• August 2016

Where Can Music Take You?

Confucius said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

And really, who doesn’t like music? It triggers memories, calms your nerves, changes your mood, and scientists suggest that music can make you smarter. What’s more, upward of 28 million people in the United States play an instrument, according to statista.com — and odds are good that many of them have dreams of performing in front of a crowd.

So, fess up. If you’ve ever wanted to be a rock star, raise your hand.

Eli Lieb raised both arms when we asked our August 2016 cover boy about his journey to music stardom.

“Defying all the odds of being an independent musician has been tough,” he admits. “You’re basically told that you will never make it. To believe in yourself and not listen to anyone else’s opinion can be very challenging. You really have to be resourceful and figure out how to compete on a shoestring budget with people who have millions backing them. But this challenge can also be greatly satisfying if you actually do start to achieve significant success.”

Scroll down for more information about Lieb. And click here to read our Q&A with the rising pop star.

Also in this issue:

We leave you with this parting thought from Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Here’s to making beautiful music! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine • founder, Inkandescent Public Relations • hope@inkandescentpr.com

Eli Lieb: The Making of a Musician

Eli Lieb is an American pop singer and songwriter. Hailing from Fairfield, Iowa, he began his musical journey in New York City, where he started working on his songwriting and performing.

Lieb released a debut solo album in 2011 and was soon featured in US Weekly, Out, and other national publications.

When his father died in 2012, Lieb took a sabbatical and returned to Iowa. During this time of reflection and regrouping, Lieb began recording covers of songs that were popular and meaningful to him and releasing them on YouTube, where the videos soon picked up a natural, organic following.

With a growing fan base, Lieb once again turned to his own songwriting. In 2013, he went to Los Angeles to work with other writers for few weeks and further his career. The weeks-long trip turned into a relocation.

Since then, he has collaborated with artists, writers, and producers, including Adam Lambert, Cheyenne Jackson, Hey Violet, Laura Marano, Forever In Your Mind, John Feldmann, Simon Wilcox, Crystal Bowersox, and Stacy Jones. He was even featured in the 2014 Grammy Awards during the presentation of nominees for Best Pop Vocal Album.

In July 2013, Lieb released his original song “Young Love.” Music blog Idolator called it “an instantly catchy, uplifting pop/rock anthem that sounds like a cross between Katy Perry and Bruce Springsteen.”

The song’s theme was a bit of an autobiographical story of a young man coming out as gay. The song and the video struck a chord with many people, thanks to its instantly catchy pop hook and the message of being proud of who you are. Within a year, Lieb’s “Young Love” garnered more than 2 million YouTube views.

Later that same year, Lieb was inspired to record a cover of Wrecking Ball after hearing it only once. He recorded an acoustic version with just his voice and a lap dulcimer. Within two hours of posting it online, it went viral and was promoted in social media by singers Lambert and Lucy Hale, and celebrities Rosie O’Donnell and Bob Harper. Lieb once again received immediate press support, appearing on CBS’ “The Insider” (formerly “omg! Insider”) twice, YouTube’s “What’s Trending,” and other shows. Lieb’s cover of “Wrecking Ball” reached a million views in under a week, and in less than a year, the video had been viewed more than 3 million times.

When Lieb was approached by the Leo Burnett advertising agency to write an original song for Allstate Insurance’s #OutHoldingHands campaign, he wrote a song called “Safe in My Hands” that accompanies an animated short film of the same name. Released in June 2014, the song and a dance remix are both available on allstate.com/lgbt. The feeling and message of the song got the attention of the producers of ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” where it was featured as the closing song for the second season finale.

With more than 30 million YouTube views, and verified status on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, his personal interaction and presence as an independent artist keep him moving forward.

Click here to read our Q&A with Eli Lieb.

What Does It Take to Be a Rising Pop Star?

Be Inkandescent magazine asks a dozen questions of musical phenomenon Eli Lieb. Enjoy! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent, 2016


Be Inkandescent: Tell us about the first moment you remember knowing that you wanted to be a musician.

Eli Lieb: I remember when I was 16, I picked up my brother’s guitar, sat on my bedroom floor, and taught myself how to play. As quickly as I learned guitar, I started writing songs.

Be Inkandescent: Did you think you’d make it as a professional?

Eli Lieb: Actually, yes. I have such a deep connection to music that I knew it was going to be the thing I would do for a living. I’ve never had a “plan B.”

Be Inkandescent: What was the moment when you knew you had “made it”?

Eli Lieb: Well, I don’t really know if you ever have those moments. For me it’s been such a gradual incline over the years that I don’t really think I can pinpoint a specific moment. It’s been a series of great moments that keep on allowing me to do what i do.

Be Inkandescent: What do you consider your greatest success to date?

Eli Lieb: I honestly think it’s seeing how much I have helped people in their lives. I have always been very open about who I am, and I think that has given a lot of people the strength to do the same. It’s a part of my career that I never saw coming, but has been the most gratifying.

Be Inkandescent: What have some of your biggest challenges been?

Eli Lieb: Defying all the odds of being an independent musician. You’re basically told that you will never make it. So to believe in yourself and not listen to people’s opinions can be very challenging. And in general, being independent is much more of a challenge. You don’t have the resources or money that a major company has and can offer. You really have to be resourceful and figure out how to compete on a shoestring budget with people who have millions backing them. But this challenge can also be greatly satisfying if you actually do start to achieve significant success.

Be Inkandescent: Much of your work is in the LGBT community. Tell us about that passion, and some of your big successes in this area.

Eli Lieb: I wouldn’t as much call it a passion as it is just who I am. I have always been a very big advocate for living your life as authentically as you can and never being afraid of who you are. I feel fortunate that I have created a big enough platform to be able to affect the LGBT community in that way. I’ve never shied away from my sexuality, and I’m glad that makes others feel more confident with theirs. I’d say my biggest success on the LGBT side of things would have to be my campaign with Allstate Insurance. They approached me about teaming up for a campaign showing their support to the LGBT community. I wrote a song for the commercial and was also in it. So, I became the face and voice of that campaign.

Be Inkandescent: You also were approached by the Leo Burnett advertising agency to write an original song for Allstate Insurance’s #OutHoldingHands campaign. You wrote a song called “Safe in My Hands” that accompanies an animated short film of the same name that was released in June 2014. Tell us about that experience.

Eli Lieb: Funny, I didn’t know the next question was about Allstate! It was a great experience. Allstate really knew what they wanted and I’m glad I was able to give them that. It was wonderful being a part of an LGBT campaign on such a big platform. We spent quite a lot of time developing it to get it to the place where it really was a manifestation of their initial idea.

Be Inkandescent: What would you advise young kids to do if they aspire to grow up to become professional musicians?

Eli Lieb: Always, always be authentic and never create something only to be the way you think someone else wants it. All great pieces of art always come from a place of authenticity, where you are making it because you love creating, not because you are trying to please someone.

Be Inkandescent: What suggestions do you have for teens and adults who are hoping to break into the music business?

Eli Lieb: I think you really need to understand that you are going to have to be as much a businessperson as you are a musician. I can’t stress enough how important understanding that is. There are so many talented musicians in the world trying to make it, but a lot fewer who really understand how smart you have to be about it all and really look at yourself as a business.

Be Inkandescent: Who is your role model in the music industry?

Eli Lieb: Honestly, it was a friend of mine who has become a very successful writer. I continue to learn so much from her. She has really helped me understand so much about songwriting that I never understood before.

Be Inkandescent: You also have been meditating for much of your life and, in fact, worked with the David Lynch Foundation to promote the Transcendental Meditation (TM for short) movement. Tell us about this practice, and what it does to help keep you centered and grounded.

Eli Lieb: I’ve been doing TM since since I was 5 years old. Was born into it, but that’s usually around the youngest age they teach you. It’s really the backbone of who I am and how I live my life. It just connects you deeper to yourself and makes you have a better understanding of the things that really matter. It has helped with my creative life, my personal life, everything.

Be Inkandescent: What are your big dreams and goals for the future?

Eli Lieb: My main goal is just always to be able to create and sustain a happy existence. I’m truly not doing this for fame or praise. I just want to be happy and fulfilled.

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Passion makes perfect.”

– Eugene Biro

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”

– Robert H. Schuller

You’ve got to be willing to crash and burn. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

– Steve Jobs

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

– Gandi

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

Part of your destiny is to live in the zone of maximum satisfaction.”

– Martha Beck

Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”

– Martha Beck

He who wants to tear down a house must be prepared to rebuild it.”

– African Proverb

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

– Audre Lorde

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

– Audre Lorde

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”

– Cecil B. DeMille

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity 
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

– Indira Ghandi

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”

– Andrew Carnegie

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

‎No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

– Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

– Anna Quindlen

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field frozen with snow.”

– Langston Hughes

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.”

– Carlos Castaneda

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

– Charles R. Swindoll

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

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