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Brett Eldredge is now working hard on both his next album and his own personal growth, and to do so, he’s made a number of life changes. But none are more shocking than what he’s toting in his pocket.
OMG, is that a … flip phone?
“Check this out,” Eldredge, 33, says, pulling out the 21st-century equivalent of a buggy whip. “I mean, a phone is the smallest thing, but really, it is everything.”
The change means no apps, no FaceTime, no hands-on social media and —yikes — no GPS.
“You get very lost when you can’t use maps or take Uber,” Eldredge acknowledges, which means he’s now resorting to stopping at gas stations for directions. “That’s the difficult part.”
The easy part? Discovering some of the important things that technology had been crowding out.
“I recommend it to everybody,” he says. “I know it’s a commitment, but I was the guy that was on [my phone] all the time. But I think I got to the point that I wanted to connect at such a deeper level, and I thought, it’s gonna take a lot of self-awareness to do this. And that’s what I’ve done, and I feel really so much better.”
Eldredge brought his happy mood to the Nashville celebration of his seventh No. 1 single, the feel-good “Love Someone,” which he co-wrote with Ross Copperman and Heather Morgan; it appeared on his last album, released in 2017. During a press conference before the No. 1 party, he obviously was savoring his own self-improvement efforts as much as this latest career milestone.
The flip phone was just for starters. Eldredge ticked off other changes he’s embraced to take a firmer grip of his life and his music. He’s now learning to play the piano, and he’s making time to enjoy the outdoors. He’s into meditation, stream-of-consciousness journaling (“pen and paper, old-school way”), therapy (“I’m a huge, huge believer”) and reading (one recent title: Digital Minimalism).
But Eldredge isn’t entirely retro. He’s using an on-line program to learn Spanish. He keeps a digital recorder bedside to record melodies that might come to him after he’s turned out the lights. And then there’s the nondescript ring he wears on one index finger that keeps track of his body rhythms.
“It tells me when I should go to sleep and when I should wake up … and it’s definitely helped me a lot,” Eldredge explained. “It also registers your heart rate. It tells you your steps and all that stuff, too.”
All these measures, he said, have been an antidote to the stresses that have come with his decade-long career. In just the past year, Eldredge has opened up about confronting chronic anxiety, which had been particularly affecting his live performances. The fast pace of touring also was taking a toll, he said.
“You’re kind of living in this bubble of just go, go, go — get up early for a flight, go to the next thing — and you don’t take care of you as much,” he said. “It kinda started catching up to me.”
Eldredge said he tried to brush off the array of pressures, but “it was just overwhelming and overstressing for me. … Then I started just becoming more aware of that stuff, and how do I work on myself better? And how do I get more connected as a person with friends, with family? … Obviously I’m not by any means perfect now, and I’ll have good days and bad days like everybody, but I’m definitely more aware of how to treat myself and how I look at what I do. … I really feel good about what I’m doing now. So, yeah, it’s definitely showing in a lot of ways.”
Happily for his fans, it’s especially showing in his music, he said. Studio time has yet to be scheduled, and he’s still working on new songs, but he promises “a very organic” vibe.
“I think now I have the platform to tell even more of my story in a bigger way,” Eldredge said. “I’ve given myself the freedom to do that, too, now more than ever. Like I said, changing things up in my life professionally and personally and just kind of focusing on myself, I think, makes me create something on a much deeper level. And I think a lot of people are going to notice a huge difference. Definitely, my fans will, for sure.”