Inspired by his mother who was also a pianist, Elias formed his first group in the 1960's. He continued to hone his skills through the seventies and became one of the pioneering figures to have brought Reggae music to the bay area with the smash hit group Obeah and The Rastafarians.
It wasn't long before he started to work and perform with international stars including Dennis Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Steele Pulse, and Third World. He has also musically contributed to hit shows such as Murder She Wrote and Natalie Cole's Big Break production.
Elias was also the composer for the Soundtrack of the show Glitz starring Jimmy Smith and Markey Post. In addition to the extensive collaborative work with many musicians, Elias has traveled the globe playing for thousands of people on cruise ships and large stadiums alike. His music has inspired listeners from across the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.
In 1997, Elias released his first instrumental CD entitled "Fikir" (Love) which can be found on the CD holder of every Ethiopian music lover. Elias takes classical love songs and applies Jazz and Reggae sounds to create a contemporary fusion. He followed that extraordinary work by extending to the World Music category by releasing "Harrambe" (Let's Pull Together). Harrambe symbolizes the trajectory that Elias has taken in his music journey including the title song which depicts his experience in Kenya, his formal training in Jazz Improvisation, and his penchant for combining American Jazz with African Melodies. Critics have raved about his ability to retain the melodic integrity of Ethiopian music and add contemporary arrangements to create new sounds.
Today, Elias is a sought after music engineer where he provides his special keyboard touch to support the work of other musicians. In fact, he just completed a Soundtrack that used a thirty piece orchestra for an AIDS documentary, Zemad's Journey with Professor Adugna Worku. JJ Hollingsworth produced the Soundtrack which is first due to air on December 30th on KCSM Channel 60, and will be viewed nationwide in the spring of 2004. Presently, Elias is putting together his next solo album in between consulting other musicians at his state-of-the art recording studio.