Eden Shireen is making a name for herself in the local music scene.
Thousands of YouTube views for her cover songs and the March release of her five-song ‘Shadows’ EP (Extended Play) have made the 20-year-old Land O’ Lakes singer-songwriter an up-and-coming artist.
Her popularity has been steadily increasing since she became a 2015 Florida GRAMMY Showcase semifinalist, that helped to propel her career.
Shireen, a 2014 graduate of Land O’ Lakes High School, describes her musical style as a “clash between pop, indie and folk.”
That unique style was formed during her high school years, when she was heavily involved in her school’s choir and theater programs.
“I was about 14 or 15 when I started to write short stories and poems, and then I got involved in musical theater…and I was like, ‘Oh, my poems are literally just songs.’ Then I started the whole writing process, and it was great,” Shireen said. “I really found my voice through acting and realized, ‘Wow, I love doing this.’”
Listening to alternative bands like Bleachers, Of Monsters and Men, The 1975 and First Aid Kit were major influences during her formative high school years when she started creating music.
“I started to not just listen to what was on the radio,” she said. “Being a musician, you want to find what’s going to inspire you the most, so I really just dove into Pandora (Internet Radio) and Spotify, and any different kind of playlists I could find.”
She continued, “I always grew up listening to great music in my house with my family. I knew who The Sundays and The Cranberries were before anybody else.”
As she manages her burgeoning music career, Shireen is working toward an associate degree at Pasco-Hernando State College, before she relocates to Orlando to enroll in the University of Central Florida’s Entertainment Management degree program.
She plays a lot of shows in Tampa, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, but Orlando appears to be more ideal location for generating more buzz about her work.
“Land O’ Lakes and Tampa do not have the kind of music scene that I knew how to jump into when I first started getting into music, and the Orlando music scene is much younger—the teen crowd, teen bands, early 20s bands,” she said.
Meanwhile, Shireen is working with local venues on an EP release show around mid-June, and then plans to embark on a music tour throughout the state.
Someday, Shireen hopes to be able to create a full-length album. For the time being, though, she’s content with sharing her music through short EPs.
“The cool thing about writing EPs is you’re really developing your sound, developing stories that you want to tell,” Shireen explained. “You’re building an audience and you kind of create a feeling on longing — people want more, people are going to connect with you on one level. Writing a record is financially a little bit of a hit with studio time, and I want to find the right people that can really help me craft my sound even more.”
Jotting down lyrics and creating music is a constant for the young artist, whether she’s in the recording studio, relaxing at home, or even out shopping with friends.
“Making music for me is a relief of some kind. It’s the most satisfying feeling once you finish a song and you’re like, ‘Wow, I really believe in this’…and other people are going to relate to this. It’s a very powerful feeling knowing that you can impact people in what hopes to be a very positive way.”
Despite Shireen’s eclectic sound and her growing popularity locally, she still feels that one of the biggest challenges ahead is developing more of a widespread audience.
“There’s a lot of music out there, there’s a lot of talented musicians, and there’s a lot of very powerful people who have the power to change your life if they hear you. But, having those people hear you, and having people really turn their heads and look at you, sometimes it can be the biggest challenge, because there is so much music all over the Internet.
“It is just a challenge being heard.”
But, that challenge doesn’t discourage her from living out her dream, and encouraging other aspiring artists to do the same.
“Never discredit that little voice inside of you that says to do it,” she said. “Believe in what you write…and don’t let anybody else diminish what you created.
“If you want to become an artist, just have that self-belief and that passion in knowing whatever you create is original, and you have the power to make it something.”
“Shadows” is available for download and streaming on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and Apple Music.
For more information on Eden Shireen, visit EdenShireen.com.
A closer look at Eden Shireen
In this conversation with Eden Shireen, the singer-songwriter from Land O’ Lakes:
Shares how her interest developed in singing and songwriting
“I think that always being an avid reader and always knowing that stories were a place where magic kind of happens. I always loved reading other people’s stories, and feeling a little bit like an outsider in school…I was just kind of in my own world, and from there I wrote. It was a place where I could find my own solace and I found myself.”
Describes her musical style
“I think it’s definitely eclectic. Kind of every song is going to have a different undertone to it, but I’m definitely pop. I like to say I’m a little bit indie and folk because my voice isn’t all completely pop — with the way the inflections are in some of the songs, so I think it’s a clash between pop, indie and folk.”
Explains what inspires her song ideas
“I think there’s a story within everything, whether it’s a little bird that we see taking a bath in a puddle, or the wind blowing in a certain way. …I just enjoy believing in something that’s so much bigger than myself that isn’t exactly tangible. It’s the idea I can grow it into whatever I choose…and I have the power to manifest it in a way where other people are going to understand.”
Shares her writing process for her ‘Shadows’ EP
“I started writing it in the end of 2013 and I finished the record in June 2015, but I took a little time to figure out how I wanted to come out with it — what the title track should be, how I wanted to structure the photo shoot, all of that. For all of the songs and the singles— and how am I going to work to design it — I really took my time on the after-effects of writing the EP. But, it did take about two years to write the record, and about six months after that to get to a good place to put my songs out there.”
Talks about ‘Stick Around,’ one of her favorites on ‘Shadows’ EP
“It’s a single from the record, and I like the message of the song. I had written the whole album from a sad place, and I was coming out of a very toxic situation with someone. For me, the whole idea of the record and the title being ‘Shadows’ is…the idea that it’s darkness, it’s hidden, you’re playing with shadows and you’re hiding — all of these different kind of themes are playing throughout the whole record. But, when you get to the song “Stick Around” at the very end, it’s about feeling empowered. …Ending with that song definitely leaves an impression on how you can develop, even in your darkest moments.”
Published May 18, 2016