Hickory- Statesville native Eli Yacinthe will be the headliner on Friday, October 11 for the Hickory Music Factory Stage at this year’s Hickory Oktoberfest.
Eli Yacinthe performs all styles of music: jazz, blues, country, rock, R&B, and even big band. He approaches each song, each note, with authentic energy and sensibility.
This native of Statesville, NC was immersed in music as a child. He sang harmony with his mom, at home and church. When they watched musicals together, he was fascinated with the elaborate orchestration. Eli found he possessed the gift of extrapolating individual notes and reproducing them, even intricate harmonies and rhythms. He learned drums at age two, and later, piano – but always preferred to play by ear.
At 10, Eli’s father taught him to play guitar, but it wasn’t love at first chord. His fingers burned from constant practice. “After a few days I hated that thing, I hated it so much,” he says. But then he viewed a video of finger style guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, and his world changed. “From that point I became obsessed, I just never wanted to put it down. I didn’t want to play video games or whatever the other kids were doing. I would spend hours in my room learning songs, or trying something new.”
Eight years later, Eli rocks the house at a bevy of local venues. Fans applaud his voice, which ranges from soulful to snappy. His guitar virtuosity combined with his rich and soulful vocal style have already garnered him a loyal fan base.
A career highlight was Eli’s performance at 2017’s MerleFest, for an audience of 9,000.
“It was surreal to me,” he says. “I was so nervous, but when I got on stage everything just went away, the crowd was so supportive, and it just felt right. Like I was meant to be there.” A few weeks later, Eli performed to a sold-out crowd on a full scholarship at Nashville’s Fine Arts Summer Academy. Since then, he’s taken instruction from a list of renowned guitarists such as Richard Smith, John Knowles, Pat Bergeson, and John Jorgenson.
In a world where critics prefer to classify music into specific genres, Eli defies categorization. “Music is my life’s work” comments Eli. “It’s definitely my calling.”
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