Promoting mental awareness through his music
His musical style is best described as soul, though he has blended elements of hip hop, R&B, gospel, and salsa to create a sound that is uniquely his own. As a songwriter and producer, Pineiro has contributed to a vast array of artists of genres from latin jazz, to Dubstep, to traditional folk hymns. While Buffalo, New York is his home base, he works with artists locally and globally creating a musical footprint as large as his smile.
Naturally talented, Pineiro is driven to share the God given gifts he has been blessed with. Through his own personal battles with depression, he has become an advocate for mental health. It was within these battles that he discovered his purpose and embarked upon a journey to work within his purpose through his passion for music. Music, he believes, saved his life and he has said numerous times,
“Maybe something I write will help someone else make it to their next month and in that moment they will be able to find the light again.”
Elgin Franklyn Pineiro writes for love, sings for passion, and lives to create. He released his debut e.p. R.A.W. (Rising Above with Will) on February, 28, 2015, which is now available worldwide on bandcamp.com. It tells the story of rising to love oneself, to love others, and to love life.
Pineiro’s story is one that many are familiar with, but rarely talk about. We were excited to have an opportunity to interview him to understand more about not only his music, but his mission as well.
Congratulations on your release of R.A.W. (Rising Above with Will). Can you tell us what inspired the name you chose?
“The title R.A.W. came about through the desire to combat adversities head on and to surpass the levels of discontent that were attempting to discourage me from pursuing my passion for music and to erase all doubts and fears.”
At what age did you discover a love for music?
“It was when I was eight years old and I’d perform the songs or raps of my favorite performers in school talent shows.”
How long have you been writing and performing music?
“I’ve been writing since 1994 and singing since 2008.
You work with a range of genres, but what is currently your favorite and why?
“Without a doubt, soul is my favorite. It encompasses all genres. When you write within each, it draws from the passion and feelings within your soul. Your inner being and thoughts are laid bare for all to see, feel and hear.”
Who are your musical inspirations?
“Well, since we don’t have all day to give my whole list, I’ll just say, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colón, D’Angelo, José James, Sam Cooke, Big Pun, my uncle Frankie Pineiro and Buffalo’s own Billy Drease Williams. Just to name a few.”
Can someone book you as musical talent, and if so how should they get in touch with you?
Are you currently working on any new projects?
“As an artist I am always writing and creating music. I’m currently writing for local and out of state independent artists and planning a live recording of myself with a band performing original songs and cover songs in front of an audience. I’m really looking forward to doing that this fall.”
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next few years?
“I see myself touring the country and abroad, having my own music label with artists and winning Grammys.”
Do you have any other artistic talents?
“I am currently teaching myself guitar and piano. I also write and recite poetry.”
Can you tell us your fondest or funniest memory as a vocalist?
“My first performance at Buffalo State College’s Apollo Night. My group and I were booed twice by the crowd before I could say a word. They were relentless! We came back two years later and won a bottle of Fahrenheit and $100. It was a spectacular moment that taught me to have perseverance while on this career’s path.”
Was there any point in your rising career where you felt you wanted to give up? If so, how did you overcome this?
“Yes, during the process of making R.A.W., everyone quit except Solace who are my background singers. They encouraged me to not give up and to continue. I’m so glad I listened and didn’t give up because now I am able to share this gift that I was given and possibly encourage others to dream big and to see their dreams through to completion.”
You mention becoming an advocate for mental health. What goals do you have to reach those who are currently suffering from mental illness?
“My goal is to help people become the best at whatever it is that they want to accomplish. Personally, to make great music that the people will love. To create and not limit my creativity to any one medium. Just being free to create. I want to put a face to mental illness. So many of us hide in shame for fear of being ridiculed. Very few know our pain or struggle. I hope that my intentions will shed some light on mental illness, what we face each and every day and bring comprehension and compassion to those who have family members and friends that suffer with mental illness. I also want to encourage families and friends to come together for those that suffer with mental illness just like they do when someone is battling cancer or any other disease. It’s not an individual’s issue, it’s an issue that affects groups of people.”
What advice do you have for those who live a story similar to yours?
“Keep going. Just keep going. The next step may be the step that sets you free. What helps me is prayer, meditation, staying active, journaling, counseling and reaching out to love ones and friends for encouragement, enlightenment, and a lifting of the spirit.”
Mental illness is often overlooked in our communities and frequently not recognized because the scars are often worn on the inside! His mission and urge to help others is contagious, and we look forward to seeing more of him in the future! Be sure to check out his album or connect with him through social media and help spread the movement!