Emerging singer Eli Derby has returned with his new EP, More Than Friends, via LVRN/The Brain/Interscope Records.
On More Than Friends, the 18-year-old takes listeners on a journey through his love life, as unpacks the complexities of being in the friend zone.
“More Than Friends is the next chapter that follows my debut EP Left On Read. I wanted to share the stories of my relationships and my thoughts on where we are as a generation when it comes to dating and social media,” shares Derby. “On this new EP, you can also hear the maturity and confidence in my voice as well.”
“Good Time,” the opening track, hears the Maryland native courting a love interest. “Gonna pick you up / Take you out / Show you a good time babe / Even though you ain’t mine babe,” he sings in the chorus.
Things seem to be working in Derby’s favor — at least for a bit. On “Up,” which he co-wrote with Phabo and Rayana Jay, Derby begins to show that he’s catching feelings: “On the road doing shows / When I’m gone I be / Missing you like crazy / Got a room see you soon.”
“Recognize,” a previously shared track, is where Derby puts his emotions on full display and professes his love. “I wrote ‘Recognize’ trying to describe a feeling that I couldn’t explain at the time — the feeling that I now know is love. I didn’t know how powerful it could be when it exists between two people,” he explained to Rated R&B.
Derby may be a certified lover boy but he isn’t going to pressure someone to be with him. The mood changes on “Wicked,” the lead single produced by OG Parker. Here, Derby makes it clear that he will fall back if the feelings aren’t mutual. In other words, if she isn’t willing to commit to a relationship, then he’s removing himself from the picture.
“I can’t be your friend no more / ‘Cause you’ve been actin’ so unsure / I think we’ve been friends too long / You know I think it’s time we make a choice / Not ready to sacrifice it (Sacrifice it) / I’ll give you the time it takes / But I won’t press you for it / Playin’ these wicked games,” Derby sings in the first verse.
The latter two tracks on the EP depict the good ole’ saying “f*ck around and find out.” It’s where Derby ultimately takes a bow and moves on to someone who does appreciate him.
More Than Friends is the follow-up to Derby’s debut EP, Left On Read, which dropped in May. The latter project includes his 6LACK-assisted tune “Lately,” which has garnered nearly six million streams on Spotify, as well as “Love Song” and “Gaslight.”
Of Left On Read, Derby told Rated R&B, “[It’s] a reflection of a lot of the relationships I’ve gone through — mostly romantic but also friends-wise.”
He added, “I wanted to pour my feelings into the music and there’s a song on here for all stages of the typical teenage love sh*t — young love, manipulation, heartbreak, moving too fast… I wanted to be able to create music that relates to what we’re going through today and hopefully create conversation from it.”
Stream Eli Derby’s More Than Friends EP.