Elouen Soviac is surely the world's biggest Electric Light Orchestra fan. You doubt it? Well, how about this: Elouen is not his real name, but a title he legally adopted in 2001 after using "elouen" (a word he made up) to describe the essence of ELO's sweeping orchestral pop rock.
A teacher and composer raised in Minnesota and schooled at UCLA, he now lives in the Philippines with his wife and daughter. He says the name change symbolizes his devotion to the band.
In 1975, a 10-year-old Soviac first heard "Evil Woman" on the radio. He became an instant fan and signed up for one of those ten-records-for-a-penny album subscriptions, gradually acquiring all of ELO's catalog. As a gradeschool student, he glued pictures of the group onto his folders and notebooks.
But Soviac will have you know that his connections to ELO run deeper than just casual childhood fandom. "I was born in Laredo, Texas," he says via Skype, noting ELO's track "Laredo Tornado." His astrological sign is Leo -- get it? -- and while his girlfriend was pregnant they played the baby exclusively ELO songs. Now three months old, her name is Elouisa Ann.
Furthermore, Soviac suspects he may have ELO-related ESP. "In 1984," he says, "I dreamt that Jeff Lynne and Bryan Adams had collaborated on a music project" Seven short years later, they both contributed music to the movie soundtrack Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Coincidence?
Perhaps more remarkable is that Soviac says he has had recurring dreams of ELO-style music. That's right, he actually dreams in ELO. Soviac says these dreams come from his subconscious' desire for new ELO music. (The band hasn't released original material since 2001.) He has transcribed the songs that have come to him in dreamland and assembled them into tracks. He hopes to one day turn them into an album.
He says that if he ever gets the chance to meet the group's leader Jeff Lynne, he'd offer the rock icon "at least ten" of his songs to "do with whatever he wants." If that never happens, Soviac says he still plans to dedicate his album to Lynne and the band.
Somehow. Soviac has never seen ELO play live, although he's been close...
On October 30, 1981, he was in the Twin Cities for a high school track and field event. ELO was playing a show in town that night, but he wasn't allowed to attend. Then, when he was studying abroad in Munich, the group played a show hundreds of miles away in Dortmund, but Soviac couldn't make it. "It's weird," he says of these near misses.
Regardless, Soviac has spread the ELO-gospel to friends in southeast Asia and beyond, including to a man in New Delhi. "He has been thanking me for the last 13 years," Soviac says. "He's so grateful."
Soviac says that all of these things make him feel more connected to what he calls the "ELO idea."
Before signing off of Skype, he sings some of his dream-inspired ELO-style compositions, accompanying himself on piano. Indeed, they sound remarkably ELO-like, even if his falsetto isn't perfect and the piano playing is basic. The song sounds a lot like a lullaby, and Elouise Ann's crying can be heard in the background.
"I really do feel," Elouen says, "that I am a very unique ELO fan."
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