Jamaal “ELHAE” Jones knows that nothing lasts forever, so he’s going to dedicate all of his time to become one of the greatest artists of this generation.
The singer and rapper, whose name acrimoniously breaks down to Every Life Has An Ending, adopted his moniker one day while he was writing a song in high school.
“I just liked the way that phrase looked on paper, so I took the first letter from each word and pushed them together,” he says of his name’s origin.
ELHAE was born in Minot, North Dakota, but with a military dad, he moved around quite a bit, eventually landing in Warner Robins, Georgia, spending his summers in Savannah. His first taste of music came when he sang in his school choir, though he was deeply inspired by the rhymes of Kanye West, Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
“I just loved the conscious rap. It's something that really stimulated my brain,” he says.
Still, it would be a rapper much closer to him that helped ELHAE realize his dream. After he heard a rap song that his choir buddy recorded in his home studio, ELHAE’s interests were piqued. “I went over to his house and recorded and I fell in love,” he says.
His first recording came at 14-years old, over instrumentals found on the internet. “We just recorded for weeks on end. It was so weird because, as a fan of music, it was unbelievable to me that was my voice coming through the speakers,” he says.
From there, ELHAE experimented blending hip-hop and R&B into a seamless sound. “People would tell me to pick one, but I never felt like I had to,” he says.
Once he developed his sound, ELHAE went on to record his own projects. His 2015 EP, AURA, is a soulful selection that samples Michael Jackson and draws inspiration from Usher, while simultaneously showcasing his songwriting and soothing voice.
AURA’s two stand out tracks “Drive Me Crazy” and “Halfway Love” have amassed over 2 million plays on SoundCloud. His latest single “Love A N****” is a cocky and confident ballad with traces of trap; and in less than a year has racked up well over 3 million spins on its own.
“I want to be considered one of the best at what I do and that’s what I’m aiming for,” he says. “I feel ilke I have the tools, intellect and talent to get there.”