Elijah McKinnon


Elijah McKinnon

Do you feel more inspired to create in winter? Do seasons affect your creation at all?

There’s a weight in the winter and most of my writing comes out of some sort of heaviness. In the last few years, writing and music has been my mechanism for rationalizing that weight or sitting in it or just acknowledging it. Writing sad ass songs is super healthy for me.

In the summer, I am more interested in the experience of living then documenting, so I have to remind myself that the difference between a successful/working artist and a person with good ideas is writing the shit you are thinking down somewhere.

Do you think  “sleeping in” means something unique to Chicagoans?

Yeah, maybe the concept of letting yourself be less then optimal is a Chicago thing. Generally, we're not an optimistic people and we should probably forgive ourselves for that. The song Sleep In is about collectively saying fuck it, tomorrow's a new day so let's just chill and be losers, but we can be losers together. I think there's something powerful about owning the sides of yourself that aren't ideal.

Sam Bailey has said she first heard “Sleep In” a live storytelling event. How important is performing live to your craft or development as an artist? If so, what types of settings/venues do you prefer? 

Until a few years ago I had totally debilitating stage fright. My flight or flight would kick in and I wasn't able to properly share my vision with an audience - so performing live is really important to me because I had to earn it. I also realize that my performance is not about entertaining. Instead, I just try to focus inward and find the emotional space and connection I have with a song and let myself live in that. Performing is hard. Sometimes people get their Instagram picture of me and then go back to not giving a shit. There are those other times though, when someone in the audience lives in the moment with me and that’s magic.

 How is it being an independent singer-songwriter in Chicago? 

I mean being an artist is super hard. I try not to think about the business/politics of music too much and I am not good at networking and convincing people that what I am making is worth their time. I am trying to live in an idealistic brain space where if I make music that approaches some sort of truth that I am grappling with, someone will appreciate it.