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Eli Menezes is a Brazilian multi instrumentalist, producer and arranger. Raised in Rio de Janeiro, he began his playing at the early age of 12 on bass and his interest later on expanded to other instruments such as electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion and keyboards while producing and arranging for local artists. 


In late 1999, Eli lived in Florida for a short period of time until finally settling in New York City in the spring of 2000. Shortly after moving to NYC, he began playing for numerous established artists and musicians which further cultivated his talent, taking him to a new level in his craft. His versatile musicianship lends itself to any genre of music.



Coming from a church background, Eli started playing gospel music in the early 2000s. During that time he had the opportunity to record on the Somethin’ About Love album by Fred Hammond, which was his first work with a major artist since moving to the US. From there he also got to work with other gospel artists such as Marvin Sapp, Donald Lawrence, Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) among others. 


A few years later, he did a few shows with Lauryn Hill and that was his first time traveling to Asia. Later that same year, Eli became part of the Richard Bona Group touring all over Europe, Japan and Africa. He continues to occasionally work with Bona to this day. 


From there things kept getting busier. Eli worked for a Brazilian label with Bossa Nova giants Roberto Menescal and Raymundo Bittencourt for a few years, then eventually returning to the touring world with musical artists such as German/Nigerian artist Ayo, Estelle, Chrissette Michelle, Rita Ora, and others. 

A man holding a guitar.
A man in a blazer and hat.

World Stages to

Studio Production

Eli eventually met Fugees’ bassist and producer Jerry Wonda. That relationship started a long stream of studio sessions which led to Eli working with numerous pop and R&B artists such as Ashanti, Jennifer Hudson, and Fantasia. He played on the soundtrack of Think Like a Man with Keri Hilson and Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never movie to name a few. 


By being a multi instrumentalist and recording engineer, Eli also developed a great relationship with Grammy winning producer and mixing engineer Scott Jacoby, whom he consistently works with. That led to working with Ronnie Spector from the Ronettes, Natasha Bedingfield, Kori Withers (Bill Withers’ daughter) and many more. He recorded for Mexican superstar Thalia, produced by the legendary Latin producer Sergio George. 


He has shared the stage and/or studio with many other artists including Faith Evans, Meshell N’degeocello, H.E.R., Common, Victory Boyd & Infinity Song, BERA, Melanie Fiona, Trey Songz, Lucy Woodward, David Grissom, Melba Moore, Syleena Johnson, Anthony Hamilton, Leni Stern, Angie Stone, Blk Odyssey, Aaradhna, Abraham Laboriel, plus Brazilian Artists Leni Andrade, Wanda Sa and BossaCucaNova. In addition to his tenured experience, he curated commercial music for Samsung and Bank Of America. 


Alongside an extensive schedule with sessions and live shows for both major and independent artists all around the globe, Eli is a solo artist of his own and a core member of EMP3 which is a trio consisting of long time friends and musical collaborators Manny Laine and Patrick Andy.

Eli Menezes and

Gritty Sunset Today

Back in 2019, Eli met Courtney Gayle at a gig where her best friend was the lead singer. Soon after, they started performing as a duo for different venues and events in NYC. That was the beginning of Gritty Sunset, a versatile musical duo for all special occasions like corporate events, parties, weddings or any event where a professional, classy, and talented live band is required.  


After living in New York City for 20 years, Eli relocated with Courtney to Austin, Texas in September of 2020 where Gritty Sunset continues to charm audiences of all kinds. Eli had mentioned, “One of the great things about Gritty Sunset is that it’s not just another cover duo or cover band. There are unique arrangements and moments that always sound and feel both refreshing and original.” With that, he is excited to be writing and producing new original music with Courtney which they can’t wait to release in 2023!

For more information about Eli Menezes check out his website at

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