Ansel Elgort First Released EDM Music Under a Pseudonym Because He Didn't Want to 'Use My Name to Book Gigs'
Most might recognize Ansel Elgort from his teen heartthrob status-making turn in The Fault in Our Stars or the Divergent series – but he’s actually a respected music producer, too.
Earlier this month, the crossover star released his new electronic single, “Home Alone.” And while it’s the first song he’s released under his given name, he’s actually been recording music and playing EDM festivals including Electric Zoo under the pseudonym “Ansolo” for a couple years.
“I really respect the dance music industry. I didn’t want to come in and abuse the fact I was an actor and use my name to book gigs,” Elgort, 22, tells PEOPLE. “I’m not getting into music because I need to – I have a bunch of movies coming out. I just do this because I love it.”
As “Ansolo,” Elgort will continue to produce dance and club music. But as Ansel Elgort, he’ll produce the tracks, in addition to singing on them.
And while he recently signed with Island Records, the label team didn’t actually know he could sing!
“I went in to play them some new records, and because they signed me as ‘Ansolo,’ they were expecting club music,” he says of a recent meeting. “I played them a few demos of me singing, and they were like, ‘Wow, the voice is really cool. Who is it?’ I was like, ‘It’s me!'”
As for putting his own name on his new music, Elgort simply sees it as a natural evolution.
“I feel like it’s not even a transition; it’s just a growth in my life as an artist,” he says. “Recently I decided I wanted to try and produce my own songs and write a song. And when I did that, I realized, ‘Oh, this could be really fun and really creative and really open.'”
Elgort says he appreciates the creative freedom music offers.
“As an actor, you can only really work when you’re on set and the right movie comes along,” he explains. “As a musician, I can make a piece of music any day, and anything can happen that day, and it’s all me.”
And while he knows some might question his motives for making music, he doesn’t care.
“I think there’s always gonna be some sort of stigma, because for whatever reason, society likes to say, ‘He’s an actor, so that’s what he does, and he’s not allowed to venture outside of that,'” says Elgort. “But I just wanted to make something I loved and put it out. I don’t want the peak of my career to be when I was 19 years old and in that one movie.”
Adds the star: “I’m very proud of my past and really happy with how everything’s going, but I think it’s only the beginning.”