LeAnna Eden has struck out on her own, but in the end, that wasn’t a long leap to make.
The singer/songwriter and former frontwoman of LeAnna Eden and the Garden of released the first single from her first solo album, Ease Your Soul, Chapman, this week.
She’ll celebrate with a release party at Midwood Guitar Studio, where most of it was recorded, on May 31, but first comes a video release party at Petra’s on March 21.
Going through the recording process on her own was a new-but-familiar experience for Eden.
“It was weird, coming to terms with the fact that this is my music, and owning it and not trying to share it with other people in that kind of way,” she said over the phone as she drove back from Tennessee, where she spent Friday night watching a friend perform.
“Even when it was LeAnna Eden and the Garden of, it’s never really been like a democratic band,” she continued. “It’s not like The Business People, who are literally a collective of people writing music together. It’s been me first, like, ‘No, this is what I want to do and this is what I hear, let’s do it,’ and trying to convince people to do what I want, but also sharing it. Coming to terms with the fact that I’ve always been a solo artist has been difficult.”
In her first single, “Don’t Forget to Say Goodbye,” Eden deals head-on with the death of her brother, who passed away in April 2018. The folk-blues track is simultaneously haunting and uplifting, reminiscent of Rhiannon Giddens with an electric guitar.
She enlisted Joel Weldon Willis with Misfit Music N.C. to help write and produce the track. Willis helped her purge the emotions she had kept inside since her brother’s death, in order to express them in song, she said.
“It was a couple months after it happened. Joel and I were sitting there, I came up with the chorus really easily, which is, ‘Let’s go outside, and dance away the death inside,’” she recalled. “That came out really, really quickly. But I feel like Joel was pulling the verses out of me, like, ‘You can do this.’”
What came out was a stirring, heartfelt track. Expect personal lyrical content in the same vein throughout Ease Your Soul, Chapman, which Eden said serves as a letter to her birth mother, whose last name is Chapman.
“I’m really good at pretending that bad things aren’t happening,” she said. “All this music that’s going to be on the album, I’ve been writing it for like 10 years. Some of it, I listen to it and I’m like, ‘Oh, I wrote that when I was like 19, and this exact situation is happening five years later.’ So I feel like sometimes things that I write are almost prophetic of my life, but some of it is also forceful reflection that needs to happen in order to be a functioning human.”
While much of the album will touch on personal struggles and experiences, that doesn’t mean fans should expect the tracks to all sound similar, which comes as no surprise to folks who have followed Eden’s musical career since arriving in Charlotte from her native Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her diversity of styles has ranged from acoustic singer/songwriter to rock lead to hip-hop feature.
Fans should expect all of that and more when the album drops, Eden said.
“The album is sort of all over the place,” she said. “There’s a little bit of every kind of genre that basically showcases all my favorite kinds of music.”