Rocker, 19, stays ahead of the game


Followers of the Youngstown rock scene might remember Elliott Didur.

He made a name for himself back in 2009 as the driving force behind the band Magma – which was noteworthy because all three members were only 12 years old. Magma played dozens of gigs in the area for a couple of years.

Fast forward to the present, where Didur – now at 19 – is living in Nashville and well on his way to a career in music.

He just released an album, “Battle Cry,” along with a set of videos, and also works as a songwriter. “Battle Cry” was released on iTunes on Sept. 30 and is available at all online music retailers.

Careerwise, the 2015 Boardman High School graduate is well ahead of the curve. Not surprisingly, he has never been afraid to travel to make things happen.

When he was in sixth grade at Boardman Center Middle School, Didur attended the Paul Green School of Rock Music in Cleveland, which molds budding rockers. The guitarist in Didur’s current band is Brendan Schulman, a chum from his School of Rock days.

In 2012, Didur cranked out a demo tape with local producer Todd Maki, and set out to get in the hands of Grammy-nominated producer Scotty Wilbanks (Third Day, Needtobreathe).

Didur learned that Wilbanks was going to be on a rock cruise out of Alaska, and made sure that he was on it, with his demo. He was 13 at the time.

His plan worked to a T. Didur crossed paths with the producer aboard the ship and struck up a working friendship.

“He was near us and asked me a question about something, and I said, ‘Aren’t you Scotty Wilbanks?’” said Didur.

He gave Wilbanks his music demo and the two kept in touch, with Didur sending more of his work and the producer responding with feedback on his songwriting.

“He planted seeds in my brain for writing songs – lyrics and melody,” said Didur. “Eventually, I had enough to make a record.”

In 2014, Didur made several trips to Nashville, where he hired session musicians and recorded the 10-song “Battle Cry” album.

“For a record like this, there was a lot of going back and forth,” he said.

The energetic and youthful pop of “Battle Cry” is in the vein of bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons, with the commercial sensibility of Maroon Five, Lifehouse and One Republic.

“It’s aimed at teens through 30s, but I like to think it’s universal for all people,” said Didur.

Not surprisingly, the album is very polished and radio-ready.

“Making this record was like going to school,” said Didur. “It was a crash course in starting a career, and I’m happy with how it turned out.”

To maximize his exposure, Didur and his management team produced a series of four videos for songs on the album that, when viewed as one, become a short film. The videos tell the story of a young girl in crisis and the consequences of the choices she will make. A battle ensues for her future that requires her to travel back into her past.

The video film is an ingenious marriage of art and marketing that can be viewed on his Facebook page (elliottdidurmusic) and soon, on video sites. It was created by writer/director Michael Birkland and produced by Birkland and Executive Producer Loren Johnson.

One of the four songs, “Wishing Well,” seems to be the most popular among viewers.

For the near future, Didur and his manager will focus on getting the album before the public, via streaming and other sources, and also scheduling live performances.

Didur also is building the other half of his music career by pitching songs to music publishers and working as a co-writer for other artists.