It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since Eli Lieb earned a permanent spot on our playlists with his 2013 power-pop single, “Young Love.”
The openly gay singer-songwriter, 34, has kept a high profile since then, connecting with his fans on YouTube, Twitter and other social media outlets. His cover of the Miley Cyrus smash “Wrecking Ball” nearly broke the Internet after winning raves from “Pretty Little Liars” star Lucy Hale and Adam Lambert.
Lieb, who currently resides in Los Angeles, has been clocking in studio time with writer-producer John Feldmann (5 Seconds of Summer, Panic! At the Disco). This month, Lieb released the video for his new single, “Zeppelin,” a month after "Safe In My Hands," which he co-wrote, was used as the soundtrack for Allstate Insurance’s LGBT Pride Month campaign of the same name. But that’s not all: Lieb says a full-length sophomore album is in the works, while he's got a second video prepped "sooner rather than later."
Lieb took time out from his busy schedule to speak to The Huffington Post about "Zeppelin," a possible Adam Lambert collaboration and being an openly gay artist.
The Huffington Post: Congratulations on your new video, “Zeppelin.” Can we look forward to a new album soon?
Eli Lieb: Yes. Right now I’m recording with John Feldmann. I feel super fortunate to have hooked up with him because he’s really awesome. We’ve done a handful of songs already, and we’re just moving forward. I’m really excited with the songs that we’ve done.
I write pop songs; that’s really where my strength is. “Zeppelin” is a straight-down-the-middle, pop-rock song, and some of them get a little more indie sounding. It’s a good mixture of pop and that. I act really quickly, so I would like it to be ready sooner rather than later.
How would you say your sexuality affects your work as an artist and a musician?
It doesn’t impact my work as an artist at all. The only moment when it does is when it comes time to film a video, I’m like, “Oh! I have to have a guy in this, because it’s a love song and that’s accurate to my life.”
But when I actually write music … the creative process has nothing to do with my sexuality other than the fact that I can get entangled with people in the same way that anybody can get entangled with a person. When I think of myself, my sexuality isn’t the defining part of who I am as a musician. I haven’t written about the struggles of being gay because I’ve personally never felt that.
You’ve been frequently compared to Steve Grand (“All-American Boy”), who is similarly open about his sexuality and has used social media to promote his music. How do you feel about that comparison?
I don’t have any problem with it, [but] the only reason there’s any comparison is the sexuality thing. I think you can find a lot of artists who are indie and are working with fan engagement on social media and going about their careers that way. It’s an interesting thing, in this day and age, that our sexuality is the most talked-about thing. In terms of the music we make, I think that we fall into very different categories, but I definitely understand the comparison.
Given that you’re known as well in some circles for your cover tunes as you are for your original music, how important is it for you to establish your own identity as an artist?
It’s really important. I’ve been writing and performing for a very, very long time. It wasn’t until far into my journey that I started covering songs.
[Covering songs] is, honestly, the best way to get noticed. Now, I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve built up a big enough fan base so that my original songs actually do better than my covers.
You penned a new song for Allstate Insurance’s gay-inclusive “Safe In My Hands” campaign for LGBT Pride Month. What was your take on the final commercial?
It was a really amazing collaboration, and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it. Never in my life did I think that I would become a cartoon! I didn’t ever expect to be a part of social change and be a voice of many, so being involved in something like this that will get a lot of attention and will help people is really incredible to me.
There have been rumors you’re collaborating with Adam Lambert. Any truth to that?
Yeah! I don’t know what I can really say, but we’ve definitely had some studio time together. Adam is, honestly, one of the most genuine people I’ve met in my whole time being in L.A. He’s just a rare person. He is so talented, but as a person, he’s very kind, generous, humble and down-to-earth.
Finally, what's in store for Eli Lieb for the remainder of 2014?
I definitely have another music video coming out … sooner rather than later. It’s another song I’ve done with John Feldmann, and this one I’m extremely excited about. The video and content are going to be very different than anything I’ve done before.
This interview has been edited for length.