Brooke Eden learned to love herself after falling in love

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country singer Brooke Eden is beaming with the glow that engaged people have as she counts down the days until her upcoming beach wedding, chats about travel arrangements and mothers-in-law connecting over text messages.

For the Florida-born singer, falling in love went hand-in-hand with learning to love yourself. That meant taking care of herself after long touring had left her physically ill, but also re-introducing herself to fans.

“This chapter of writing music was the first time I wrote just for myself,” said Eden, whose new EP Choosing You was released in July. “I didn’t write about what other people wanted from me or what other people wanted from me. I really wrote my heart out, and it’s the first time I’ve really written like this in this self-love chapter of my life.”

Eden released her first new music in years in 2021 with a trilogy of sunny singles, including the Motown-inspired “Sunroof,” which introduced the world to her longtime friend, now fiancé, Hilary Hoover. Her follow-up EP this summer delved deeper into the sound of soulful country-pop as Eden explored her personal growth and resilience.

Eden spoke to The Associated Press about her decision to come out as queer publicly, escape toxic situations and have a viral moment with country star Trisha Yearwood. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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AP: The track “Left You For Me” is about escaping a bad relationship by learning to love yourself first. What did this news mean to you?

Eden: For me, this song meant that I let go of all those expectations of what other people thought my life was. My own expectations of my life. And that was really the first time in my life where I asked myself, “What would make you happy? What would make you feel like the best version of yourself?” And that was the first time I did that.

AP: The EP is written from the perspective of a person in love and you became engaged to Hilary during the process. How much of the music reflects your private life?

Eden: I write about love all the time because it was so alien to me until I met my fiancee. I never understood Taylor Swift until 6 1/2 years ago because I was like, “Tears on your guitar?” Like, girl, get over him. He’s an idiot, whatever. And now I’m like, oh my god. If that ever happened to me, I’d be crying on my guitar too! This is how love made me understand life so much better. And it helped me become a better writer. And I’m sure a better friend, more empathetic and understanding. And that goes into my songwriting. It’s really cool to be able to write about what love should feel like and what love shouldn’t feel like from a first-person perspective.

AP: Why did you decide it was time to come out publicly?

Eden: It took me five years to be in the best relationship of my life — with who I knew was the love of my life — before I finally came out. And so for me it was a few different factors that led to me finally coming out. One was that I was actually physically ill. I developed ulcers in my small intestine that could not be cured with medication. They were only curable by coming to terms with myself and aligning with who I was. And that was a big aha moment like, ‘OK, if I want to be a healthy person, I can’t just be physically healthy. I have to be sane too.” And you can’t be sane if you’re hiding a big part of who you are… And I was reading a book called Untamed by Glennon Doyle and she was talking about integrity and just defined it clearly as integrity is when you are to the world who you are in your home. And I realized that I was living my life without integrity. And then I didn’t want to go on with my life without integrity. So I yelled at Hillary, my fiancee, and said, ‘Babe, I just had this aha moment. I have to get out.” And she said, “Finally, thank God, praise the Lord.”

AP: There was this video that was popular on social media last year when Trisha Yearwood introduced you to the Grand Ole Opry. And she changed the lyrics of her famous song, “She’s in Love with the Boy,” for you both to sing. What does it mean that she supports you in this way?

Eden: She said, “People would come up to me after shows and be like, ‘Hey, don’t tell anyone, but I’ll sing,’ ‘He’s in love with the boy,’ or don’t tell anyone, but I’ll sing ‘She’ in love with the girl. ‘” And she says, “I’ve always wanted to have a moment for it, and I just don’t think there could be a better moment than to celebrate your engagement and Pride Month and the 30th anniversary of this song.” .. And just to hear the reaction we got from the Opry crowd, it just made me feel like there was a whole new wave of country music happening and everyone’s invited and everyone has a place here. And here there is a safe place for the LGBTQ community and also other marginalized communities here in country music…. It was so huge. And to have an iconic person like Trisha Yearwood as a voice of love is love and saying it not only from, but actually puts those words into action ate the whole world.

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Online: https://www.brookeeden.com

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Follow Kristin M. Hall at https://twitter.com/kmhall

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