The 23-year-old has grown so much since posting 6-second covers and is now signed by a major record label and is releasing music of his own like “Sleeping Beauty” and “Gay Man!” Jeffrey Eli joined GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos to discuss his life, career, and plans for the future.
“It was such an honor and such a moment,” Eli says about being signed to RCA Records in partnership with Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records.
They reflected on the early days of their career where they were constantly being criticized and pressured into acting more “masculine.” “I’m honestly still unlearning some of it,” he told GLAAD. “It was very much a time of the ‘Justin Bieber’ archetype… I felt a lot of pressure and was told a lot of the time that I was too feminine and that’s why nothing was clicking.”
Eli says he’s grateful to have learned from this experience. “That was a really significant part of my development, learning to unlearn it and teach myself that there’s nothing wrong with expressing myself exactly how I am.”
They love seeing messages from fans on social media who feel seen through their music. “My only goal right now is just to make what I didn’t feel like I saw.”
This year Eli got to perform at LA Pride alongside some of the biggest names in music. “That was a huge goal of mine, to perform at Pride.” To make the occasion even more special, pop-icon Mariah Carey was performing as well! “Mariah is my everything.”
“An EP is brewing,” Eli revealed when asked what’s up next for him. Fans can also get excited about an upcoming song called “Wife Pleaser” that Eli describes as “an homage to all the pop girls that I grew up listening to.”
Aside from Queen Mariah, Eli says his dream collaborations would be with Ariana Grande, SZA, and Joni Mitchell.
As someone raised on the internet, Eli offers some words of advice for young queer people navigating social media; “Do not listen to any of the bullshit, period.”
Stream Jeffrey Eli’s music here and watch their latest music video now!