With Butch Dawson

Songbyrd and LiveNation Present
Downstairs, All Ages

DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM

$10 / $12



Songbyrd and LiveNation Present

Thursday January 31, 2019


Singer and songwriter Elley Duhé grew up on the nation’s Gulf Coast, shuttling the 45 minutes between the small coastal towns of Vancleave, Mississippi, and Dauphin Island, Alabama. She remembers languid summers by the ocean, eating heaps of fresh seafood, and listening to the classic rock, blues, and jazz musicians who came through from nearby New Orleans. Raised in an extended musical family, Duhé also recalls jam sessions with her uncles and father, who got her her first guitar when she was 14. “There’d be one uncle on bass, another on drums, my dad playing guitar, and the rest of us singing and dancing into the night,” she says.

But growing up in a small town had it drawbacks. “I was a bit of an oddball,” Duhé says. “I wasn't a gymnast or a cheerleader. I was into acting and music and those passions weren’t really supported by my teachers the way academics or athletics were. I had weight issues and wasn’t attractive, so I got bullied. Kids at a certain age can be pretty cruel because they don’t understand how their behavior can affect someone. My dad always told me not to give a shit, so I tried to block it out. Music helped me do that. After playing guitar for six months, I felt like I was actually being seen and heard for the first time — that I wasn’t invisible and that I had a voice. Writing songs and singing made me feel like I had worth and value.”

Duhé began her career at 15 singing in coffee shops, then graduated to paying gigs in bars, restaurants, and at private parties, eventually parlaying the exposure into opening for national acts and hooking up with songwriters in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Austin, where, after dropping out of high school and getting her GED, she spent three years honing her craft. “I got a lot of conflicting advice on what to do with my sound,” she says. “Some people said I should do hip-hop records, others said I should do straight-down-the-line pop. I lost confidence that I could fully create my own work without having anyone else’s input and I became very insecure.”

Duhé parted ways with the team she had been working with and was forced to return to Dauphin Island broke and jobless. “I was just like, ‘Am I going to go back to playing in bars for money, sneaking in my own songs in between all these covers?’ I was so over it because I had done it throughout my teenage years. So I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not really getting anywhere. I decided that I was going to try to believe in myself again and completely start over.”

Duhé has channeled her feelings about her struggles into her songwriting, attracting 3.6 million Spotify plays for her debut single “immortal,” which VIBE has described as “an electric, hip-hop influenced track that tells a story of empowerment” and calling out its “captivating melodies that will give you goosebumps.” “I was at rock bottom when I wrote that song,” Duhé says. “I was in a hotel room in Atlanta. I had just driven six hours to meet J. Hill, who is now my manager and one of my producers, and I had this determination, after being kicked down, to get back up and make music again despite everything I’d been through in the past couple of years. There's a certain point where you start to think you're crazy, like, ‘What are you doing? Are you chasing a pipe dream?’ So “immortal” is about being resilient and persevering. It was my way of saying, “I’m not finished yet. I’m going to keep pushing for a better life through music.’”