Camaraderie can come from competition, and if Eryn had her way, there would be more female solo artists gracing the stages at venues along coastal New Jersey.
“I think it would be good for us to kind of band together and show everyone what we can do,” she says.
Nearly all of the female solo artists who were around about a decade ago when the blues-soul singer (then billed as Eryn Shewell) broke in at the Jersey Shore “stopped playing or moved on with their lives,” she says, adding that in general, a lot of women discontinue their music careers for family reasons.
“But I had a kid the whole time, even before I was part of the [Jersey Shore] scene,” says Eryn. “I don’t think that’s a reason to stop doing something you love. Of course, you want to dedicate time to your family, but I still think that your own dreams are important. It’s not easy, but it can be done.”
A few years ago in New Hope, Pennsylvania, at a gig opening for singer Marcia Ball, Eryn was on the receiving end of advice and encouragement from Ball pertaining to balancing motherhood and music.
“She sat me down after the show and talked my ear off about being a woman in the music industry with a child,” Eryn says. “She said, ‘You cannot let it stop you, and you can’t let anybody else stop you. You have to keep going forward, no matter what.’ ”
Her latest step forward is Lady E. In an effort “to stay in the flow of the industry” and “get as much value as possible” from what she’s doing, Eryn went the EP route instead of a full-length album.
“Nowadays people don’t really buy records; they don’t care about albums — they really just want singles,” she explains. “[My team and I] thought the best way for me was to do something in the middle. We tried to make it so it’s like six singles. And if it all goes as planned, I want to record another six songs and call it Lady E Vol. II and pair the EPs so they’re an album.”
Lady E features guitar work by her husband, Matt O’Ree, the leader of the Matt O’Ree Band and onetime Bon Jovi touring guitarist who years ago introduced Eryn to one of the EP’s songwriting contributors, longtime Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan.
Eryn admits she was surprised when Bryan called one day and asked her to visit his house and take a shot at singing the ballad “The You Missing From Me.”
“He wrote that specifically for me,” she says. “I think I cried not only because the song was so good, but because I was so touched that he took the time to write a song for me.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Eryn on tour (schedule subject to change):
June 4: Wayward Social — Brooklyn, New York
June 7: The Grape Room — Philadelphia
June 11: Wayward Social — Brooklyn, New York
June 14: The Grape Room — Philadelphia
June 18: Wayward Social — Brooklyn, New York
June 21: The Grape Room — Philadelphia
June 25: Wayward Social — Brooklyn, New York
June 27: House of Independents — Asbury Park, New Jersey
June 28: The Grape Room — Philadelphia
July 13: Flagler Beachfront Winery — Flagler Beach, Florida
July 21: Crossroads Tavern — Bunnell, Florida
July 22: Prohibition Kitchen — St. Augustine, Florida
July 27: Flagler Beachfront Winery — Flagler Beach, Florida
July 28: The Brass Tap — Palm Coast, Florida