With a suave pompadour and bonafide rockabilly swag, Boston native and current Brooklyn resident Eli "Paperboy" Reed takes us back to a time when love's language, although subtle, had a great impact. But make no mistake -- this is NOT your grandmother's R&B, although it's something she surely can appreciate. With a new album on the horizon and a song featured in the new film The Best Man Holiday, the future is looking is bright for Eli "Paperboy" Reed. I recently had the great opportunity to sit down and chat with Eli about his music and his place in this industry as well as shoot a recent show performed at Brooklyn's Union Pool.
SoulBounce: I was just recently introduced to your music and let me just say I think it's awesome.
Eli "Paperboy" Reed: Ahh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
SB: Okay, so how the heck did you get the name "paperboy"?
EPR: (laughs) Well, when I graduated from high school, I moved to Mississippi, and at the time I had this newsboy hat that I always wore that belonged to my grandfather. I used to wear it all the time, and people just started calling me "paperboy" and the name just stuck for better or worse.
SB: Very cool. So in being from Boston, we're familiar with acts like New Kids on the Block, New Edition or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but your music seems to go a different route entirely. Who are your influences?
EPR: I kinda grew up in a bit of a vacuum listening to a lot of gospel and blues. My dad was an avid music collector, and he was the one who really introduced me to all of that. In moving to Mississippi I really immersed myself in that whole scene and doing a lot more playing than I thought I would. And when I went to college at University of Chicago I started playing and singing in a church on the South Side of Chicago and really gravitated towards that kind of music like Sam Cooke, The Coasters, etc.
SB: Are you from a musical family?
EPR: My dad and I played guitar and sang when I was younger and played the harmonica. He is an aficionado of music so I was highly influenced by the music being played around the house.
SB: As we all know, your music has a very old school vibe to it and in the age of hip hop and rap, do you feel like your music has a place today?
EPR: The goal is to bridge the gap between soul music, pop and R&B, and I think that once the new record comes out people are going to be surprised. I want to retain the soulful flavor of R&B with some modern elements that I really think will resonate with listeners. I think it's a perfect time to showcase that.
Listen to Eli's latest single "WooHoo" and look out for his upcoming album soon.