Not even old enough to legally drink in America yet, the 20-year-old Irish musician Eden is already in the second chapter of his musical career. Born as Jonathon Ng in Dublin, Ireland, he received classical training in violin starting at age seven. In the next dozen years he taught himself piano, guitar, and drums so he could conduct his own personal orchestra in his bedroom. In 2013, he began releasing EDM music as the Eden Project before transitioning into a pop singer known simply as Eden in 2015.
"I guess when I started making music as the Eden Project, I was really diving into EDM," Eden says. "The more music I made on my laptop, the more it phased out of EDM and turned into weird pop music. It was definitely more like a natural progression with the music rather than a conscious switch."
The shortening of his name and the changing of musical genres worked in Eden's favor. His indie pop reminiscent of Bastille has already found a strong following. Among his fans is pop superstar Lorde, who praised Eden's recent song "sex" on his Facebook wall.
The four songs on the EP I Think You Think Too Much of Me are cleverly titled "sex," "drugs," "and," and "rock+roll."
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"For 'drugs,' I went through about three very different versions, 'rock + roll' had two different versions, and then the track 'and' was one of the quickest songs I've ever created, which took maybe a day or two. That one was really cathartic for me, which was great."
Eden says despite their titles, the songs aren't necessarily about hedonism. "A lot of people expect one song to be about one specific thing, which is never the case for my music. I tend to draw from a bunch of things. For instance, it's not like I had a shitty Monday and wrote about it on Tuesday. More like, I had a bunch of shitty Mondays for a while and those would then be combined into one song. It is always more complex than just one thing. The songs draw on the way I feel, think, and all the experiences that I have gone through."
Now midway through his first extensive North American tour, audiences at his October 22 show at Culture Room can expect to hear plenty of Eden's original compositions. But since he is known to have put his own spin on songs by Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Michael Jackson, they should also be ready for a cover or two, which Eden says he selects very simply. "I just look for songs that I really like — basically, if it is a song that I sing by myself on the piano or listen to way more than I normally would. The decision to do the cover is that I just love the song and listen to it a lot or it means a lot to me."