Singer-songwriter Eli Lieb began his career recording covers on YouTube from his Fairfield, Iowa, hometown. Soon he was holding his own at open mic nights in New York City, then recording his own albums in Los Angeles, where he now lives, and writing for the likes of Adam Lambert and Cheyenne Jackson. His 2013 cover of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” went viral and led him to recording contracts.
Queerty asked the budding superstar to guide us through his own personal Los Angeles, starting out at the Aloft Hotel in El Segundo…
Hey Eli, thanks for joining us. What’s your perfect night out on the town?
A mellow evening with friends starts with live outdoor Jazz at LACMA, which is only on Friday nights from 6 to 8. You can sit outside, have drinks and listen to music. Because it ends early, it’s a perfect pre-dinner spot to head east to Osteria Mamma, an LA institution. Its an amazing family owned Italian restaurant. Even though every Hollywood big wig has been there, it doesn’t feel like a scene at all.
You could also start with a dinner at the swanky Sunset Tower in West Hollywood. You will see celebrities, so get your calm and collected hats on–best not to make a scene. After you’ve had multiple cocktails and a delicious dinner, head to Break Room 86 in Koreatown. It is an 80s themed club with dancing and Michael Jackson impersonators. Once you get in, the host escorts you to what seems like a back hallway with only a vending machine. The host opens the vending machine revealing the entrance. If you find that you still have energy to burn after you’ve sufficiently worked up a sweat and, since you are already in Koreatown, try Karaoke. There are a number of Karaoke joints in that area that have private rooms, so you and your friends can make fools of yourselves. And most likely you will if you’ve had a few cocktails, so sing to your heart’s content.
When you travel, what books/magazines are on you hotel bedside table?
If I was in LA or NYC, Paper Magazine. It really captures modern culture well, and shows deep insights into actors, musicians, the artistic world. There is a good chance you will read about something that you might want to see. Plus my friend runs it and I have been in it… so I’m a little biased :-)
What do you sing in the shower?
Oh man, probably songs that I’m writing. When I am in deep writing mode, songs never shut off. I will keep singing something over and over again to try and find the right line. Sometimes I find that when I can’t figure something out, the more I just sing, the more likely I am to have the perfect next line organically just fall out of my mouth. A lot of times if I come across a great line while in the shower, I immediately have to cut it short to get out and record it.
After long day of practicing and performing, what do you order from the Aloft W XYZ bar?
My drink of choice is Patron, soda, and a whole bunch of limes. Tequila is an upper and I find the better quality it is, the less the hangover. If the date is really about getting to know a guy, I will probably drink something like a dirty Martini or Whiskey straight up.
The scene is so integrated you really don’t have to be in just one area to experience it. Some people like to stay in their neighborhood because LA is spread out, but I don’t mind a few extra minutes in an Uber. In one night you could find me in Weho, Silverlake, and Downtown. They all offer totally different vibes and sometimes its fun to experience them together in a single night.
All-time favorite West Hollywood bar? Silver Lake? Downtown?
Bar 10 in Weho. TVs on the wall, and a pool table that’s always up for grabs, make it a great place to meet friends. Right smack in the middle of all the bars in Weho with a great outside area, it’s great for people watching. In Silverlake, Akbar is the place. This ‘hood is known for being artsy and more left of center and the Akbar crowd reflects that. It’s less about tank tops and flips flops than skinny jeans, white T-shirts and beanies. And in DTLA, there is Precinct. It feels the most New York of all the bars.
The Live At Aloft Hotel concert series features amazing performers. What up and coming artist would you want to catch in the W XYZ bar?
I recently worked with Noah Cyrus and am excited about her upcoming music career. She is super cool and has a killer voice.
What are your other fave music venues?
Hotel Cafe, intimate but everyone has played that room. Friends saw Adele there before anyone knew who she was. Another fun place is Pour Vous. They have musical acts and burlesque. In the center of the bar a cage lowers out of the ceiling to reveal a performer.
You’ve also worked with Adam Lambert and Cheyenne Jackson. Where do you hang out with them?
With Adam, it would probably be at Giorio’s, which is a really great club only open on Saturday nights. Its very small but tons of fun. They play disco music and everyone dances. But be warned, it is very difficult to get into. Cheyenne doesn’t drink, so we would probably meet at a place like Cafe Gratitude for a healthy meal. It’s organic and vegan.
For vegan, my personal favorite is Sage in Echo Park. Sage really makes delicious food that even a meat eater would enjoy. Blair’s in Silverlake is an intimate Italian restaurant that feels like a neighborhood restaurant filled with locals. My favorite Japanese place is Saito’s, also in Silverlake. Its a completely unassuming hole-in-the wall you would never notice unless someone pointed it out to you. There are like four tables. But it is the freshest sushi I have ever had and the chef, Saito, is always a joy to see.
What do you wear to the hotel pool and gym?
I am not a speedo person. For the pool, I just wear swim shorts. I don’t tend to wear gym outfits. Just shorts, T-shirt. The gym for me isn’t about showing off an outfit but just getting in shape and staying healthy.
Easton Gyn in West Hollywood. It has a small boutique vibe, you ou don’t feel like you are being looked at, and you get to know all the regulars.
Best travel bud?
My friend Leila. She and I have been friends since pre-school and we get each other. Traveling together is just fun exploration, rather than stressful or annoying.
Now that you are well known, do you use your real name when you book a hotel room?
Yep. Luckily I haven’t had any reason to not use it.
What’s your best running-into-a-fan in a hotel story?
Maybe it’s the person checking me in, or someone who helped with my bags, and at the end of our interactions, just telling me how much one of my songs touched or helped them. Recognition is always nice, but when people tell you how much something helped or affected them deeply, that’s the very best.
Check out the live, complementary, concert series from Aloft Hotels. Artists have included The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran, Green River Ordinance, and Better Than Ezra. For a complete and up-to-date list of all performances, visit LiveAtAloftHotels.com and join the conversation @AloftHotels using#AloftLive. Cost: Free
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