If there has been one thing we’ve all learned in the last year, it’s that beauty can come from even the worst times of our lives.
Nashville-based indie songwriter Rodney Eldridge spent his twenties trying to fight the feeling that he hadn’t become the person he wanted to be. The uncertainty he felt in his career is where the turmoil originated; as he ignored the feeling though, the rest of his life began to crumble around it. In the midst of this, Eldridge found himself with no place to call home, a marriage in shambles, and his long-standing relationship with God in question. It was then that he was relieved of the weight he’d been carrying for almost a decade.
Following this realization, Eldridge returned to his talent in music. His artistic and musical talents discovered throughout schooling ultimately led him to his career in Film and TV production – which was also the catalyst for the turbulence that woke him up so violently. Drawing on his own life for inspiration, Eldridge creates light out of the dark. The music he has since written puts him among the likes of indie musicians Ruston Kelley, Foy Vance, and Noah Gunderson, but stands alone in its masterful production and poignant lyrics.
Eldridge’s debut single “The Weight,”, eulogizes the years he spent working to reclaim his life. The song is stunningly vulnerable and introspective, speaking volumes to Eldridge’s writing capabilities – not only lyrically, but also instrumentally. The soothing guitar and subtly layered vocals make for easy listening; the solo performance and understated production further the raw, emotional quality of the song. On May 14th, Eldridge released the single, along with the accompanying music video, marking the beginning of a promising career in music.
We were lucky enough to chat with Eldridge about his background, the single, and his plans for the future.
So where did you grow up and who or what made you want to pursue a life in music?
I was born in Orlando, but grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. My family is big, and we had a full house! I have five siblings that are all insanely talented. When I was younger, I had no idea who I wanted to be, so I would just sit in our music room watching all my older brothers and sisters jam out. I’d sit in the room with them, blowing this black and gold trumpet and trying to find that one note that “works” to just ride with it.
My parents really encouraged all of us to do whatever it is that we wanted to do. My dad is a filmmaker, so art was always happening around me. I feel very lucky to have grown up in an environment where creativity was respected and fostered – and I think that, in some way, led me down the path to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and become a producer.
But music…music was always the thing that I wanted to chase after. If I had to pinpoint an “ah-ha” moment when I realized that, when I just knew that I had to “do” music, it would be when I started tinkering around on my parents’ piano. I would spend hours playing out all my emotions. I guess it just felt like therapy, a way to bring my feelings to life. I’m not sure there’s a more genuine way that I’ve found to express myself.
Was there a particular moment where it clicked that your career in Film and TV wasn’t what you wanted to be doing?
This was a hard one. I love film. I love the rush of problem solving and making a movie. But, like I said, I always knew. I was just kinda afraid to step away. I think the turning point was 2020. When you’re locked up in a house for nearly a year, you have a lot of time to ponder the what ifs. What’s important, the amount of time we have to truly live, how quickly what you have can be taken away from you, all of that starts to crystallize. I don’t think I am unusual in any way – I feel like a lot of folks went through this same thing last year.
For those wondering who Rodney Eldridge the artist is all about, who would you say your primary influences are, and how do you describe your sound/style?
I’ve spent a lot of years putting myself into the pop category with different bands I’ve been in. But as I think anyone who has been part of a band can tell you, there’s always stuff that you want to explore that just doesn’t fit with the band’s sound or priorities.
That was definitely the case for me. These solo songs were a product of a lot of big life changes and realizations, and I want to be as authentic and raw as possible in every song I write. I just wanted it to sound like me. It is probably a side of me that might surprise people that have been listening to my music for awhile.
My influences for this record were artists that I feel do a great job of putting that type of real out there… Noah Gunderson, Ruston Kelly, and Foy Vance were all huge influences. Their records were on repeat every time I got in the car for a hot minute. The songwriting, production, and vibe on all of them is incredible.
The lyrics of your new single, “The Weight,” are quite compelling. Can you elaborate on the inspiration or story behind the song?
“The Weight” was one of those songs that happened really quickly… definitely one of those moments that you feel very lucky to have had as a songwriter. It was ready, I was ready! I wanted to express this journey that I’ve been on. Questioning the life I had been living, leaning into growth. It’s about the evolution of becoming who you are, I mean truly who you are and being OK with whatever process that is.
It seems to be a very emotional song; was there a part of the writing and/or recording of this song that was particularly challenging for you?
Quite the opposite, actually. I was so ready to record this song. It felt like a message from my soul. The lyrics are intense and honest. But I was in such a zone while I was writing it that I could feel myself coming to terms … with myself. It felt like every line was giving me life. I remember sending a friend the voice memo right when I finished writing it. His response was, “Man, you found it.” And it truly felt like I did. I showed up for the first time in a long time.
The accompanying music video is quite gloomy as well. Is there any significance of the imagery in the music video for the song?
Absolutely! My director is a good friend, bandmate, and someone I share a musical sympatico with – Logan Fincher. He wanted to portray the state I was in. I was in the gloom. I was battling some of my biggest battles. Going through the motions, but not truly living my life.
Is this song a standalone single, or might fans expect to see it on an upcoming EP or LP?
It’s the first song of an entire project and I honestly cannot wait to share the rest of the songs on the EP with the world. It’s the most proud I’ve ever been. Its intense, raw, and real as fuck. And it feels so damn good!
Do you have any plans for some light touring, or at least shows around Nashville?
That’s the goal. Anyone got any shows? I’m your guy.
But in all seriousness, I’m ready to get out there and connect with people over these songs. I haven’t played a show in over a year now…thanks 2020.
What kind of impression do you hope your music has on listeners?
I want people to know me. I want to create a safe space where I can be myself and hope that everyone feels empowered to do the same.
We are all so different, with unique stories, heartaches, processes. But that’s what makes life so beautiful. If we can create a space for everyone to just BE without trying to fit into this circle or that circle or fall under said “label.” Tear all of that away and you will find incredible humans doing the best they can to figure out how to navigate life. And after the last year of polarization and isolation, wouldn’t it be great if we had that collective realization and gave each other the latitude, grace, support, and love to be ourselves?