For some creatives, fashion and music work together to create a real work of art. Khalil Arcady is Sur Ellz, a 23-year-old songwriter, producer and performer from Aurora who sports a multi-genre appeal in both his music and fashion. We spotted him at Westword's DISH last month, where he was wearing a wide-brim hat. "I threw on my friend's 'brunch hat,' and this being the peak of brunch hours, the hat worked out for me," Ellz says.
So has life in Denver. "I spent several years moving back and forth between Colorado, Georgia, Virginia, South and North Carolina, but finished my senior year of high school at Denver School of the Arts," says Ellz. We chatted with him to learn more about his fashion aesthetic and his music, which tells stories of modern struggle and human interaction.
His personal style: "My personal style is inspired by an array of different styles that have become a part of my own over the years," he says. "Overall, it's the grungy and rugged look that I find most comfortable. I am also heavily influenced by Afro-punk culture, because for years I have been dressing this way and never knew there was a whole culture out there for people who are just like me.
"A few of my style icons would be Jeremy Scott, Andre 3000, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, J Dilla, Prince, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Stardust, of course, and Zoid Haem, legend in the making. I could name a bunch more, but this answer would turn into a novel."
Favorite color: "My favorite color is black, but as a child it was purple."
Favorite accessory: "My favorite accessory is a solid pair of eyebrows. The runner-up to that would have to be a wicked pair of crazy contacts."
Style mantra: "It would be, 'Do these blacks match?' Possibly even, 'Kelci, come put something on my face.' Kelci and Ben are the legends who showed me the way of the tribal warrior paint I like to wear when performing or going out for a night of dancing."
Shops at: "I like shopping at vintage stores, in friends' closets and, when possible, online. But the art of sharing and borrowing is a unique market of its own — especially when you have stylish friends. Angelo's CDs and more on Colfax and Ogden has the best band T-shirts in the city, no lie."
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The difference between his day-to-day self and on-stage persona: "As Khalil, I enjoy fashion, fine art, working at a record store and making the people I love laugh and smile. As Sur Ellz, I enjoy telling vivid stories through my writing, production and dancing on stage at the shows I get to play.
"I enjoy working with my best friend, Been Stellar, on making beats and songs for other projects for other artists, as well as Sur Ellz music. I'm very excited to release new music very soon and a whole new project. I'm also excited to be doing our first true headliner show on November 10 here in Denver, followed by our first out-of-state show, at the 30 Days in LA festival put together by Red Bull. It's such a blessing to be surrounded by good people who have been supporting me on this new journey.".
Like Ellz , always stay in sync with your own personal tune, Denver.