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Idris Elba Wants to ‘Lean Away’ From Acting to Focus on Music: It Was an ‘Internal Struggle’

Why Idris Elba Wants to 'Lean Away' From Acting to Focus on Making Music
Idris Elba. Richard Young/Shutterstock

Shifting priorities. While Idris Elba is known for his successful film career, he’s equally passionate about his musical ambitions, even performing anticipated DJ sets at the likes of Coachella and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding. Now, he’s planning to “lean away from acting work” to prioritize his musical pursuits.

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“Some may think, ‘Well, it will be the death of your acting if your music’s s—t.’ I’ve dealt with the internal struggle of that over the years,” the Luther alum 49, told Vanity Fair in an interview published earlier this month. “So now I’m at peace and I’ve chosen: This is what I’m doing, and I’m going to do it. Some will love it and some will hate it.”

The England native further opened up about his musical journey through the years.

“The thing about making music is it’s a very consuming process,” he told the outlet. “It’s very difficult to shoot a movie and then go off into the studio or make a song. It’s like trying to build a soufflé while making a brick wall.”

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Elba, who previously played a DJ in 2019’s Turn Up Charlie Netflix series, provided an energetic setlist for the May 2018 royal nuptials of the Suits alum, 40, and the Duke of Sussex, 37.

“A lot of tunes went off,” the Harder They Fall actor said, playing coy during a July 2019 appearance on BBC Radio 1Xtra. “Meghan sent me a playlist with some bare tunes on it. … There was some West Coast on it. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not gonna put their business out like that, that’s not fair. Ask Meghan and Harry.”

Elba — who performs under the moniker “Driis” — followed up his royal gig with an anticipated set at California’s Coachella music festival nearly one year later.

“No rehearsals,” the Thor: Ragnarok actor exclusively teased to Us Weekly in March 2019 ahead of the performance. “I’ve got a two-hour set, so I’m just going to bang some great records together. I’m in a dance tent with other DJs who play what I play, so hopefully we’re just going to bring some energy.”

He added at the time: “Deejaying is great, man. I’ve had a great few years doing it, doing it where people know more about it, doing Coachella this year. Coachella is a big deal. I’m excited about that.”

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The Golden Globe winner previously hoped to shift his focus from acting to music shortly after making his MCU debut in 2011’s Thor.

“This year, I’m not going to work as an actor and I’m going to put my mind into music. It’s a progression thing with me,” Elba told the U.K.’s Evening Standard in March 2013. “I want to make music but I don’t want to shove it down people’s throats. People are just barely getting to know me as an actor. But I do it from the heart, I’m not doing it for money — I just enjoy doing it.”

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