COMPLEX – 22-year-old Ansel Elgort has quietly been building a name for himself in the music realm for almost five years away from the spotlight of his acting career. He’s already seen success as on the big screen (gut-wrenching YA-novel turned blockbuster The Fault In Our Stars, the Divergent series), but a true vigor for music stems from a childhood of musical theater. His computer offers refuge during hours upon hours of downtime on set where he is able to hone his craft on his own terms.
It’s no secret that a built-in fan base has been beneficial, but Elgort is insistent that he wants to build his sound and position organically. His big screen reputation might bring fans to the table, but he aspires to make music that will make them stay. As Ansolo, he is quickly becoming a festival circuit staple, playing Electric Zoo twice and Ultra shows all over the world. However, it’s debut single, “Home Alone,” that could be the catalyst for everything that happens next.
We caught up with the native New Yorker, who is currently working in Los Angeles to discuss his debut single, upcoming collaborations, his spontaneous sessions with Jamie Foxx, and why he feels it’s urgent that he use his platform to speak about movements that matter.
You’re Just a few weeks off a tour where you played your new song, “Home Alone,” live for the first time. How was that?
It was really cool. I didn’t expect do that, but then I sort of it did it spur of the moment. I wanted to see how the vibe was going to be and get a feel for how the audience was going to respond since it was an electronic show and the song is more of a pop track. I put the track on and stepped out in front with the mic and walked towards the floor. Everything just felt right, and I got a huge reaction from the crowd which was awesome.
Your debut single as Ansel Eglort, “Home Alone,” dropped officially July 22. Were you nervous to sing on it
No, you know I always knew I was going to sing on it. When I wrote the record, it was a very personal song. I wrote all the lyrics and ended up putting the song together over a three-year period. Originally, it was going to be over a dance record, but that didn’t feel right. It felt kind of forced. So I thought, maybe I can just do production for it so that it makes it electronic and emotional. I’m really happy with the final product.
You’ve remixed a track for Alesso. Former Swedish House Mafia members Axwell and Ingrosso have played your music at their shows. How important has it been to cultivate relationships with other DJs?
I think it’s been really great. It all happened really organically. Maybe three years ago, the first person I ever met was Pierce Fulton, who is also a DJ. We moved in together in Williamsburg. We have a common language and both love music. Of course, it was definitely nice to have the support. I’ve actually never met Axwell and Ingrosso though. They just played my record because they liked it. That’s what I really want. I don’t ever want… I never want anything to be unfair, you know?
Will you collaborate with any DJs in the future?
Yeah, totally. Martin [Garrix] and I, when we were in Korea together recently, we rode to the airport together and played each other a lot of music and had the idea of doing a record together that I would sing on. So, we’re definitely going to do something.
Your Instagram is peppered with pictures with pop stars like Justin Bieber, Charli XCX, and Halsey. Any chance you would recruit a singer or rapper to jump on one of your tracks?
Yeah, definitely. I’m already working on a record right now with Logic that I wrote and produced. Logic is going to do a verse on it. I’m really excited for that.