Pop Star Eden xo on "Too Cool to Dance" Single & Why Selfies Suck
You may not be familiar with up-and-coming pop singer Eden xo just yet, but trust me: that's about to change. The 25-year-old artist's infectious and uplifting new single, "Too Cool to Dance," is heating up Top 40 radio, and she's "very, very excited" to release her debut album. So, how did Eden get her start in the music industry? She tells Bustle during a recent interview that she pretty much "always knew" she wanted to become a pop star — even at the age of six.
"People at school would be like, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' And I just always knew I wanted to be a musician and I wanted to perform and make music and give concerts and movies and the whole thing. I was just always really drawn to entertainment."
For Eden, listening to music was more than just a hobby — it was a way to escape the "tumultuous household" that she grew up in: "My way to deal with things was to go into my bedroom and turn up my stereo really loud and dance around in my mirror, and all the things you kind of hear that might seem cliché, like the hairbrush thing, but it’s really true."
After graduating high school early and moving to L.A., Eden started pop-punk band Shut Up Stella and was "pretty quickly" signed by Epic Records. She recalls thinking at the time, "Oh, this is so easy! Yeah! I'm going to be a rockstar! Amazing."
Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. In 2008, Shut Up Stella was dropped by Epic — but for Eden, giving up was not an option: "This is just something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m such a dreamer and I’m a fighter, and I feel like I’m just not going to stop until I get there, you know?"
She kept making music. In fact, in 2011, she opened for Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale tour under the name Jessie and the Toy Boys. She even scored a top 10 hit with her song "Push It" on the Billboard Dance chart. In 2013, Eden inked a new recording contract with Virgin Records. "Too Cool to Dance" premiered this past June. Eden lights up when asked to talk about the song. She says that it changed her life:
"... 'Too Cool to Dance' is not just a pop song for me, it’s really about a movement. And the inspiration behind the song has changed my life. I went through all this time growing and evolving as a person, and for a long time, I was really concerned about 'What do other people think about me?' And that limits you. It limits your creativity, it limits you as a person, and 'Too Cool to Dance' is the opposite of that."
"I’ve said it before, but it’s an anthem of liberation and it’s all about not caring what other people think, being yourself, and not being too cool to dance. It’s such a strong message in such simple packaging. … I really want to try to inspire young girls, young guys, everyone, really, all ages, to just let go and not be too cool to dance in every sense of the term ... Just stop caring about what other people think and just do you, you know?"
The track has also helped her to focus on what she calls "living in the moment":
"I’ve been in the VIP. I’ve seen it all. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s boring in the VIP! Everybody’s so self-conscious about what they’re doing, how their selfies look, what they’re wearing, what drink they’re drinking, and you don’t have fun that way," she explained.
"It’s weird, we’re in such a ... digital age, and everything’s on Instagram and everything’s very photo-centric, and I get it to a certain extent, but at the same time, it’s stopping us from living in the moment. And that’s been the biggest thing that’s changed for me as a person and as an artist over the last couple years. I’ve just really decided to take a stance and live more in the moment and enjoy the moment and not be stressed out about, like, 'How is this photo going to look?'"
Eden's encouraging fans to prove they're not too cool to dance by shooting videos of their best moves and submitting them online at toocooltodance.com as a part of a special contest. The grand prize is a trip to L.A. to star in Eden's next music video. I have to say, it all sounds pretty tempting.
So, what's next for Eden? Well, she's written "a bunch of songs" for her debut album and is currently deciding which ones will make the final cut. Sonically, she says that the LP was inspired by Madonna's music from the early '80s (which is amazing news), and that producer and songwriter Jesse Shatkin, whose resumé includes Sia's smash hit, "Chandelier," is one of her main collaborators. The entire project is being overseen by Ron Fair — a legendary label executive, songwriter, and producer who's worked with everyone from Mary J. Blige to Lady Gaga. In other words, the album's in really good hands. I can't wait to hear it!
Keep an eye on Eden xo, people. There's no doubt in my mind that she has the talent, the drive, and, most importantly, the music, to make it big.
Images: Capitol Records; Epic Records; EdenXOVEVO/YouTube