Eli 'Paperboy' Reed Shares 'Bank Robber' From '99 Cent Dreams': Premiere

Eli Paperboy Reed
Roberto Chamorro

Eli Paperboy Reed

It was an odd experience for Eli "Paperboy" Reed, at just 35, to be "the older generation" in writing "Bank Robber," premiering below and here from his upcoming new album 99 Cent Dreams.

Reed wrote the track with Aaron Frazer, the drummer and singer from upstart R&B troupe Duran Jones & The Indications and a collaborator in Reed's gospel side project The Flying Stars. "He's become one of my go-to guys," Reed tells Billboard about Frazer. "He would come over to my apartment and we'd sit with piano and guitar and just write and really enjoy bouncing ideas off each other. ('Bank Robber') is something that came out of that." Co-writing with Frazer became an eye-opener for Reed, who acknowledges channeling a bit of vintage Sam Cooke into his vocals on the song, as well.

"Those guys are a little bit younger than me," he notes. "It makes me happy, and in some ways surprised, that soul music of this type is continuing to be part of popular culture. But I don't think it's ever going to go away. The idea of calling it a fad or a revival or whatever doesn't make sense anymore. It's become just part of the lexicon, like it always was."

Reed is particularly comfortable in the genre on 99 Cent Dreams, which he recorded during two weeks in Memphis with producer Matt Ross-Spring (Jason Isbell, Margo Price). Following 2016's My Way Home, which found Reed settling back into soul after a couple of mainstream-seeking major label outings before it, Reed is confident he's adopted "a more mature perspective" -- not to mention happiness with a two-year-old daughter and another child on the way -- that infuses the album's 12 songs with an ebullient spirit.

"I think as I get older I kind of realize what I'm good at and what makes sense for me and also what my fans what to hear from me," says Reed, who releases 99 Cent Dreams on April 12 and plans to start touring in May. "There's no shame in doing that. It's incredibly satisfying to make those kinds of records, and I also think I'm making them better now than I ever did in the past. When we recorded there weren't a lot of questions being asked; The decisions were being made by the songs and what they called for. Both Matt and myself understood implicitly what we were looking for. We went in to do it, and we did it."

99 Cent Dreams Track List

1. News You Can Use 
2. Said She Would 
3. Bank Robber 
4. 99 Cent Dreams
5. Holiday
6. Coulda Had This 
7. Trying 
8. Burn Me Up 
9. Lovers Compensation 
10. In The End 
11. A New Song
12. Couldn't Find A Way