Freedom Over Texas
In her brazen new single "Daddy's Money," Brooke Eden concisely lays out her doctrine: work hard, use what you have and never ever rely on someone else for your success. While the young singer has always had the support of her father and mother, she didn't benefit from the parental pocketbook. In fact, as the daughter of a carpenter who moonlighted as a drummer in a country band, Brooke adopted the scrappy underdog mentality and stamped it all over her soulful and bluesy brand of country music.
"My parents never had a lot of money, but they made sure I had their support behind me: 'We can't buy your way in, but you can do it — you just have to work a little bit harder,'" says Brooke, recalling her folks' insight.
Clearly, the Florida native — who grew up midway between the sands of West Palm Beach and the swamps of the Okeechobee — was paying attention. "You don't have to come from a super affluent family to become what you want to be," she says. In songs like "Daddy's Money" and the clever girl-power anthem "Sunday Morning," as well as live onstage, Brooke is a confident and commanding vocalist, poised to follow in the footsteps of her chief country inspiration and BBR Music Group labelmate, Jason Aldean.
"I like strong voices," says Brooke, who cites vocal influences ranging from Shania Twain to Etta James. "Women didn't always get to sing about receiving respect, but those women commanded it. And with Jason, I just love how he mixes rock into country. As a musician, you're constantly studying other artists and making things your own."
Brooke — who announced her arrival with the Sirius/XM The Highway staple "American Dreamin'" — has been keenly listening to other singers and musicians since she was just six years old, soaking in every note as she watched her dad's band play throughout southeast Florida. An accomplished performer at 13, she opened for big names like Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn all the while working her way through school to earn a degree in marketing from the University of Florida. A stint as a bartender followed, until her boss heard her sing, and promptly fired her — "You'll thank me later," he said.
Relocating to Nashville, she headed straight to the honky-tonk Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and landed a recurring gig on its world-famous stage. Soon, she was writing her own songs under the tutelage of Tootsie's gregarious bandleader, the late Greg Humphrey, who identified her already-refined chops as an entertainer. "He said, 'Honey, this is honky-tonk school, but if I'm right, I think you've already been through honky-tonk school.' He introduced me to people and they introduced me to other people…" says Brooke, singling out Kallie North and Jessy Wilson of the Muddy Magnolias, who co-wrote "Daddy's Money" inspired by Brooke herself.
"Kallie and I lived together, but I'd go home every two weeks to Florida to make money by playing shows," Brooke says. "Kallie said one time, 'Please don't take this the wrong way, but I always assumed you came from money.' I said, 'Girl, I never had daddy's money!' Two days later, she called me when I was still in Florida and said she had written the song."
Now, "Daddy's Money" has become the cornerstone of Brooke's command-respect mindset. An accomplished songwriter herself who’s written over 100 songs in the past year alone, Brooke furthers that mindset in the equally strong "Sunday Morning." Written by Brooke with #1 songwriter Justin Wilson, the song boasts one of the most country turns-of-phrase in recent years.
"Dating in 2015 is just friends with benefits. It's a super messed-up world we're living in," says the down-to-earth chanteuse. “I wrote the song after getting an early-Sunday morning call from a friend to pick her up at a guy's house. My friend said that he left her there all alone, without even saying bye!”
Continues Brooke, “I told her, 'That is NOT ok. If you're going to be his Saturday night, you'd better be his Sunday morning!' And that became the chorus."
For Brooke, self-respect is paramount, especially for women. But she doesn't flaunt it via tough talk or lyrics about shotguns. Instead, she exudes it gracefully.
"Anytime I've demanded respect, I've gotten it. You're treated the way you want to be," says Brooke, who is wrapping up work on her full-length RED BOW Records debut.
"Everybody's story is different, and I've had to be really patient to get where I am in my life and career," she says. "But I've always believed that, just as my parents said, I could do it. It's all about constantly having faith that you were put here to do something special."
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