Country Music Inspiration
When Elisha “Eli” Mosley ’15 isn’t mending fences or mowing pastures at the 3,000-acre ranch he manages in Bartow, Florida, he’s most likely traveling to Nashville for a country music project, or touring across the U.S. with his band. Since the age of six, Eli has known that he was destined to be a country music artist after seeing one of his biggest inspirations, Tracy Byrd, perform live.
Now, at the age of 32, Eli has recorded and produced three albums in Nashville through Ocean Way Studio, Studio West, and Sound Emporium. He is a verified artist on Spotify and one of his singles, “Soldier’s Wife,” has amassed over 140,000 streams. His most recent single, “Doin’ Alright,” has peaked at number 77 on the national Music Row chart.
Life at SEU
“The classes that I took at SEU were so instrumental to my success in the music industry,” said Eli. “You have to be able to understand the accounting, financial, and business management aspects just as much as the actual music itself.”
Music in Nashville
Eli typically travels to Nashville for one to two weeks every month. While he’s there, he participates in writing and recording sessions, networking events, meetings with management and more. “I basically pack a month’s worth of work into one week,” Eli remarked.
Although Eli has considered relocating to Nashville, he’s discovered that living in Florida allows him to establish a healthy work-life balance. Eli explained, “Moving to Nashville would be like moving into the office. There’s always somewhere you should be or something you should be doing to advance your career. I’ve come to realize the importance of keeping work and life separate.”
Ranching in Florida
Living in Florida also makes it possible for Eli to serve as the foreman of a local cattle ranch. In this position, Eli oversees all of the ranch’s operations, from maintaining equipment to ensuring the cows are properly fed. Eli got into ranch work in 2020 when the pandemic forced the music industry to be put on pause.
Since then, it has proven to be a source of inspiration for his creative process. “When you’re on the ranch working on a tractor all day, you get a lot of time to think. I’ve been able to come up with numerous song ideas this way,” said Eli.
When it comes to songwriting, Eli has collaborated with individuals who have written hit singles for artists such as Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and Rascal Flatts. “I always make sure that I’m the least accomplished person in the room,” said Eli. “That’s the key as an independent artist. You have to surround yourself with the right team.”
Most recently, Eli and his band completed a 37-day tour across the continental United States Comprised of five other musicians based out of Nashville whom he handpicked, Eli’s band includes an electric guitarist, a bass guitarist, a drummer, a steel guitarist, and an acoustic guitarist. “I recruit the best musicians I can find in Nashville and take them on the road with me,” he commented.
From the booking process to securing the contracts and accommodations, it can take up to 70 hours of preparation work to plan for one show. On most occasions, Eli and his band travel in a van with built-in bunk beds so they can sleep on the road. In other instances, festival and event organizers host them in a nearby hotel.
Fortunately, Eli doesn’t have to stress over every detail, as his family assists him with the logistics. Michael Mosley, Eli’s father, dedicates his time to calling countless festivals, fairs, and venues to book Eli’s shows. Eli’s wife, Anna, accompanies him on tour and makes sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes. From backstage, Anna also handles the photography and videography for the shows, oversees the tech aspects, and occasionally performs background vocals or plays the guitar.
“She basically runs the show from the ground up,” said Eli. The couple first met when Anna joined Eli’s band, and they have now been married for over two years. “Between my dad booking the shows, Anna handling the issues on and off stage, and me overseeing the artist content — this is truly a family business,” Eli explained.
Bucket List Moments
Throughout his career, Eli has had the opportunity to check many experiences off his bucket list. He has opened for Tracy Lawrence, Joe Nichols, Tyler Farr, Maren Morris, and many others. In 2020, Eli even opened for his first country music inspiration, Tracy Byrd, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida.
Eli performed for several thousand people when he headlined the Cody Nite Rodeo, one of the largest and long-running rodeos in the world. His largest audience was in Dallas, Texas, during a show where he played to a crowd of 45,000. In 2017, Eli performed a few acts before Miranda Lambert for an audience of 8,000. He counted this as his first “big” show.
“I remember walking out onto the stage and not being able to see the end of the crowd,” he recalled. “I was shocked. But seeing hundreds of them singing right along with me, knowing every word to my songs — that was special.”
One of Eli’s favorite memories was having the chance to attend a luncheon when musical duo Brooks & Dunn were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “You never know what an artist’s personality is going to be like backstage, but I got to speak with Kix Brooks and it was just like two buds hanging out,” Eli laughed. “To be with someone so legendary, yet so down to earth, was one of the coolest moments.”
Eli has also been able to use his music as a tool to minister to people across the country. Although his music doesn’t fall into the Christian genre in a traditional sense, the songs that touch upon his personal struggles have made a significant impact on many individuals dealing with the same issues.
“I’ve had a couple of guys reach out to me about my song, ‘Just Need to Know,’ which is one of the most real, honest songs I’ve ever written. They told me that during a very hard season in their life, it really helped them see that they weren’t going through it alone,” Eli recalled. “Through my lyrics, I try to reach people in their hour of need and point them to the cross.”
In addition, Eli has supported missions through the profits he’s made with his music and has sponsored numerous missionaries and their projects. “It’s been amazing to be able to give back,” said Eli. “I’ve always felt called to music and specifically to building the Kingdom through that platform.”
As for the future, Eli’s ultimate career goal is to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. “There’s always that next thing that you’re chasing after, but at the same time, there’s the thought that I’ve lived my dream. I’ve opened for many of my musical influences. I’ve played shows that I never dreamed I would play. It’s in those moments that I remember why I do what I do.”
A day in the life of Eli Mosley could involve anything from feeding cows to recruiting a band to songwriting. He could be anywhere from Bartow to Nashville. Regardless of what the day looks like, it will involve Eli impacting the community around him.