“My autism gives me creative hyperfocus when it kicks in”
BY SAM GRIERSON, IMAGE BY ELLIOT LEE
I catch up with Elliot Lee in Brooklyn, to discuss their single Airplanes featuring the artist Letdown. Elliot is an explosion of colour and vibrant energy and tells me that they have “always been afraid of things, which they use humour to cope with”. Airplanes acknowledges this, poking fun at themselves and their “fear of failure and fear of taking up too much space”.
Elliot still flies a lot despite this phobia. I ask what brought this on and they say that after they watched a documentary on 9/11 it took hold. Now, even slight turbulence on board gives them a “fear of falling”. They work hard to face their fears which can often be debilitating. We discuss Elliott’s diagnoses of autism and ADHD that they received at 24: “once I was diagnosed it was very validating. I have to be very productive to hit the deadlines, which is challenging with ADHD but more and more I allow myself to be me”, they state. I ask about the autism side of the diagnosis, on which Elliot says “Autism gives me creative hyperfocus when it kicks in, but I don’t get to choose when it will”.
Before harnessing their musical talents, Elliot was a premedical student. They left to busk and perform at small cafes and open mic nights. It was at one of these events that they met producers who quickly became mentors, helping them to develop their work. “My music is for people who feel alone. You are not alone. We all fit together as a community”, Elliot reveals.
After releasing tracks Airplanes and Mess Boy, I ask about a possible album. Elliott says: “I’m not focusing so much on doing an album as such. I like to work with my ADHD and just do my thing”. UK readers: you’re in for a treat, as Elliot hopes to tour here soon. To keep up with them, follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
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