My Dad and I are both music heads. So any artist he throws my way, or vice versa, our ears get in tuned and we add that artist to the rotation. Earlier this year my Dad mentioned a Canadian producer by the name of Elaquent. He started listening to this producer 4 years ago. When I first listened to Elaquent, his vibe reminded me of a cross between Flying Lotus meets J dilla, all warped into Elaquent’s own unique style. Jazz, meets experimental over soulful samples and hip hop beats. I can tell an Elaquent beat when I hear his off beat, double scratch flowing right back into the 4 beat count. So Far So Good describes this unique sound to a tee.
From his albums Oldies, The Scenic Route, Worst Case Scenario, to Persona, I’ve been listening to Elaquent ever since. Just recently, I partnered with Lexus as a Creative Director for a commercial featuring their 2018 Lexus GX SUV. The goal was to create a relateable moment that captures millennials like myself and also highlight the heart, the grit, of a local hood in Chicago, all while driving in style. I wanted a trendy audio overlay as the final touch to the commercial. I reached out to Elaquent to use Something Classic off his Celebrate Life! album and of course it added the cherry on top to a new found cool. Feel free to check out the commercial if you haven’t already below.
For those aspiring to become producers, in the music industry or like me, simply hold music dear to your heart, this is for you. Without further ado, meet Elaquent.
Who is Elaquent (Sona Elango)?
The son of two Cameroonian parents. Honestly, I'm just a regular ass dude from Guelph, Ontario (Canada), who loves making hip hop beats.
What makes you jump out of bed every morning?
The thought of making a difference in somebody’s life, whether through music, life, or otherwise. Carpe Diem, seize the day!
How do you define inspiration?
Inspiration can be anything that motivates you to create or to achieve your dreams. For me, inspiration can be found through some form of art. But can be anything from a good movie I watched, an interesting conversation I had, a quality sandwich lol, a view of the ocean, anything. If it motivates me to make music or simply to just be a better version of myself, then I consider it inspiration.
What is an accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?
Hard to pinpoint just one thing. Being told by some of the very people I hold in high regard, who inspired me to do what I do, being told my work is dope, has to be among the biggest accomplishment. I got into music, like most people, as a form of expression. But knowing that some of these guys I look up to are fans of mine is humbling. Having music in physical form (i.e. vinyl, cassettes) is big for me too.
How has music shaped your life?
It’s taught me a lot about myself and other people. Music plays such an integral part of my day, it’s hard to imagine a day where I don’t think about, sing along to or listen to music. That’s powerful.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
Would tell myself not to over think everything and just do what makes you happy. As much as I love music, it can lead to a lot of stress and worry and have you reconsidering who you are as an artist and as a person. I would definitely tell myself to remain patient.
Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?
My family are my role models. I have parents who were driven enough to come to Canada to live a better life. I have siblings who exude discipline and it inspires me to do the same, in my own way.
There's a lot of talented producers like yourself looking to spread their music to the masses. Any tips on how they can get their foot in the door?
I would tell everybody to be patient and take their time. Everybody wants to blow up and be big overnight without realizing it only happens to like 0.5% of us. Take the time to learn and master your craft, and if your songs don’t go viral, that doesn’t mean they are bad or that people aren’t listening. Social media really emphasizes validation, but you should never let that define your artistry.
If you could share with the world something interesting about yourself, what would it be?
I’ve never had a coffee before lol.
How do you overcome fear?
By facing it! Fear itself isn’t going to get tired of being fearful and you can't run away from it. Just stare your demons in the eye and face them. There's no other way to overcome it beyond that.
You're Canadian and from the African-diaspora. Living life through a double lens, how has culture impacted you?
It has given me an interesting perspective for sure, especially in the predominantly white surroundings I grew up in. There weren’t many people who could relate to my experience, which might have made me a little more guarded. But also, that experience prepared me for what was to come in the future. It certainly made me more socially conscious.
In what ways has travel positively impacted your life?
It’s everything! Nothing has taught me more about myself and what it means to live than going to new places and experiencing different cultures and walks of life. I don’t think its really possible to grow as a person remaining in one bubble forever. I always look forward to any opportunity to travel.
What does the phrase "Keep Shining" mean to you?
Getting to the top of the mountain is the easy part. Staying there is the real key. This phrase to me means to stay persistent, and when you do something good, keep doing it!
I am unapologetically authentic because...?
I’ve been who I am since the jump, and never changed my style or what I wanted to do in all these years.
With over 10 years in the game and over 20 releases, Sona Elango, better known as Elaquent has seen it all since his debut. Inspired by the likes of DJ Premier, J Dilla and Pete rock, the Guelph, Ontario producer has strived to make his own mark in the instrumental hip hop community, sampling everything from Patrice Rushen, to Sega Genesis games. Since his first release in 2008, a beat tape called "In Colour Vol. 1", Elaquent, has been making his mark on the independent beat scene compiling a deep discography of well received instrumental albums, as well as collaborative works with a number or rappers and singers. Producing a number of critically acclaimed releases, including “Good Karma” , “Worst Case Scenario”, and most recently, "Celebrate Life!", Elaquent's passion for creating vibe-out songs has also translated into live performances, as he has traveled around the world, playing for beat heads. With a number of upcoming collaborations and releases currently in the works, the prolific producer shows no signs of slowing down.
Photos by Ryan Antooa
Want to stay update with all things Elaquent? Check out below:
New EP Baker's Dozen Is Out Now!