Quentin Elias is a New York City transplant by way of France. Born in Marseille in 1980, he grew up in a poor neighborhood but grew up with stars in his eyes, thanks to classes in everything from ballet to kick-boxing. After running away to Paris at 15, he was eventually selected to be the lead singer of the boy-band Alliage; the group eventually sold 5 million CDs. However, despite the success, Ellis wanted more - so he left Alliage and ended up in this country, where he has worked alongside artists ranging from Junior Vasquez to Diana Ross.
Now, Ellis has his own songs out, including the throbbing 'Serve It Up.' The beyond-handsome singer recently chatted with Nightspots about his native country, the allure of rap music and the pitfalls of dating.
Nightspots: Tell me about life in Marseille.
Quentin Elias: I love Marseille. After New York, it's the best city in the world. I would actually pick it over Paris; you have the oceans and the mountains. The food and the people are nice, too.
NS: However, you ran away to Paris. Why?
QE: A lot of things happened. My father died; it was a really bad experience. Now that I've made peace with myself, I love Marseille. I wanted to take my destiny in my hands.
NS: How did your mother feel about your departure?
QE: She was very sad, of course; I was the only son. She knew she couldn't keep me at home. I'm very stubborn and I had to go.
NS: Tell me about Alliage.
QE: It was like the Backstreet Boys. We had a lot of success. However, I just had to be in New York City.
NS: And what do you like about New York City?
QE: Oh, I love the freedom. Anything you want to do you can do. I was first here around 1992. I just loved the energy. When I came here, I knew I would end up here. After four years with Alliage, I dropped everything and came here.
NS: Tell me about your CD. Are you working with Junior Vasquez on this one?
QE: Well, I worked with Junior about a couple of years ago and we worked on a song called 'This Time Baby.' Now, I'm working with hip-hop and R&B producers like Jack Knight - people who've worked with Usher, Mary J. Blige, and [ others ] . It's more like what I want to do. I love working with Junior but I like the R&B/hip-hop sound.
NS: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
QE: Wow. I've been listening to Keyshia Cole, Amerie, Pussycat Dolls, Brandy, Jay-Z, The Game and Usher. The music I like is [ mostly by Black musicians ] . I just love great voices and I'm attracted to this Black R&B sound. I also like old-school stuff by Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross.
NS: I usually don't ask this question, but readers are going to want to know: Are you single?
QE: Well, I am single; it's not because I want to be but because I have no choice. I scare people away. The last person I dated said 'Quentin, I had a great weekend but you're overwhelming.' I don't know if it's because I get a lot of attention or what. Sometimes people are insecure and they're always looking for the next best thing.
I hate when people say that something is not meant to be and everything happens for a reason. I hate it when people don't fight for something. I've had my heart broken so many times but I still believe that love is a beautiful thing.
Find out more about Quentin Elias at www.quentinelias.com .