The Kennedy Center

W. Ellington Felton



Biography

W. Ellington Felton is the son of jazz pianist Hilton Felton, music is in his veins, It’s tempting to describe W. Ellington Felton with slashes: Hes a singer/ poet/ actor/emcee. Crowned the future folk-soul hero by Complex Magazine for his vocals on Prince Pauls Politics of the Business album, Ellington is using every weapon in his arsenal to resuscitate soul music. He’s a real talented brother, a Renaissance cat, who paints, writes, does books. He’s one of those Sammy Davis, Jr. types, but on kind of a millennium style, Prince Paul says of W. Ellington Felton, or Dub Ell, as he’s known in his native Washington, DC.

Ellington knows that poems often make the best songs. His hip-hop rhapsodies paint vivid images that engage, and sometimes unnerve listeners. There's no element of originality, or surprise, or spontaneity. The only thing I try to consciously do with music...is try to figure out ways to push the buttons. And of course, he writes lots and lots of stories about love falling in it, getting over it, and making it work. Rather than the sappy, cliché-ridden variety, Ellington’s songs address the complexities of love in real life. On the track Love is Somethin More from his 2002 CD Soul Sonnets he admonishes, Love is somethin more/Than love songs, love poems, and temporary highs. People are taking his music to heart. I get very specific comments in terms of the individual, Ellington says of his fans reactions, which range from you saved my marriage and you helped me get over a divorce.

Having performed on the Lollapalooza tour and at the Apollo Theater as a teenager, Ellington is as comfortable on stage with Mos Def, De La Soul, and Meshell Ndegocello as he was in the smoky, candlelit cafes of his open mic days. He quickly gained a following on Washington’s poetry circuit with his confessional lyrics, quirky pitch, and spontaneous style, also shared the stage with his mentor UK Soul legend Omar.  When he’s not making music, Ellington commands the spotlight as a classically trained actor. He studied theater for four years at Carnegie Mellon University.

In 1999, he starred in the critically acclaimed hip-hop play Rhyme Deferred, performed at the Kennedy Center, the National Black Theater Festival, and the Nuyorican Poets Caf. Ellington also graced the silver screen in Breakfast at Bens, part of Spike Lees 2000 and the most recent movie "Multitudes of Mercie” that aired on BET worldwide Dec 1, 2005 where W. Ellington Felton starred as the lead in the movie (with guest appearances by Raheem Devaughn & Malcolm-Jamal Warner) that brings AIDS awareness to the youth of today.

He just completed his highly anticipated LP Postcards from the Edge featuring guest appearances and production by: Eric Roberson, Yahzarah, Raheem Devaughn, Kev Brown, Nick tha 1da, K'Alyn, and Wajeed of PPP. You can currently hear W. Ellington's comedic writing skills and performance featured on Chris Rock's "Never Scared" LP. Ironically, helped pen and perform a skit called, "Black Poet", making fun of the torture of spoken word.

W. Ellington Felton