Brett Eldredge on His Relationship Status & Snapchat-Famous Dog Edgar

Joseph Llanes
Brett Eldredge

Listening to the upcoming self-titled album from Brett Eldredge, you certainly hear an emphasis on vocals, which bring to mind the soulful stylings of artists such as Lionel Richie. He says that kind of mood was what he was aiming for. “I think I put a lot of focus on the depth of vocals. Note for note and word for word, I put more emphasis on that than before.” Having two albums under his belt, the singer told Billboard he feels more confident expressing himself than ever before. “I am able to do the things that I want to do, not that I didn’t want to do before, but now I know what I want people to hear, and what part of the story I want them to hear. I think that’s what came from this record.”

The singer says some of the writing for the album posed a unique challenge, especially a song like “Cycles,” of which he said “That was hard to write because the continuation of the song - ‘Then you knock, and you come in. If you come in, you sit down. If you sit down, I’ll pour us a drink, and if we drink, we’ll laugh,’ I had to think of what we would do next. We had so many ways to go with it. It was almost like an art project or a math project, but I loved piecing together this thing, and I wanted people to feel the in-and-out of what that relationship is like.”

Where is Eldredge at in his relationship status? He admits that he is still learning – and still looking. "I’ve been burnt and had moments of clarity where I know what I want, but also I’m guarded from it all. Songs like ‘Castaway’ where you completely put yourself out there where I am completely guarded to the point where I run away from love and shield myself away from it. I get so far away from it that I’m stranded on an island, and I realize that I’m here by myself. The whole time I needed love – the thing that I was running away from. So, you run back towards it and you get stuck in the middle. I think a lot of people experience that. It was the most representative of a song for me, probably.”

Most of the album deals with romantic relationships, but the singer strikes a different chord on the moving “Brother,” which is inspired by his relationship with his own brother, Brice. “I’m very close to my brother. We lived together for six or seven years. We’re really close. He moved here about two years after I moved here. We’re really tight, but we play it tough. You don’t always tell your brother when you are going through something, but you can always tell when they are. You play it tough, and you don’t want to show your emotions to your brother because you are tough. I remember when my brother was going through a tough time. I was on a trip, and had just bought this guitar. I started singing what I would say to him if I was having a conversation. In this culture, you always feel like you have to play it tough, but it’s okay to tell your friend or your brother that you love and care about them, and are always there for them. I think that’s where it came from."

He stresses that though he wrote the song about his sibling, the meaning of the song can extend outside of the family tree, as well. “It doesn’t have to be just about your brother. It could be about a best friend too, about a lot of things. It’s a different perspective on a good friend relationship that I hadn’t heard yet, and I really wanted to open up that conversation that it’s okay to be emotional with your brother and your pals, and tell them you love them and care about them."

When asked what his brother’s reaction to the track was, Eldredge said “I emailed it to him. I get really uncomfortable playing it for him when he’s around. I heard it from a buddy that he got emotional from it. He didn’t tell me at first. He definitely knew it was heartfelt the first time he heard it. We still play it tough, but we definitely show each other we care about each other all the time. He’s my business manager too, so we work together every day. I trust him more than anybody in the world.”

Could we see more songs that stretch outside of the romantic realm on future albums? Eldredge says he hopes so. “I’ve always loved to write love songs. I also like to write heartbreak songs. There are songs that didn’t make this record that will make the next one that are not all about love. This was an album that took my current situation and whole life experience to this point with love, and told the whole story with that. As a songwriter, obviously love speaks to everybody in some form. I really love those from the heart kind of songs. It was really fun to write a song that was about a different kind of relationship, with a friend or a brother, and branching out. I think that in the future, there will be more songs like that. It just needs to have depth and heart to it for me to really love it and be passionate about it.”

Just last week, the singer found himself in some unchartered territory because of something he is passionate about. He was nominated by the Teen Choice Awards for his viral skills as Choice Snapchatter, alongside some heavy competition. It’s Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, Bella Thorne, DJ Khaled, and Selena Gomez - all these huge big stars – and Brett Eldredge, "this guy who goofs off and hangs out on his Snapchat, just being me,” he says humbly. He says he hopes he just manages to put a smile on peoples’ faces. “I guess it’s connecting in a way, and honestly, I try not to make it anymore than just a day walking through my life. I don’t try to set up anything fake, it’s just me being the dork that I am. I want to share a lot of that fun and zest for life, and try to encourage everybody to enjoy life. It may help me to stay in that positive mindset. It helps me to share that, and bring them along for the ride. So, to be recognized for that is really cool.”

Someone that Eldredge is very close to whose star has risen considerably due to being featured in his posts is his Weimaraner/Vizsla dog, Edgar. The singer jokes that he is handling his fame without any ego. “I was thinking the other day that he hasn’t got his own rider yet with only certain kind of treats in a certain color. He’s become like a family member. To my parents, he’s like the grand-pup. My mom is always worried about him like I’d be worried about my own kid. Having him out there is really cool. He has his own fans with signs...When he’s on camera, he knows it. He has a lot of human personality traits, and you can see his emotions. I never planned on making him a celebrity dog, but he’s always with me and people love him.”

Typically, Edgar doesn’t accompany his master to his backstage meet and greets, but he did make one recent exception – and he’s glad that he did. “The other day, I had a fan named Lilly who had a shirt on that said ‘I love Edgar Eldredge.’ She had lost her sight, but she had the best outlook on life ever. She wanted to dance and hang out, and she talked about Edgar a lot. I brought him out, and he licked her in the face, and she just smiled. That smile and that kind of moment is why I love my job – and why I love Edgar. Who doesn’t love animals? They are therapeutic, and it was just a magic moment.”

Eldredge has been working the new music into his stage shows, and he says that fans have been very receptive. Over the past two years, he has toured with two of the most prolific entertainers of the day, and he’s tried to absorb all the lessons that he can. “They are two completely different people, which is amazing. Keith [Urban] is so detailed on everything he does. He had worked with lighting in his career, and has done so many different things. He is involved with everything. He’s at soundcheck for four hours, working on a certain song trying to figure out how to make it the best moment for everybody. Then, there’s Luke [Bryan], who is a straight vibe guy, and he goes out there and puts on a show that feels like a party every night. Keith is like this rock star doing these incredible things on stage that he has crafted, and Luke is laid-back, just like you’re in the living room with him. It’s two different styles, and I love it – how can I mesh both of those things?” he says. “I’m never going to be able to play guitar like Keith, and I’m probably not going to be able to shake it like Luke. But, I’m gonna take a lot of the things I learned from them, and definitely put in my show. They are two of the best entertainers I know, with two completely different styles. That’s why they are where they are – they have their own thing. That’s what we all want is our own thing, and they have it big time.”

Brett Eldredge will be released on Friday, August 4.