For Brooke Eden, last year was a breakthrough, personally and professionally. The singer/songwriter not only came out publicly, but also became engaged to her now-fiancée Hilary Hoover. She also released a sunny, uplifting trilogy of singles with “Sunroof,” “Got No Choice” and “No Shade” — along with videos that celebrated her romance with Hoover.
“It was very much what I wanted to hear after two very dark years of not getting to see some of my favorite people, and having to navigate so much,” Eden says of the trilogy. “It was important for me to put out positive happy songs.”
Eden, who has previously released albums including 2016’s Welcome to the Weekend, issued the trilogy of love songs independently of any album. In the spirit of her newfound freedom, Eden delves even deeper into her story on five-song EP Choosing You, out Friday (July 29) via BBR Music Group/BMG.
“It’s the first time I stopped asking what other people wanted of me and started asking what I wanted for my life,” she says. “This project hits the deeper areas of my life, the struggles, happiness and there’s always hope in my songs.”
Eden, who is managed by Maximum Artist Group, reunited with writer and producer Jesse Frasure for the project, and co-wrote every song, including the project’s first release, “Left You For Me,” the clever “Knock” and the joyous “Off the Ground.” In addition to the new release, she recently partnered with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the project “Music Matters with RIAA,” a series of events that allows artists to speak to how music can enable people to use their authentic voices.
“Music has saved me in so many ways,” Eden says. “When everything else turned its back, I always had music. Also, in this part of my life, music has been such a big part of my journey to self-empowerment and self-love.” Eden spoke with Billboard about the heightened creativity that came with making the EP.
“Left You For Me” starts off with a gut-punch of a lyric: “You get so used to being used that you forget that it’s unusual.”
I think all of us have found ourselves in different toxic situations and relationships, and it doesn’t start off toxic, but then years later you don’t recognize yourself. We wrote this song from the perspective of someone realizing that this isn’t what they wanted for their lives anymore.
You wrote this with Jon Stone and Kyle Schlienger. How did you come up with the first line?
I think that it was a very collaborative moment. We already had this chorus written that we felt so proud of, and then the hook. We started writing the first verse and were thinking about what it feels like to be in a situation that you almost feel like you can’t get out of. I said something like, “You get so used to being used that it becomes part of your everyday life,” and I think it was Jon Stone who finished the verse, and we were all instantly like, “Oh, yes. This fits perfectly.”
You reunited with Jesse Frasure for this project. What was the genesis for this EP?
We wrote “Left You For Me” right before the pandemic. I had no idea how much that song was going to mean to me through the pandemic, because I was not out yet and I was living a very secretive, closed-off life. But during the pandemic, all of the BS just went to the wayside and all the things that were important rose to the top.
I didn’t write for about five months, but I was also reading the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I just kept thinking it would be so much easier to write if I could be myself in all of these writing appointments, how much better of an artist and singer I could be if I could write from the heart. I was like, “I have to come out.” I talked to my management, I talked to my record label and they all supported me and they were like, “Let’s do this.” None of us knew what to expect: if I was gonna be accepted or thrown to the side. But I felt that even if I get rejected — at least I’m free. Coming out was a catalyst for me to be myself and write about my love and my heart.
Coming into making this album, did you feel a greater sense of freedom, as compared to your previous albums?
Oh, for sure. At the time that I was putting out the trilogy, I was in the state of hope, that things would be okay and that I would be accepted. With this EP, I’m so confident in who I am because I know I am accepted, and I want other people to feel the freedom I now feel.
You wrote “Comeback Love” with Jesse Frasure and Sarah Buxton. What inspired that?
That song came to me in a dream one night. I woke up and I had this retro-feeling melody in my head. I was writing with Sarah and Jesse the next day, and they are both so good at that retro feel. It’s just autobiographical, about falling in love. I always thought that relationships were hard, that love was heavy. When I met [Hilary], it was just easy. She made my life better, made my worries lighter. My whole perspective changed, and I wanted to make a fun song that tells that story.
Last year, you were part of a historic moment at the Grand Ole Opry when Trisha Yearwood, who your fiancée has worked with, surprised you to sing “She’s in Love With The Boy,” but changed the lyrics to “She’s in Love With the Girl.” How did that come about?
I got to open a show for Garth [Brooks] in 2019, and then this moment with Trisha happened last year. But what’s funny is I never, ever spoke to Garth or Trisha about me being a singer at all. Garth and Trisha are kind of like our Nashville family, so when they called me to do these things, I was so surprised. Trisha called me in June of last year and said, “I’ve had people come to a show and say, ‘Hey, don’t tell anyone, but I sing, “She’s in love with the girl,” or “He’s in love with the boy.”‘”
She said for 30 years, she’s wanted to do something to honor those people who have said that and that she thought it would be a great way to do it with me and celebrate my engagement to Hil. Just to have her take a stance like that for the LGBTQ+ community and just be such an ally… to have a country music icon just like stand for love was just the coolest moment ever.
You wrote “Off the Ground” during at the 30A writers retreat in Florida.
It gives me “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” vibes. I can’t not dance to it. I remember when we were recording it, Jesse had me sing it staccato in the chorus. It gives that punch in the chorus that it needs to really lift itself up. The whole song is so rhythmic, and then right at the end there’s this like breath of air that lets you relax. The song could have just stopped, but instead Jesse just let it breathe and it sounded cool.
How are wedding plans going?
We are getting married in October in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We started vacationing there last year and were like, “We have to bring everybody here.” A lot of them are coming for like five or six days, so it will be fun to spend real quality time with our family and friends.
What about music for the wedding?
I just wrote our first dance song. I was going to keep it a secret, but then I was like, “No, I can’t keep this to myself.” I played the song for her and she cried.
Was it a solo write?
I wrote it with Forrest Finn and Nolan Sipe. Nolan and his wife have been married for several years, and then Forrest just got engaged. So I was writing it with two men who are just tremendously in love, like I am. I was like, ‘This is the perfect co-write to write a wedding song, because I know that y’all love your girls like I love mine.’”