Music meets business with Elan Lea
Music and business are equal partners in Elan Lea’s life. “I’m a businessman with a sideline career which is music,” he says.
The 33-year-old Victory Park, Johannesburg singer/songwriter has just released a single, “In the Hands of the Gods”, his first in many years, which is making waves.
“I gave up music for a time to concentrate on launching my new business and now that it’s up and running, I have returned to my first passion which is music. I have even built a studio in my office.”
Though still young, Lea has enjoyed a varied career which involved playing soccer in England for Ipswich Town (“not the first team”), learning about music overseas from the experts, including his mentor the late Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, and writing and performing.
“We probably wrote Robin’s last song before he passed away,” he recalls.
In London he also hooked up with celebrated DJ Tiesto who put one of Lea’s tracks on his album. “It was a massive thing for me,” he says.
Lea admits that his father Roni, a part-time musician, influenced him in his formative years. “He is the ultimate entertainer,” the young Lea says with pride.
Lea has been making music since the age of 17 and a highlight over the past 16 years was performing at a concert at Stoke-on-Trent, in England, in 2010, which featured Craig David. “I was the first act, a wild card, and though I only sang a couple of songs with my band, it was a great experience.
“I eventually got to a point in London when it was enough. There are so many hard knocks in this industry and it chips away at the passion. I don’t have to do music as a necessity. I do it because I love it.”
He returned to South Africa and realising that music could not sustain him, he enrolled at Unisa for a business course which helped him when he launched Big World Mobile six months ago with business partner George Titan. George, incidentally, also happens to be his kung fu training partner.
Talking about his South African experiences, Lea says his musical aspirations were realised when he signed a deal with the David Gresham Record Company which released his first song, “Hold Me In Your Arms”. He recalls: “The track was a hit and was played everywhere and all the time. I even went to the South African Music Awards (SAMA), not realising at the time how big a deal it was.”
Giving some background to “In the Hands of the Gods”, Lea says it came about after his intense learning experiences with Robin Gibb.
“After losing Robin and then linking up with DJ Tiesto, I realised that you’ve got to do the best you can and then it’s in the hands of the gods. Who can say what might have happened if my song hadn’t been on the Tiesto record or if Robin had met someone else and taken them under his wing instead of me?
“I just happened to be there. It’s fate. It’s in the hands of the gods. This song was written with all that in mind and I felt deeply about the subject.”