Brooke Eden learned to love herself after falling in love

Brooke Eden Portrait Session (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Country singer Brooke Eden glows with that glow that engaged people have as she counts down the days to her upcoming seaside wedding, chatting about travel arrangements and bonding in-laws over text messages.

For the Florida-born singer, falling in love came hand in hand with learning to love yourself too. That meant taking care of herself after long periods of touring had left her physically ill, but also reintroducing 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 wasn’t writing about what other people wanted me to say or what other people wanted me to write. I was actually writing from my heart, and it’s the first time I’ve actually written within that self-love chapter of my life.”

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

Eden spoke with the Associated Press about her decision to come out publicly as queer, 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 because you learned to love yourself first. What did this message mean to you?

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

AP: The EP was written from the perspective of someone in love and you became engaged to Hilary in the process. How much of the music reflects your personal life?

Eden: I write about love constantly because it’s something that was so strange to me until I met my fiancée. Like, I never understood Taylor Swift until 6 and a half years ago because I was like, “Tears on her guitar?” Like, girl, get over him. He’s an idiot, whatever. And now I’m like, Oh my God. If that happened to me, I’d be crying into my guitar too! So love made me understand life a lot more. And that helped me become a better writer. And I’m sure a better friend, more empathetic and understanding. And that goes into my composition. It’s really cool to write about it from a first-person perspective that this is how love should be and this is how love shouldn’t be.

AP: What made 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 – even to finally come out. And so, for me, it was a couple of different factors that led me to finally come out. One was that I was physically sick. I have ulcers in my small intestine that cannot be cured by medicine. They were only curable if I got myself right and aligned myself with who I was. And so that was a big moment of light like, “OK, if I want to be a healthy human, I can’t just be physically healthy. I also have to be mentally healthy.” And you can’t be mentally healthy 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 she clearly defined what integrity is when you are for the world who you are in your home. And I realized that I was living my life without integrity. And so I didn’t want to continue to live my life without integrity. So I yelled at Hillary, my fiancee, and I was like, “Babe, I just had this moment of light. I have to get out.” And she said, “Finally, thank God, praise the Lord.”

AP: There was a video that became popular on social media last year of Trisha Yearwood introducing you to the Grand Ole Opry. And she changed the lyrics to her famous song “She’s in Love With the Boy” so the two of you could sing it. What does it mean to have her support you in this way?

Eden: She was like, “People come up to me after shows and say, ‘Hey, don’t tell anyone, but I sing ‘He’s in love with the boy’ or don’t tell anyone, but I sing ‘She’s in love with the boy. girl.’” And she said, “I always wanted to take a moment for this, and I don’t think there could be a better time than celebrating your engagement and Pride Month and the 30th anniversary of this song.” … And just to get the reaction we got from the Opry audience, it made me feel like a new wave of country music is happening and everyone is invited and everyone has a place here. And there is a safe place here for the LGBTQ community and also other marginalized communities here in country music. … It was so big. And to have someone as iconic as Trisha Yearwood be the spokesperson for love is love and not just saying it, but actually putting those words into action. It meant 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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