At 17, Elley Duhé had six months left of high school in her native Dauphin Island off the Alabama coast when she quit. Having been badgered by a bully so much, she came home one afternoon and announced she had enough and was dropping out to pursue music, her true passion. Her dad, a high school history teacher and part-time blues musician who gave her her first guitar, was supportive. “He saw that I was so sad and unhappy, so he said OK and that was it. My parents have always believed in me,” says the soulful pop stylist, 26, who moved to Hollywood, got her GED and signed with RCA Records. “It was the smartest decision I ever made,” says Duhé, whose philosophical EP “Dragon Mentality” was released in August.
What is the “Dragon Mentality”?
It’s the death and rebirth process of all of the struggles that you go through in life, the things you have to overcome as an individual. And it’s about being able to every day wake up and take it on, no matter what it is, because you have to accept every single day. The day was given to me — I have to take it.
Your single “Millennium” was about embracing life and denying death. You’ve said that you view yourself as a student, with life as your teacher. You’re unusually humble for showbiz.
Well, I’m working on it. I have to get rid of my ego. And if I’m being quite honest, I’m doing a lot of Kundalini right now. I’m not on any medication and I’m not seeing a therapist. I’m going with my own internal self and learning how to quiet the mind, learning that the negative thoughts that I have? Those aren’t me. So I’m trying to calm the mind and calm the spirit. I’ve always kind of been that way, but not to the point where I am now. But I know in my heart that that’s where this was going, that I was always going to fight for that peace of mind and that peace of spirit.
Have you read the Veda? Any Hindu texts?
I have, actually. I’m very into the Bhagavad Gita right now and Vedic literature, and it’s just incredible. I am so into it. And what I love about the Bhagavad Gita is, it’s not religious — it’s transcendental. That’s where I’m at right now — with how we see our whole spirituality, that we all come from the same energy source. And my goal as an artist is to bring people together via the simplest form, through music.
IF YOU GO
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 29
Tickets: $10 to $12
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com