For our latest installment of One on One, we turn to Eli Gerstner. A well known singer/songwriter/solo artist/the heart and soul of Yeshiva Boys Choir, the Chevra and so much more, Eli has made a significant impact on the Jewish music scene in a relatively short amount of time. We managed to pull him out of the studio for just a few minutes (not an easy task) to share some thoughts with our readers...
JMR: At what point in your life did you decide that you were going to become part of the Jewish music business?
Eli Gerstner: I had been playing the drums since I was a little kid and in my mind it was “Wow! I can’t wait to play drums at weddings!!” I wrote my first song at fifteen and it occurred to me that maybe I could set my sights a little higher but the idea of really becoming seriously involved in the Jewish music took root when I was eighteen or nineteen and learning in Israel. My chavrusa was a semi big figure in the Jewish music business and he is the one who really put the idea into my head in a big way.
JMR: What CDs are in the sound system in your car right now?
EG: Right now…considering it is Sefira I have three CDs of R’ Berel Wein on the history of the Jewish people. They are really awesome and I highly recommend them. And because my kids listen to it, I have the YBC a capella album but I really beg them not to make me put it on. Also the first Chasidishe Otzros, which is unbelievable. Dudi Kalish is super super talented.
JMR: What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
EG: Raisin Bran.
JMR: What person has had the most influence in your life?
EG: I know people expect someone in the music business, but honestly, it would have to be my wife (who will never read this article…so no points for me.)
JMR: What do you have in your pocket right now?
EG: A Jewish calendar. My keys to my car. I wish it was more interesting than that, but that is what it is.
JMR: If you could be any kind of fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?
EG: I would want to be a pickle. Who doesn’t like a pickle?
JMR: What is your all time favorite song/album?
EG: My favorite album would definitely something from Avraham Fried, either Shtar Hatanyaim,Bracha V’hatzalacha or Aderaba.
JMR: What is the ringer on your cell phone?
EG: Very standard, basic old school ringer.
JMR: If you were stranded on an island and could only have two things with you, what would they be?
EG: My family. It’s only one thing, but they are three people so that should count.
JMR: Tell us an interesting fact or tidbit about yourself that isn’t public knowledge.
EG: Before I dropped out of college, I was on a full scholarship and majoring in Psychology. What is interesting is that I was there and writing all these psych papers and I started getting work at chasanas. I started missing class and got called in by the dean who told me I couldn’t be messing around. I decided to take one semester off and see where the music business takes me.