It’s been a profound and spiritual journey for the 30-year-old Duhé to get here, but one that she
always knew she was destined to make. Born in Alabama and raised in small towns around
there and Mississippi, the young Elley’s formative years were spent surrounded by music lovers
– with her father and uncles working as musicians in the New Orleans scene. “You’re just
always being influenced if there’s always someone playing something – be it a song they wrote
or just one of their favourite records. I grew up around blues, rock, alternative, classical, country,
pop, hip-hop. I got a good dose of everything.”
By 14, she was writing her own songs on guitar, and it proved to be a lifeline. “It felt like it was
the only way I could speak the truth,” she says. “It was the only way I could talk and feel like
someone was really listening. When you’re younger, sometimes you just don’t have the words
to tell someone how you feel. A song is a true way to express yourself. Painting, acting, dancing
and music have always given me that. When I would play, people would stop and listen to me.
I’d never had that before. I’d never had someone be that drawn to me. That’s something that’s
stayed with me.”
Empowered by her newfound creative voice and having soaked up the sounds and the soul of
the south, Duhé could feel that her ambition was calling her elsewhere. “I had no idea how I was
going to make it happen,” she admits. “I just believed it was going to happen. Every time I came
to a crossroads of opportunity, I would just go for it – whatever it was.”
After playing cafes, bars, private parties, and seizing every chance and opportunity she could,
she found herself supporting huge names around Nashville, Los Angeles, and Austin before
dropping out of high school to hone her craft and coming to the attention of major label, RCA –
who promptly signed her. Living in LA (where she remains today) she dropped her 2016 debut
single: the blissed-out lullaby of ‘Millennium’ with Tarro. Since then, across a long run of smash
singles, the personal but pristine pop of her ‘Dragon Mentality’ EP, Duhé has racked up millions
and millions of streams, played Coachella and Lollapalooza, recorded with the likes of Gryffin
and Zedd, and formed a tight and unbreakable bond with her legions of fans online.
“People that connect with me are friends now,” she says. “My fans get it – I’m here for them.
That’s what I was made for, to be in their lives, even if it’s in a small way through a song. It’s
what I’m supposed to do. I’m spiritual, so for my whole life I’ve had this knowing about music.
When I see the streaming numbers, it’s just a reminder of the impact and that the knowing is
right. It’s not like I had a delusional dream, it’s really happening.”