MY SONG, MY BEAT: I don’t really want to be compared to anyone, says 18-year-old Elyar Fox.
By Geoffrey Rowlands
A karaoke wannabe. This is how some observers have unkindly described Elyar Fox.
The London-born singer, musician and songwriter is the latest YouTube sensation to find success on the UK pop scene. Promoted as the new Justin Bieber, his debut single, Do It All Over Again, has shot straight to number five.
“I’m really happy to have such a big hit,” smiled 18-year-old Elyar, real name Elyar Afshari. “I’m not overly happy with the Justin Bieber comparisons but I accept they are going to happen.
“In some ways, I guess it’s good to be mentioned in the same breath as someone who is so successful. But I don’t really want to be compared to anyone. I’m making the kind of music I want to make and just basically doing my own thing.”
Elyar began making his music at the age of nine.
“My mum bought me a cheap guitar from Argos. That was all I needed. I taught myself to play and began writing songs as soon as I’d mastered the basics. It’s a bit embarrassing to look back now at my first efforts at songwriting. I was at the age when I’d began taking an interest in girls and that was all I wrote about.”
Elyar formed the band Just Me Again with two of his schoolfriends. They played their first “proper concert” in August, 2009.
“We actually did okay. We supported You Me At Six on their British concert tour and I’ll never forget performing at the O2 Arena in London. We were a pop punk band. That was no surprise because my favourite artists were Good Charlotte, Nirvana, Avril Lavigne and Eminem so enjoyment of their work influenced my songwriting.
“Over time though, the type of songs I wrote gradually evolved away from pop punk. I felt I was improving as a songwriter but my new songs were not right for the band. Being in Just Me Again was fantastic fun but I thought the best way for me to move forward was to become a solo artist so the band broke up early in 2012.”
So began Elyar’s time as a YouTube star. He launched his eldoode channel with a cover of Adele’s Someone Like You, followed up with his cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and notched up two million views in less than a month.
“Covering highly popular songs is a great way to get noticed. Your version is included in the YouTube search results when someone looks for the song. If enough people check out your cover and tell their friends then you suddenly have a lot of views. This makes news and attracts the attention of the music industry.”
His cover of Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend gained four million hits. Offers flooded in from managers wanting Elyar to become part of a boy band and record labels interested in signing him to a solo contract.
“I was never going to join a boy band but I ended up picking the wrong record deal. I signed with Polydor and spent a year in the studio working on my songs. This was great because it helped me to develop so much as a writer. But Polydor weren’t interested in releasing anything even though I thought I was ready to go.
“We reached a mutual agreement that I should leave the label last summer. I signed with RCA Records almost immediately and everything from there has been geared towards the release of Do It All Over Again.”
Another single should follow his current hit before Elyar’s debut album is released.
“Most of the songs on my album come from that year in the studio. I’d like to become more established and continue building my fanbase of ‘Foxers’ before the album is issued.
“Everything is really hectic at the moment with all kinds of promotional work. But this is what I’ve wanted since I was a kid and I’m loving every minute.”
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