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Life & Work with Elle. Morris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elle. Morris.

Hi Elle., thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’m a part of a hip-hop collective, ILL DOOTS, founded in 2009 while at college. We have since maintained a strong creative relationship while separately living across the US. Last year, we released two albums(The Mess, Age). Due to the pandemic and all of us living in different parts of the world, we couldn’t celebrate in person, yet we made a virtual festival for both albums and celebrated New Year’s Eve. It provided some sustenance for our need for some kind of normalcy. Typically, we’d be creating commissioned music and theatre pieces or facilitating a songwriting workshop. It had been over two years since my last music directing job, and I felt a longing for black storytelling through musicals. New Year’s Day, I found myself in a room on the Clubhouse app, where a group of friends were planning to do a production of Dreamgirls and needed a music director. I sent my resume and the rest was history in the making. You could not tell me this opportunity wasn’t divined. I literally asked for this. The show was in celebration of Black History Month and was mounted by an incredible team that included Sydney “Chi Chi” Connors and Brandon Patterson as Executive Producers and Directors, Casting/Artistic Director, Leroy Church, Director of Communications, Amanda Uzo, and Ed McRae as Assistant Music Director /Sound Engineer.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Everything I thought I knew as a vocal producer/music director was being challenged. I’ve done musical productions before, but it was nothing like this. Essentially, this was a live radio production like they used to do back in the day. Except, you had FOUR casts who lived in all the time zones. Almost all the songs needed multiple vocalists singing at the same time and we had to figure out how we could pull it off. I ended up spending so many late nights recording references because I still had an at-home day job. The casts had to rehearse, record, and return their tracks while learning their lines, getting to know and grow their roles, and marking their cues for the show. And by the way, they ALL ran their own sound! It was ambitious, yet adventurous.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Because of my love for harmony and vocal production, I’ve made a career of vocal producing and arranging for many artists all over the country and overseas. I began to pursue music professionally at 14 when I decided to study vocal music and performance at Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Washington, D.C.). I later received my Bachelors of Music at The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). For me, singing is literally my first mode of communication due to my speech disorder as a child. Growing up with this kind of experience allows me to connect with music in a way that’s deep, colorful, and sometimes nerdy.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Folks can contact me for vocal production needs, vocal arrangement, or music direction. To support, stream our albums, buy our music, and drip yourselves in our merch!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Dakota, Kate Raines

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