a long time I couldn't tell a girl I loved her and be for real about it, but I can tell her how. I'm like, "I love you to death. I don't know if we'll even be together, but I love you."
J-14: What were you like then, during high school?
E: I did everything in high school--I played tennis, I played basketball, I was in chorus, I was in the band, I even did the mascot senior year... I went to the football games and at half-time I went across the field, met all the cheerleaders and got their numbers! The same year, I won prom king!
J-14: Do stay in touch with your Hairspray co-stars?
E: Yeah, I stay in touch with everybody! I text Zac [Efron]. I talk to Amanda [Bynes]. I haven't called Nikki [Blonsky]--I gotta call Nikki because I'm in New York, and she's a couple minutes away! I talk to pretty much everybody.
J-14: What was it like working with Zac?
E: It was the worst. He was a diva. Just kidding! He was the most down-to-earth dude ever. He's my boy. I don't really like befriend a lot of people, but he's one who was like really genuine and down-to-earth. He recognizes real people and real friendships, so we really had a good time. We were like Ebony & Ivory 2008!
You can check out Elijah's first single, "I Got It," on his Myspace page.