Combining honest lyrics, soulful musicianship and a voice that recalls Sara Barielles and Jewel, the music of Erin Eades has evolved since she began writing songs at 15. After moving to Kansas City three years ago, the cit has played a big role in accelerating Eades's presence as an emerging singer-songwriter and performer. We are excited to share an illuminating interview with Eades, as well as her music, movie and book recommendations and some samples of her newest songs.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?
I'm Erin Eades, a singer-songwriter originally from southern West Virginia, but have called Kansas City home for the last 3 years and live in the Waldo neighborhood. When I'm not making music, I work for a rental car company, traveling about 75% of the time. It certainly makes for an interesting way of life!
Tell us about some of the challenges that come with establishing yourself as a folk artist in Kansas City.
Though a lot of my songs probably fall into the folk/singer-songwriter sound, I pull from many different genres so I would say my first challenge has been (and still is!) establishing the best description for my music! When I first moved to Kansas City, I hadn't played in public or even taken music seriously for a decade, so not only was it difficult to get motivated to play again, it was hard to know where to start in an unfamiliar city. I've been very fortunate that I've met a ton of great people along the way who continue to inspire and encourage me. The website Meetup was pivotal in getting started, introducing me to a group of musicians known as the Kansas City Music Girls, where I began my network. I can think of almost everyone I know in the KC music scene and play "Six Degrees of Separation" to bring it back to that amazing group of women.
How long have you been a songwriter? Who initially influenced you? Who do you look to for inspiration these days?
I started writing music when I was about 15 and was half of an acoustic duo in high school--we even put out an EP and a full-length album of original music! I took a hiatus in college, and then life happened, and when I moved here I decided it was time to get back into it. I grew up influenced by the music my family listened to: Dad loved classic rock and blues, Mum loved country, and my brother listened to grunge, alternative, and punk rock. The Beatles are my favorite band and are the most consistent source of inspiration throughout my career. These days I'm listening to a lot of female singer-songwriters who inspire me, namely Sara Bareilles and Jill Andrews.
Delve a little into your own process of songwriting. What may surprise a listener of your music about how you create your music?
I tend to be a rather methodical person who craves order and processes, but when it comes to songwriting, it is very unpredictable. Someone asked me about this once before and the best description of my songwriting process that I could come up with is "word vomit": it just happens, I tend to write rather suddenly, and it happens very quickly once I have an idea. I keep a notebook with me all the time because I find that the best ideas happen when I'm not sitting down with my guitar and a sheet of paper. I would probably have more of a catalog if I could come up with ideas during practice, but often they strike me while driving, or when I'm trying to sleep in some unfamiliar city while I'm traveling.
What inspires you the most about the Kansas City music scene?
I love the amount of diversity in the music that is offered. Whenever I travel and mention being part of this great music scene there are so many people that are unaware of what Kansas City has to offer: it's not just blues and jazz. I feel like there is a lot of untapped potential here, with many bands on the verge of something great. There are so many pieces in place: talented bands, supportive business owners, festivals like FAI and Middle of the Map. I think a spark is all that is needed!
Best in Show -- I love this "mockumentary" film, where the humor is almost entirely dialogue-driven. I have been quoting this movie for over a decade now. The perfect watch for lovers of dogs and sly wit.
Tommy Boy -- Not exactly the pinnacle of films, but it's easily my favorite movie.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty -- As someone who spends a little too much time in their head, I related to this movie so much. I hope to one day be as brave as Walter. Inspirational, beautiful cinematography, and the soundtrack is incredible. In my eyes, it's hard to ask for anything else.
1984 by George Orwell. My favorite book; enlightening, depressing, terrifying, and heartwarming all at the same time. I remember being forced to read this in school the first time, and I've enjoyed it countless times after.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. My copy of this book is more like a time capsule that gets opened every year. Barely held together anymore, with dog-eared pages, mementos as bookmarks from places I happened to be reading it, and a note from my brother scrawled on the inside of the front cover, telling me that the first time I read the story it would make me completely unsatisfied with life and how that wasn't a bad thing, it's truly one of my most prized possessions.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Most people will recognize the author's name as "that guy who wrote Fight Club" but he has done so much more. His work is dark and takes your mind to strange places, but I enjoy his writing style. Use this as a primer for the rest of his work (Survivor is my favorite of his).
(side note: I could've spent all of my recommendations in this category!!)
Foundling by David Gray. Nearly impossible to choose only one David Gray album, but of the selections at the library this is my favorite. I find his lyrics to be inspirational, poetic, and his voice often gives me chills.
Ten Songs from Live at Carnegie Hall by Ryan Adams. Much of my style is rock with a twang, so my list wouldn't be complete without one of my favorite alt-country musicians, Ryan Adams. For me, this album is Adams at his finest: solo, raw, and live.
Backspacer by Pearl Jam. Not the best Pearl Jam album by any stretch, but the one with the most meaning for me. It defined a good two years of my life. Back when I started running, this was my perfect 5k-distance album (skip "Johnny Guitar", cooldown during "The End"). I started kindergarten the year "Ten" came out and can still remember the video for "Alive"; Pearl Jam and many bands from the early 90's grunge/rock/alternative scene have been a big part of my musical journey.