Perhaps one of Eldredge's most notable posts in the last year was during a trip to the Bahamas, when he documented a giant snake that popped up in his toilet ("That’s like as rare as getting struck by lightning twice, probably," he says of the incident). But his followers know that even without a snake in his toilet, Eldredge is as goofy on social media as he sounds in his latest single, which is the first from his self-titled third album, due Aug. 4.
As the CMT Music Awards nominations were revealed, Eldredge chatted with Billboard about what social media means to him as an artist, as well as how both social apps and his new music are a trip around his imagination -- and yes, that infamous toilet snake.
What kind of impact do you think social media has had on artists showing their personality?
I think to be able to have an outlet to be able show more than just your music, to be able to show you’re just a regular person like everybody else that likes to goof off and have fun. Connecting with your fans in that way is just the coolest thing, because I am very fortunate that my fans let me be very open on my social media -- never really judge me for that or anything. That’s a special feeling when you know they got your back like that.
I feel like “Somethin I'm Good At” could almost be an anthem for the kind of people who love using social media because they can be themselves -- I'm sure social media isn't the reason you wrote it, but do you think that could kind of apply?
Yeah, 100 percent agree with that. That’s why I put out that song: to embrace your imperfections in life and just run with it. It’s kind of a walk through my brain, a trip around my imagination and quirkiness -- the all-over-the-place kind of livin’ that I do.
That’s why I think it worked so well with social media, and for me, once I discovered “who cares what people think you’re living crazy for posting that or whatever" and just ran with it, it’s when it really just took off for me. I probably share too much. I just don’t really hide anything on there. It’s just a part of my life now, and I bring everybody along for the ride with me -- and I’m really grateful people joined along.
Do you think social media is something you're good at?
I guess so. I figured out how to be me on there, and if that makes me good on social media then I guess I’ll take it. For me, it’s just trying to have fun with it. Using it as another outlet to put my music out there. There’s so many different things that I do on there every day. It’s kind of like your own TV show traveling with you all the time.
You lost this category to Blake Shelton last year -- did you think he deserved to win?
A huge inspiration from my social media is Blake because I remember -- he’s a big Twitter guy, that’s his thing -- he started becoming a huge star by being himself. Blake can say random thoughts in his mind and I think that helped encourage guys like me who have a lot of thoughts in their mind and creative imagination. I think that he definitely deserved that win last year.
Who do you think is your biggest competition this year?
That’s a good question. Kelsea [Ballerini]... I’ve known Kelsea for a while now, and I remember she was on there singing one of my songs one day. Then one day I had one of her songs playing, congratulating her first No. 1. I’ve been kind of watching her on social media for a while. She’s really fun on there and just very down to earth. I’m glad to see her on there.
But who do I think is going to be my main competition? I don’t know. All these people are friends of mine, we’re going to strive for number one. May the best social star win, and if one of us does and one of us don’t, we’re still going to keep doing our thing. We’re all really in it because our fans love us for it.
The CMT team voted your "Edgar’s Reindeer Camp" video as your best social media post -- would you agree? Or what do you think is your best one?
Edgar [Brett's dog] is kind of a social media star himself because he’s there along for the ride whether he likes it or not. Anytime I can be creative, do skits and stuff like that -- I just had this vision of him turning into a reindeer at Christmas. That’s definitely one of the fun ones. Also the ones where he’s falling asleep and not caring that I’m singing a beautiful song to him and he just ignores me, sleeps and wakes up and eats a dog treat.
The one that comes to mind for me is the snake in the toilet.
Oh man, that one was one that when I posted it, I had no idea -- it ended up on world news. I woke up at 6 a.m. with a giant snake in the toilet, it was about as real as it gets. [Laughs] I would never [fake] something like that, even if you paid me a million dollars I wouldn’t do it. I remember reading a news headline before that happened to me that one actually bit a guy in a place you don’t want to be bit -- I, strangely enough, was coherent to realize that there was a snake in the toilet almost immediately, it was a good thing that I knew it was a possible thing.
What can you tell fans about your forthcoming album?
It’s self-titled. It’s the most I’ve ever worked on a record, even more than my first album, I think. I think it crushes all my other ones. I feel like I know what I can try and what I can’t -- but I probably still will try it. [Laughs] Because I have really special fans and a record label that lets me make what I want to make. I think that it shows in this album, and it’s way more in-depth from a perspective of where I’m at with love and with heartbreak. It’s just another level of my personality and melody and lyric. I’ve never gotten this deep before, and I’m excited to go this deep.
Are you planning on utilizing social media to promote this album more than you have with past records?
Oh yeah. When it comes time to where the new album gets closer, I start singing the songs a cappella, I’ll preview it on my Snapchat and get creative with it -- just kind of bringing everybody into more than just listening to the record on album. I want you to hear pieces of it before it comes out and I’ll be sneaking little hints. I can’t keep secrets for crap. “I’m a real bad liar, I’m a burnt toast kind of guy” is the opening line of my song, so I’m sure I’ll be leaking out stuff.
Watch Eldredge fight for his awards and also perform on the CMT Music Awards, which air June 7 at 8 p.m. ET on CMT.