Since he appeared on the seventeenth season of “The Voice,” Santa Barbara-born singer-songwriter Mendeleyev has been riding what he called a “post-show wave,” which will make a local stop at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on December 10. The 28-year-old musician’s latest concert at the venue will find him sticking to the acoustic music he displayed on the singing competition, though he told the News-Press that his performance will show him mixing the “folky” sounds for which he is most known with electronic sounds. It will also feature performances of two yet to be released songs: “Show Me the Way Home,” and a cover of the Bob Dylan classic he performed on his audition for “The Voice,” “Girl From the North Country.” A recording of the latter will be released on Spotify the same day as the SOhO gig.
Mendeleyev Allan-Blitz ’s introduction to music came through his family. His mother played bass and his father played guitar, which has been his own instrument of choice since he was a child.
“A guitar has been in my hand since I was a little kid,” he said.
While his two brothers were each named after famous philosophers and comedians, Mendeleyev was named after famous scientists. While his first name refers to Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev, his full name references many more famous individuals. In conversation he goes by the nickname “Lev,” but his full name is Mendeleyev Galileo Einstein Pythagoras Darwin Elucid Leonardo Allan-Blitz, a fact that visibly surprised judges on “The Voice.”
During his teenage years, Mendeleyev attended Dos Pueblos High School, where he did music and theater. He then attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, with a focus on guitar.
As a songwriter, many of his lyrics are focused on intense experiences he has gone through, some of which happened in Santa Barbara. In 2008, his house burned down in the Tea Fire, kicking off a period of writing about lost possessions that he thought were integral parts of his identity. As of late he has been writing about his mother, who passed away last May.
Recalling his time competing on “The Voice,” Mendeleyev called it “one of the best experiences of my life.” Performing on the show as part of Team Legend, under the coaching of R&B singer John Legend, Mendeleyev made it as far as the show’s “battles” section, where he was beaten by Preston C. Howell. During the show’s blind audition, he performed Mr. Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” and delivered a performance that got judges Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Blake Shelton all to turn their chairs around. When asked about what that particular song means to him, the singer-songwriter told the News-Press that it’s a favorite from his formative years.
“My parents raised me with a lot of ‘60s folk music, so Bob Dylan was right at the top of the list,” he said.
He added that the song provides him an opportunity to play in a “slow, low, and chill” manner as opposed to the way he usually tends to “rage” when performing. His favorite original composition “Pure” features his more usual style of singing and can be seen on YouTube in its music video, which was shot all over Santa Barbara.Tickets for Mendeleyev’s December 10 performance at SOhO can be purchased online at www.sohosb.com. Doors to the venue will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:00 p.m. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club is located at 1221 State St.