“Too Cool To Dance,” the debut Top 40 single from artist Eden xo, is fresh proof that being cool and getting down are not mutually-exclusive concepts. The infectious song fuses musicianship reminiscent of early 80’s pop with a decidedly au courant lyrical edge. While Eden’s single is currently climbing Billboard’s pop radio charts, it’s been anything but an overnight success for this pop prodigy.
At only six years old, Eden already knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: a pop star. The California native’s musical education began with her older sister’s Madonna and TLC cassette tapes and eventually grew into a love for pop-punk bad boys Blink-182 (whom also happened to be Eden’s first concert). Thanks to 24-hour MTV, the aspiring singer soon discovered No Doubt and invested her own allowance money in Britney Spears’ debut, Baby One More Time. Eden became obsessed with dancing and performing, for an audience of stuffed animals in her bedroom with a hairbrush in hand, and had every music video move memorized.
Despite binge-watching MTV, Eden was raised in a culturally-rich, biracial family. She was born to a Mormon mother and a Bahai father from Iran, who immigrated to the U.S. due to his religious beliefs and the political unrest in his home country. Eden’s childhood and adolescence were tumultuous and unpredictable due to a sometimes volcanic home environment. Eden eventually ran away and emancipated herself from her parents at the age when most American girls are enjoying their super sweet 16 parties. So, instead of dancing at her senior prom, Eden spent the big night penning songs of her own.
With nothing but stars in her eyes and determination in her heart, teenage Eden moved to Los Angeles and channeled all of her energy into songwriting. Her musical taste evolved as she began experimenting with various eclectic genres. Initially, she formed a sassy pop-punk rock band by the name of Shut Up Stella that found local renown by touring throughout Southern California—and even led to a deal with Epic Records. Success was short-lived as the band was dropped by the label, but that only fueled Eden’s desire to make it big. She relocated to the U.K., where she continued honing her songwriting skills in London. Stints singing backup for the Pet Shop Boys and cutting demos for Kylie Minogue gave her the confidence to form a JEM and the Holograms-inspired band fronted by Eden’s former alter-ego, Jessie, and backed by a gang of mannequin-styled male musicians she called the Toy Boys. All of this before she was of legal drinking age.
Although the electro-pop conceptual band never found distribution by a major record label, they landed the coveted opening slot on the North American leg of Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale Tour. Nearly every night in a different U.S. city, “Jessie” and her Toy Boys found themselves sandwiched between the likes of Nicki Minaj and Australian twin DJs Nervo as well as championed by underground pop music bloggers. According to Eden, the Britney tour was like “going to the best college and getting a degree in badassness.” When it was all over, Nicki Minaj capped it off with this gushy tweet: “My love! You slayed everyone’s life every single night!”
Ultimately, the glitz, glamour and endless stream of adoring tweets ended abruptly. Without an audience of thousands to slay on a nightly basis, reality came crashing down and Eden fell into a serious post-tour depression. Fortunately, no head shaving ensued, but after a period of deep introspection, Eden found her way out of the darkness, and the inner strength to pick herself up and start over yet again. She stripped away the façade of the Toy Boys and found new inspiration in songs about love, pain, dreams and second chances. With the newfound support of a major label deal courtesy of Virgin Records, and legendary producers such as Ron Fair (Fergie, Christina Aguilera), French house phenom Fred Falke (Daft Punk), K Pop hit-maker Will Simms, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and Jesse Shatkin (Sia), Eden has finally found her voice.
Not to mention her identity: Thus, Eden xo was born—or rather, unleashed. Inspired by soul searching, self-empowerment and the resulting desire to “not give a shit about what people think,” “Too Cool To Dance” encapsulates her bold new outlook on life. At last able to focus on the beauty of the present and free from the pain of her troubled past, Eden is taking charge of her future—one that includes a new 5- song EP and a debut album on the horizon.
“‘Too Cool to Dance’ has a classic throwback vibe,” Eden says of her buzzed-about single. “The song kicks off with a French disco bass line that’s a nod to early Madonna, for sure—she was the original cool girl who wasn’t too cool to dance,” Eden adds. “But the song has also got these soulful, funky guitars thanks to the same guy who played on Thriller, Paul Jackson, Jr. The opportunity to work with killer oldschool musicians brought real heart and soul to my record. I could not be more proud of it.”