Elan Sara Defan


Elan Sara Defan was born on March 1, 1983 in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico.  She is a recording artist known for being one of the first Latin American female songwriters to begin her career with an English language album written completely on her own and the first independent artist from Latin America to have sold more than 1.7 million copies of her music with her band which is named ELAN, made up of Elan, lead vocalist and keyboard player, Jan Carlo Defan, lead guitarist, co-producer and Elan's brother, chilhood friend and bass player Carlos Padilla Maqueo, and younger cousin and drummer Michel "Cheech" Bitar Defan and Mauricio "The Duck" Lopez.

Elan reveals an assortment of music that has been influenced by many artists like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Melissa Etheridge, and a few other notable influences.  Elan had a notable success with albums like Street Child and London Express.  So far she has released six albums, five in English and one in Spanish.

Her love for music was noticed by her mother at a very young age.  "One day, she just climbed up on the bench and started to play; that was the moment where it all began.  She was three..." recalls her mother.  At age 4, Elan starts writing her first songs and her father starts to record her songs in their makeshift home studio.  "She was always very determined in her writing even at such a youg age." Jan Carlo recalls.  At age 10 Elan starts to performe at private parties and theatres.  At age 13 Elan started recordings with a major record label, Warner Music in Mexico.

The Arista years through the recording of Street Child' (2000-2003)

BMG International, Vice President of A&R, Richard Sweret flies Elan and Jan Carlo to meet then, Arista Records President & CEO Antonio L.A. Reid.  After a private showcase in which Elan played "Perfect Life", L.A. Reid stated that the song was "the story of my life" and offered her a record deal.  (After signing with Arista Records, Elan is assigned numerous A&R executives).  Richard Sweret, (Elan's A&r executive who brought her to Arista) leaves Arista Records, leaving Elan without representation in the company.  Jan Carlo then hires former Aerosmith manager Wendy Leister to manage Elan through the turbulent Arista waters.  Elan's second A&R representative at Arista Records, Pete Ganbarg leaves the company, again leaving Elan without representation.  Josh Sarubin comes in as Elan's third A&R at Arista.  He suggests that Elan find another producer "to work with other than her brother".  Elan is sent on a search for a producer.  Over a period of several months, Elan meets with producers in Los Angeles, New York, and Virginia.

Elan records with producer Mark Howard, at his studio in Los Angeles, California.  Legendary drummer Jim Keltner plays the drums in those sessions.  After that, Elan records with programmer/producer Olle Romo, at his studio in Los Angeles, California.  Then, Elan flies to New York and records with singer/sonwriter and producer Fionn O'Lochlainn.  But none of the tracks have ever been released.

Elan along with her brother travels to Sound of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia, to begin recording what was going to be Street Child.  Recording was interrupted by the events of September 11.  That fateful day, Elan was recording a song named "Crash".  The song contains the lines:  "And out my window I can see it all start to crash/So if we fall, we fall together, if we don't survive."  It was written almost a year earlier.  The song has never been released.  As soon as air traffic resumed over the United States, Elan flies to New York to play a show in aid of the American Red Cross for victims of the catastrophe of Septemer 11th.  Elan returns to Virginia to continue with the recording sessions.  The sessions never concluded.

Eventually, Elan leaves Arista Records.  Soon after, Elan parts ways with her then manager, Wendy Laister.  Elan and Jan Carlo head back home and gegin to salvage an album from the numerous sessions they have recorded in different parts of the world.  They find themselves back where they began...recording in ttheir parents' spare bedroom.  They re-track most of the album and are eventually joined by Elan's long time engineer Jeff "The Pirate" Poe.  They mix the album over the next nine months.  Originally slated to be titled "Some Kind Of Daydream" (after Elan's favorite Billie Holiday song "The Very Thought of You"), "Street Child" (a name that was thought of by Elan's mother reflecting Elan's state of mind after departing Arista) had come to life.  Velvet Revolver and ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash hears the song Street Child from a mutual friend and makes known his desire to participate on the title track of Elan's album.  The session was recorded at Capito Records Studios in Los Angeles, California in August 2002.  While at the studio, they also shot parts of the "Street Child" video.  Three years after arriving to the U.S.A. Elan's album is finally finished and mastered at Capitol Records by Mark Chalecki.

Besides Slash, Street Child featured guest appearances by Grammy Award Winner and Beck producer Brian Paulson, David Immergltick of Counting Crows, composer/arranger Eugenio Toussaint, Alan Weatherhead of Sparklehorse and mixed by Grammy Award Winning engineer Jeff "The Pirate" Poe.

Street Child (2003-2004)

On June 13, 2003, Elan'as first single "Midnight" is released in Mexico on their own label, Silverlight Records (licensed through Sony Music Mexico) to an unprecedented response.  Elan's single from her album reaches #1 in airplay in some Mexican territories.  Midnight climbed the "Pepsi Chart" to #12.  On MTV Latin America, Elan's video goes to the Top 10 Most Wanted and goes Top 10 on the Top 20 Countdown.  It was also a surprise hit in Australia.  It became the second most added song in its first week (second only to Eminem).  The song reached number 28 on the AIRA charts.  Midnight goes top ten across the boards (all radio formats) in airplay in the country.  Elan gave interviews and performs on many Mexican TV programs.  She performed at award shows and special events such as Mexico's National Academy of Music's Oye Awards, the Eres Magazine 15 Year Anniversary Celebration and the Sanborn's 100th Anniversary Celebration.  Elan travels throughout Mexico with her band, performing in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City, Cuervavaca and Torreon on what became known as the Street Child Tour.  Along with friend and collaborator Juran Carlos Paz y Puente, Elan travels to Mexico, to play schools, to promote music education.  The tour was sponsored by Fermatta Music Academy.  Elan also performs two exclusive shows at "Boutique" in Melbourne and "The Basement" in Sydney.

London Express (2005-2006)

The band decides to take a break before returning to the studio to record their second album.  "After returning from a promo tour in Australia and several in Mexico...filming 5 videos and playing award shows, and touring and touring and playing everywhere we realized that life is short.  We had been going nonstop since I was 16 and it was time for a break.  We needed some rest and not only to be best friends but brother and sister, son and daughter too."  The band takes a year to record the follow-up to the "Street Child" album.  The line-up consists of drummer Michel Bitar, rhythm guitarist Jonathan Fraulin, bass player Carlos Padilla, and Jan Carlo on guitar.  Elan plays piano and keyboards on the record.  Titled London Express, the album contains thirteen new tracks.

London Express finds its roots in the music of The Beatles, which Elan has described as "the only band that really changed everthing".  Elan adopted rhythmic patterns and textures and recording techniques from the British Invasion of the 1960's and crafted her own tribute to British rock, one can even hear some people chanting Beatles lyrics on some of the tracks.

Be Free was the first single from the "London Express" album.  The video for the "Be Free" single was directed by renowned director, animator and painter Chris Roth and was in high rotation in Latin America's largest Music Video Networks.  The single itself did very well in Latin American radio stations, being at the top of the radio charts for several months.

"This Fool's Life" was the second single released from Elan's latest album "London Express".  "This Fool's Life" was for several months the single in English with the highest rotation on the radio in many Latin American countries.  Being one of the most listened to songs in English in countries like Mexico.  The video for "This Fool's Life" was also an outstanding success.  It broke several records in Music Video Networks like Telehit which is one of the largest music television networks in the world, broadcasting throughout Mexico, Central & South America, Europe and the United States, with a hisotric record breaking 12 weeks in the #1 position on the charts.  In the entirety of Telehit's 13 year history no other video has come even close to Elan's 3 month #1 position on the chart by popular vote.

In Australia, Elan's "This Fool's Life" video debuted in the number one position in video streaming with over 100,000 streams for its first week in Australias' "Undercover", the most important msuic site in Australia.  "This Fool's Life" had almost twice the amount of views in its debut week than all other videos.  A third single "Whatever it Takes" was released on November 2006.

What Can Be Done At This Point (2007) and Shine (2008)

On May 8 Elan released her new album "What Can Be Done At This Point".

The album consists of 10 new original tracks and includes the track "What Can Be Done At This Point", song that fives the name to the album and that offers a posthumous tribute to the crew of the space shuttle "Challenger".  The track contains original audio of the transmission between the "Challenger" and mission control of the day of the unforgettable tragedy.  The rights to this audio clip were granted by NASA.

The first single from the new album is titled "Don't Want You In".

The video for "Don't Want You In" jumped straight to the Top 10 charts in videos networks like "Telehit".  It was directed by Gulliver Parascandolo who also directed the videos for "This Fool's Life" and "Whatever It Takes".

On September 10, 2007 Elan is awarded an Independant Diamond Record Award for the certified sale of 1.5 million copies of her music.

Shine (2008)

On March 10, 2008 Elan released their fourth album titled "Shine".

On April 16 the band launched their "Elan Shime Tour 2008" which kicked off in Mexico.  The "Elan Shine Tour 2008" is one of the most successful and longest running tours ever featured in Mexico by an independant band.

The tour in Mexico was originally programmed for 14 shows but the tour was so successful that it was extended and additional month into June.

Lost and Found (2009)

The band's fifth release, "Lost and Found," experimented with new ideas while reviving one of Elan's oldest compositions, "You Forget."

Recuerdos y Tequila (2009)

In 2009, Elan recorded her first album entirely sung in Spanish, called 'Recuerdos y Tequila' ('Memories and Tequila').  All of the songs are by artists like Fito Paez and Juan Gabriel.  Elan said that "it was a personal necessity to sing in Spanish and offer songs that marked my life, some of them in a personal way and others like the ones of Jose Alfredo Jimenez, which my father used to hear".

The first single is called "Al Lado del Camino" ("By side with the Road"), original of Paez.  The video was shot in Mexico City, and features Mexican actors Carmen Salinas, Tony Dalton and Aria de la Reguera.






Title Album
"Midnight" Street Child
"Street Child"
"They Came From the City"
"Be Free" London Express
"This Fool's Life"
"Whatever It Takes"
"Don't Want You In" What Can Be Done at This Point
"Made Myself Invisible"
"This Time Around"
"Shine" Shine
"Keep Me Up Late"
"Lost and Found" Lost & Found
"Al lado del camino" Recuerdos y Tequila



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