www.ambiente.us  JUNE | JUNIO 2009

The Stuff of Dreams | Quentin Elias| Interview
by JC Alvarez.
photos by Carlos Arias


From looking at him, you wouldn't imagine that Quentin Elias is quite shy, but he is in
fact easily embarrassed and is quite humble.  There is that twinkle in his eye that does
reveal he has no doubt how attractive this naiveté approach works for him and the
affect it has on others.  Make no mistake -- Quentin is incredibly charming...and he
knows it!  But it is quite a thrill to watch and make him blush from time to time.

The impressively figured, muscle-bound pop sensation has been performing on the
world stage since his teens.  Elias made an impression on the Euro-pop scene as a
member of the boy band Alliage.  “When I went to the audition, I never thought that I
would make it (into the band); I didn't have any professional pictures...no demo -- I was
poor!  But I’m here!  What more do you want!”  To his surprise: “They called me right
away and asked me to come in for a photo shoot to see if I fit in with the other guys --
they wanted someone with a particular Middle-Eastern look.  Each member had a
different look and they wanted ‘my look’.”
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Their success synched him teen-heartthrob status -- so the late 90’s were filled with
countless club appearances and promotions that put him center stage in front of an
adoring audience of screaming teenage girls who worshipped him to no end!  After 2
albums, Alliage garnered 6 Top 5 singles for the band and they easily matched other
notable international entertainers of the time, but Quentin swiftly begun to come to the
realization that this just wasn't enough.

“Before I knew it -- I was a big star!  My life shifted -- from nothing to everything!”  There
were the hit singles, touring and the adulation of fans...it still didn't feel like the right fit
for Quentin and in 2000 he decided to leave Alliage.  “Me...I was looking for more.”  
Even working within the dynamic of the group, Elias always envisioned that there were
other markets to tap, another audience that he could reach.  “I would often times
suggest that we work on remix tracks for some of our songs, or perform a different
version from the album, to give something different to our fans -- but they just didn't get
it.”  “What did we need that for?” the band would say.  Arguably, Elias stood out as the
more ambition among his band mates.

He wanted to flex his appeal and talent into a totally different direction.  Like all greatly
ambitious talents who find themselves growing out of their “boy band jeans”, Elias
was started to shop in another department -- he was beginning to fill out his jeans,
and the ones he was wearing were just getting too tight!  He had set his sights on a
solo career.

It wasn't arrogance that motivated Elias, it was a palpable
desire to perform and sweat his taught physique at the center
of the spotlight -- it is where he looks the best.

But to understand Quentin Elias’ drive and desire to achieve you have to first realize
where his inspiration came from and how he found his passion.  He was born in
Marseille in the South of France.  His mother worked deliberately and sacrificed to no
end to provide for Quentin and his older sister.  It was particularly important to her that
her children participate in activities that
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various places and allowed what is presently inspiring him to reveal itself in his music --
as evidenced in his early hits like “Fever” and “Kama Sutra”, both very dark, bass-heavy
tracks.  “I don’t have a particular style -- I've worked on music that is very urban...very
New York -- but lately, I've been working on stuff, like ‘Shattered Dreams’ that is very
heavy pop.”  “Shattered Dreams”, his latest single, is a remake of the 1987 hit from the
band Johnny Hates Jazz.  Elias admits that he decided to cover the song because it
spoke to him -- “it’s a very vivid memory.” he admits with a smile and a chuckle.

“I went from doing some really ‘big stuff’ overseas to some ‘little
things’ here.  Everything that I do here in America is more
meaningful to me -- people believe in you here...they believe in
your talent.”  And no doubt gravitate to Quentin’s undeniable
marketability.
 

There’s no denying that Elias is as easy on the eyes, as he is on the ears and when he
starts to bump and grind, he becomes quite tempting to the hips and thighs and every
other part of you!  The man is rapturously desirable...yet still maintains an endearing
and accessible quality.  It’s in his sheepish grin, but don’t complement him on it --
he’ll
just blush
.  

Which is in such contrast to how frank he is in discussing sex and sexual attitudes.  
Elias doesn't understand the American puritan view on sex.  “It’s amazing that the
country that produces the most porn in the world, feels that sex is a taboo -- everyday
people have sex at least once a day.  We’re here on this planet, because of sex!”  And
thus the inspiration for his next album project which he has chosen to call “Love
Confusion”.  Quentin promises that the album will explore all aspects of love, sex and
relationships.  “Sex is easy...but having a connection...that’s harder.”

Because of his image, the hard-edge and sexual tone of his photo work, Elias admits
that he is often misrepresented, but understands that is what his audience
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would keep them out of trouble and off of the streets, especially considering the
dangerous influences that often had an affect on impressionable youth.

For Quentin it was sports; it’s no surprise that he excelled at martial arts, but it was
when he visited his sister’s dance class that Elias realized he wanted to be a
performer.  So he asked his mother to enroll him in dance classes where he immersed
himself in tap, modern jazz and ballet.  Bit by the bug...the performer had been born.  “I
was a misfit...all the kids in the neighborhood are running around getting dirty in the
mud, and I’m going to dance school -- I excelled at dance school.  That first time on
stage, when the curtained opened...it was operatic!  I knew I was different.”  At this point
Quentin obsessed about the next steps to achieving his success.

He decided that in order to be taken seriously as an artist, he had to expose himself in
the most competitive market in the world.  “New York has always felt like home to me,
and right away I started working the underground dance scene.”  In 2001 Quentin
brought himself to New York City and immediately began working with music industry
legends like Junior Vasquez.  And he also collaborated with the Nile Rogers on the “We
Are Family” benefit CD, supporting the victim’s families of the 9/11 tragedy.  Quentin
found himself in the studio recording alongside legendary talents the likes of Diana
Ross, Patti Labelle, The Pointer Sisters, Faith Evans, and more.  In the video directed by
Spike Lee, Quentin is seen joyously singing along with the rest of the assembled super
stars.  This was certainly one of the highlights of his aspiring career; who wouldn't feel
humbled in the presence of such great talent and to be brought together for such an
important cause.

Building on his momentum, Elias continued to perform and record releasing the maxi-
single “Serve It Up”, and soon followed up with the solo album project “What If I”.  It
would prove his most promising effort, putting him on the radar of producer/dj/remixer
Flash of Electro Boy Records.  “I knew I still had my fan base, especially when the first
single that I cut here (in the States) ‘Always the Last to Say Goodbye’ went Gold”.  Elias
has allowed his musical tastes to take him to
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CLICK HERE for more on JC Alvarez

CLICK HERE for more on Carlos Arias


Copyright 2009| Ambiente Magazine.   Do not reproduce without prior authorization.
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may want or expect from him.  “Whenever I work with a photographer, what they want is
the body, the tattoos -- that may be how I felt then...but I’m changing everyday.  Sex is not
the card I always play.  I don’t feel that way all the time.”  And it’s that sense, that
introspection that you must admit does surprise  you.

Think Quentin is overexposed?  Well the multi-talented performer has also stretched
his skills to incorporate some acting; using his music as an in Elias plays a night club
stage performer in the upcoming film “My Guaranteed Student Loan” -- the film will
debut at the Sundance Film Festival.  “With so many artists here, I never take any
opportunity I’m given for granted.”

Quentin Elias can easily be one of the most intimidating individuals you’ll ever meet,
based solely on sheer size and image; he’s not exactly someone you’d want to run into
in a dark alley (or maybe you would...I’m just saying).  That’s the product of an audience
that is over
saturated with images based on
idealized explorations of lust and
ultra-masculinity, but at heart he’s
a magnificent presence.  His sheer
ambition is infectious, and is as
powerful as his physical appearance.  

He radiates -- but isn't that what a star
is supposed to do?

Quentin Elias’ new single “Shattered
Dreams” is now available on iTunes as
well as other digital markets; check
out more of Quentin at
www.quentinelias.com.