Eli-Mac’s story reads like a fairytale– it’s a musical journey which has turned into an impressive career that took flight with the successful release of her hit five-song EP, entitled ‘Dubstop EP’ in 2014. The project was produced by JP Kennedy of The Green and Leslie Ludiazo of Hot Rain. A Filipino native who moved with her family to Hawaii as a youngster, Camile (Eli-Mac spelled backwards) Velasco was a rebel who combined island music with R&B and hip-hop.
Eli-Mac’s musical and fashion style comes from growing up in the ‘90s listening to Lauryn Hill, Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, and Erykah Badu along with hip-hop icons Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Tupac Shakur, and Mobb Deep. She shared her mom’s love of ‘70s disco and ‘80s Madonna, while her father turned her on to ‘60s classic rock and jazz from The Eagles and The Doors to Billie Holiday. At the young age of 18, Camile landed a spot on the hit TV show American Idol as a Top 10 finalist.
“I learned some hard lessons along the way, mostly what not to do,” says Eli-Mac, who proudly wore her red, yellow, and green Rasta wristband until the end to show her true colors. “I rarely look back on those times because there were so many growing pains. I’m thankful, though. It was my own boot camp. It gave me the confidence to do what I do today, which is ironic because that’s why I was kicked off the show – my lack of confidence.”
Eli-Mac continued on in the music industry, signing with several major and independent labels, such as Motown Records and indie hip-hop company Up Above Records.
She discovered her sound by combining her three favorite genres – roots reggae, hip-hop and R&B – creating the groundbreaking ‘Dubstop EP’ with subsequent dub-wise, rootsy records like “Can’t Get Enough,” “Roots Girl” and the most recent, “Résumé,” all produced by her current partner Louie Castle of noted San Diego-based reggae band Tribal Seeds.
By rebranding herself as Eli-Mac in 2014, Camile has been able to step outside herself – and the limitations put on her by others – to emerge as a flamboyant, sensual performer, not an alter ego, as she insists, but a truer version of her real self.
“Eli-Mac is an extension of who I really am,” she explains. “And that has allowed me the ultimate freedom to finally be myself without conforming to any of the stereotypes the industry imposes on women.”
Songs like the slinky “Mr Sensi,” featuring Conkarah, represent Eli-Mac’s unique urban island style and support for cannabis culture.
In 2008, Eli-Mac recorded a version of Bob Marley’s “Guava Jelly,” produced by his son Stephen Marley, at Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica, which earned her the Hawaii Music Awards’ Single of the Year. She has opened for iconic artists like Lauryn Hill, Sublime, Shaggy, Soja, J Boog and Common King, as well as appearances at the One Love Festival and Cali Roots.
As she sings in her upcoming track, Eli-Mac’s “Résumé” speaks for itself.
“I am proud to incorporate my upbringing in Hawaii into my music,” she says. “That culture remains important to me.”