Interview with Scottish Singer and Guitarist Eilidh McKellar

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Meet Eilidh McKellar, a 19 year old singer and guitarist from Edinburgh, Scotland that has been described by Bob Harris, Whispers, of the BBC Radio One as “Cool as a cucumber, Eilidh plays like a seasoned veteran, just quiet confidence and genuine virtuosity.”  McKellar has released two tracks off of her upcoming album Delta Devil Dreams, due out later this year, with Grammy award winning producer Guy Eckstine after he discovered her on YouTube.  She has had the honor of gracing the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo with the legendary Joe Bonamassa…at his request!

Her guitar skills and soft, sultry voice defy her age and will immediately draw you in to her music. On her single “Summer Daze,” Guitar World says, “McKellar serves up an interesting blend of indie rock and pop with a nod toward British and American blues.”

McKeller shared with us how she met Joe Bonamassa, working with Guy Eckstine, her guitars, her beginnings and more.

GGM:  You recently joined the PRS family of endorsed artists. Congratulations! Can you tell us about your new PRS guitar?

EM:  Thanks! It’s great to part of the PRS family and such a legendary company. My new guitar is the Starla, from the S2 series. It plays like a dream! Such a versatile guitar. It has such a rich and full tone on the humbucker pickups, but allows for a great middle cut when pulling the tone control for the coil splitting feature. My Starla has a great vintage look with a Bigsby Tailpiece in antique white. It suits me perfectly. I play through a PRS SE50 amplifier, too.

GGM:  In your YouTube videos, it appears you have quite a nice collection of guitars. Can you tell us about your guitars and gear?

EM:  Yes, I have my Fender American Deluxe Telecaster, which I have had for eight years now, and my Traditional Gibson Les Paul, both have a three colour sunburst and rosewood finger board. Last March when I recorded my debut album, Delta Devil Dreams, the Beverly Hills Gibson Showroom kindly lent me a Gibson SG and an Epiphone double neck, which was badass! Although I would say that my PRS Starla is my main guitar at the moment.

GGM:  You’ve been invited to jam on stage several times with the legendary Joe Bonamassa. What an honor! How did Joe discover you and what was your reaction when he invited you to perform on stage with him?

EM:  Yes, it was such an honour, especially from someone who I admire so much. I received an email from Joe back in 2011. I was in complete shock. He asked me if I wanted to come jam on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo in London with him. His dad had shown him a video of me on YouTube covering his track “Blues Deluxe.” It was an amazing experience and since then Joe has invited me to perform with him on two other occasions.

GGM:  It’s great to have Bonamassa as a mentor. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned from him?

EM:  It’s amazing to have his support and he has taught me so much. I think the best advice he has ever given me has been to never settle, keep on striving for the best and to work your ass off!

GGM:  Your single “Summer Daze” came out last Fall. When will you be releasing your debut album Delta Devil Dreams?

EM:  Yes, my debut single “Summer Daze” came out last fall, along with the official music video. Next was the release of the second single off my album “Hold Steady” with its official music video that was released early March. Delta Devil Dreams should be released in the late summer this year. We plan to release a couple more tracks from the album and tour extensively on the run up.

GGM:  You worked with Grammy award winner Guy Eckstine on Delta Devil Dreams. What can we expect to hear on the album and what was the inspiration behind your music?

EM: Yes, Guy’s amazing! He is my manager, producer and even played drums on my album. It’s incredible to work with someone of his caliber. You can expect to hear a 14-track indie rock record that rocks hard with edgy guitars and melodic soulful vocals. I took inspiration from the trials and tribulations I have faced over the years. I wanted to write a rock record with soul. I really hope everyone likes it!

GGM:  How old were you when you started playing guitar and why did you choose to play guitar versus any other instrument?

EM:  I began playing the guitar when I was nine years old. For some reason I had always wanted to play the guitar, even before then I would pester my parents for guitar lessons. I guess I just thought the guitar was cool having seen it played on TV and I loved the overdriven crunch of the guitar in rock music.

GGM:  Did you take lessons?

EM:  Yes, I did. I started lessons when I was nine years old. I think it’s always good to understand the guitar, to have a good base to build your knowledge from. I have had a few teachers over the years, I have had years with no guitar lessons. I would, however, say that I am self-taught, also; my sound, style and technique I have all developed at home on my own listening to music and jamming.

GGM:  You were heavily influenced by the blues at an early age. What was it that drew you to the blues and what artists did you listen to in those early years?

EM:  I was drawn to the blues through my Dad’s Rolling Stones records and then I discovered the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, BB King and Muddy Waters. I then started to listen to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and a lot of rock music. Nowadays I listen to everything, from blues to prog and even house music and pop. It’s always good to listen to a broad range of music, never be close minded.

GGM:  Being part of the Edinburgh Schools Rock Ensemble while in high school helped in developing your skills as a musician. Can you share with us that experience?

EM:  Being part of the Edinburgh Schools Rock Ensemble was such a great experience! It taught me so much. I joined the band when I was 12 years old, I met so many talented musicians, played in 2000+ capacity venues, and toured the UK. It was awesome!

GGM:  You’re heading out on tour around the UK. Any chance you’ll make it to the States? 

EM:  Yes, I’m currently touring in the UK. I have played dates in London, Manchester, Leeds and performed live on BBC Radio London. Next up I will be heading back to London on the 8th of March for a gig at Proud Camden and then hitting up Leeds, Sheffield and Edinburgh. It’s my dream to tour the States, so hopefully I can make it over the pond soon!

GGM:  Well, we sure hope so! Now for a few fun questions!

Five Fun Facts About Elidiah McKeller

First concert I ever attended was:  B*Witched, I was five years old though, ha ha!

Top 3 songs on my playlist:

“Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin
“New York, New York” by Ryan Adams
“Tumbling Dice” by The Rolling Stones

My favorite past time is:  Playing music, while drinking coffee…if that’s allowed?

My favorite song to perform is:  “Until The Sun Comes Up.” It’s probably the heaving track off my album and the slide solo jam outro always catches the audience by surprise.

In one word, music to me is:  Expression.

For more Eilidh McKellar, visit her site HERE.

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