Teen journalist makes it big turning passion into a profession
By Amanda Lozada
A New Jersey teen is “Almost Famous.”
Eli Zeger, 16, has become a music-journalism phenom, reviewing bands for major outlets such as Vice and The Huffington Post and turning his career into a real-life version of Cameron Crowe’s 2000 coming-of-age flick.
“‘Almost Famous’ was a big catalyst for me,” Zeger told The Post of the film, a portrayal of Crowe’s days as a kid journalist for Rolling Stone. “Just seeing that a teen could have that much success.”
Zeger was such a big fan of Crowe, he reached out to the director’s people in 2012 — and heard back almost immediately.
“To Eli . . . Wishing you the very best in your writing career! . . . Whole lotta love, Cameron,” Crowe wrote.
“It was exciting to get,” Zeger said.
The Jersey teen started his journalism odyssey in 2013 after attempts to start his own band stalled.
His first piece, for a blog called Undergrind Zine, took a look at an album featuring a group of screaming heavy-metal acts.
“You can listen to this record on a pair of Hello Kitty speakers,” he wrote. “But the brutal blast-beats and breakdowns make you feel like you’re in the middle of a mosh pit at MetLife Stadium.”
He has since worked for nearly half a dozen major publications — including the New York Observer — becoming the youngest writer at each.
The Montclair HS student also pens pieces for Vice’s music section, Noisey, where he got his first paycheck in December.
“Getting paid felt great,” Zeger said.
Now, the teen’s own band, Jacobus, is taking off and has an EP coming out.
After high school, Zeger wants to head south to hone his writing.
“My top choice right now is Emory [University] in Atlanta,” he said. “Of everywhere I looked, it’s the best writing school and I definitely want that.”Eli Zeger