Chyler Leigh and Nathan West are embarking on a new journey together, and it’s all about music. HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with the couple about his band East of Eli, Chyler co-writing a song, and new tracks about their 3 kids before their epic performance at the Troubadour on March 18.
Tell me about the creative process of “Nowhere.”
Nathan West: Originally, it was a song that was going to be just me. But the more I did it, the heart behind that whole song was the fact that our lives are so busy and we don’t get a lot of quality time together. Not a lot of time together, but we get quality time. We can go a couple of weeks without seeing each other, so it’s hard to connect. We’re going on 15 years of being married and we’re still going strong. We’ve had our ups and downs like any other couple, but we found I think the heartbeat of our relationship was our quality time together. In my mind somewhere, I kept having this theory that when I think about her she’s thinking about me.
Chyler Leigh: Even if we aren’t together, physically at the same time, we’re still connecting.
Nathan: It’s like when you go to text somebody and they call you. And you’re like, ‘Oh, hey! Oh my god! I just texted you.’ It’s kind of like that but more on a deeper, soul level with her and I. On this song, she comes in with a very haunting, nostalgic vocal and if you notice it’s not really a duet as much as she’s featured because she comes in and we sing together but she only has one line by herself And that was artistically a choice. We wanted it to be that way. That she kind of comes in as this whimsical, angelic voice and then slowly disappears. She has the most amazing vocal and anytime I have an excuse to get her on the vocal or on a track, I do.
Nathan, you wrote wrote “Nowhere” and most of the other songs. Is Chyler going to get in on some of the songwriting?
Nathan: She did!
Chyler: Yeah, one of the producers on the album, whose name is Jordan. He has been co-writing all of the songs with Nathan, and then Nathan had an idea where he wanted to write a song but he didn’t want to actually write it himself. It was the first time he’d ever done that, where he entrusted me to be able to write something and Jordan to write this together. It’s kind of a little more poetic way of saying certain things. It’s kind of abstract, but it’s very visual what we write, and so we did that with him and Jordan is so funny because he writes with so many artists and was like, ‘I’ve never worked with the artist’s significant other to write a song for the artist.’ It was a lot of fun to be able to jump in on it and throw my words in here and there. I’m kind of always listening and seeing if there’s ways I can help out but he’s an amazing writer himself.
Nathan: It was the first time I had not written a song on my own without partaking in it. I’m always open to that idea. As an artist, it’s my job to kind of help to channel that music towards a certain place but eventually it’s just like a movie or doing a production or something, it’ll take on a mind of its own. I knew that wasn’t my writing style, but I knew the concept of the song I wanted. I knew it was more of her writing style than was mine, and Jordan’s a versatile writer and I was like, ‘You know what? I really feel like you’re meant to write this.’ She was like, ‘I’d love to.’ She’s such a huge fan, my number one fan. I talked to Jordan about it and he said, ‘Dude that might be the coolest co-write I’ve ever done, to write with somebody else’s spouse. Like, that’s amazing.’ The song is one of my favorites on the album.
Chyler: It’s called “Hail the Queen.”
Nathan: The whole lyric starts out, ‘Yeah, we fight…’ It’s this passionate, intimate, love song, but it’s got the grit.
Chyler: It’s like agro-love. It’s like love but it’s just that…
Nathan: It’s like when you grab someone’s face and [kisses Chyler]…
Chyler: It’s like that.
What’s next for East of Eli?
Nathan: It is lining up really quick. We’re trying to keep up with it. We’re heading out to the east coast. We’re playing in New York a couple of shows, we’re going to be playing around in Boston, Baltimore, and then we’re headed overseas in May. We’re playing in The Cavern Club where the Beatles got started.
It must be a surreal feeling…
Nathan: It is a surreal feeling. It’s a surreal feeling sitting here right now. It’s humbling. I love to sing, I love to perform, so I’m really excited, but yeah, I’ve been floating all night. To think we’re going to go over to Europe and do that and we’re looking to put up a show in Paris, and we’ve talked to some people about Switzerland. It’s all just happening really quick and we’re just trying to keep our eyes focused on one another, on our family, and what brought us here — the music. It’s a roller coaster.
You’ve written songs about Chyler, so have you written songs about your kids?
Nathan: Yeah, there’s a song called “Lost in Transmission.” It’s about my son, Noah. It’s kind of a throwback to the ’80s and Joshua Tree YouTube, but it’s got kind of a more modern cinematic feel. The song’s all about not just flying past life. Don’t be lost in transmission. You have something to say. You have a purpose. You have something to do. Don’t hide behind the walls that we all create. They’re all kind of deep songs, but they’re fun too. We have songs about both our daughters. There’s a song called Glow [for their 10-year-old, Taelyn] and another called Heart Loose [for their 8-year-old], that one’s being finished up in the studio.
Chyler: These songs all speak to who they are and who we see them to be
Nathan: The bottom line. The reason I did that was you never know how long these opportunities will last. So make it worthwhile. I decided I was going to write love letters to my family, write love letters to myself and fans. The whole album really is a love letter. I don’t know if it will be received or not. We’ll find out.
East of Eli will be playing live in New York City on April 25 at Pianos. Get your tickets now!
HollywoodLifers, are you loving East of Eli’s music? Let us know!