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Brooke Eden Wants Queer Fans to See Themselves in Country Music. With New EP 'Outlaw Love,' She Makes Sure of It

"I just love the reach it has where queer people can now see themselves in country music," country singer-songwriter Brooke Eden says of new EP 'Outlaw Love.'

When Brooke Eden and now-wife Hilary Hoover came out as a couple, they didn't quite receive the response she expected. Eden came out publicly in January 2021 with a video of herself and her partner, and she hoped others would help her "shout it from the rooftops." However, that's not exactly what happened. 

"It just became, 'You're going to lose your career. Everything that you've ever worked for is going to down the drain,'" Eden says of comments from others, including some within the music industry. "A quote that I literally had from somebody was like, 'Well, I hope that you're cool with just being a songwriter because you'll never put out another song as an artist again.'"

"That was super hard because we would be in rooms and people would know that we were together, but we were told we weren't allowed to be together publicly, so other people were telling our story for us," she adds. 

That story — and the confidence and freedom that followed — is what inspired Eden's latest piece of work: her four-track EP called Outlaw Love. The singer says the group of songs is the "deepest" she has ever released, and it tells her exact story — without hesitation. 

"I feel like in my previous projects I told my story as well, but this has a little bit more shine on it," she says of the project. "It was a little more sugar-coated. This isn't sugar-coated. It's just the real-life journey of what I went through when I met my now-wife and our journey." 

The disapproval Eden experienced when she first came out is specifically chronicled in the EP's first track, "Whispering." Instead of letting all the "talk" get her down, however, the song finds Eden letting the criticism roll off her back. 

"Say it one more time, we ain't even listenin' / Baby, I don't mind, we're the reason why they're whisperin'," she sings in the chorus. 

Soon, the noise about Eden's relationship died down, and her confidence in living as her true, authentic self only rose. Out of this transformation came more songs that tell her story. The EP continues with "Chills," a slow-burning country- and R&B-leaning love song that Eden says "takes the rest of the world out of the equation." 

Outlaw Love undoubtedly tells Eden's story which she realized she needed to share after reading Glennon Doyle's Untamed — but it also sends a message of equality. The album's title track manages to cover both of these themes while offering a smooth, catchy groove.

In the first verse of the tune, Eden describes herself as an "outlaw" for going against the grain — again displaying that unashamed confidence and encouraging naysayers to "Leave the judging to Jesus." Then, in the chorus, she shares a commentary on equality for the LGBTQ+ community while declaring that no matter what happens legally in this country, "They can't outlaw being in love with you." 

This center point of the album is an example of what Eden considers to be one of the biggest priorities in her career going forward: being a voice and the role model she never had for LGBTQ+ country fans. 

"For me, I think that we're just scratching the surface in creating a safe space and an inclusive space for everyone in country music," she says. "I would say my biggest goal is just continue to make sure that people feel like their story is being told and make sure that people feel safe and included in country music." 

She cements this position with the EP's final song: the meaningful and earnest "All My Life," which served as the first dance song at her wedding. This tune tells Eden's story step-for-step: from believing that walking down the aisle in a white wedding dress was a faraway dream, to finding the love of her life.

"I never really saw marriage in my future, and I had kind of been OK with that," Eden says. "Then, when I met my wife, it was just so clear to me that I had met that person that everyone talks about in movies and rom-coms and love songs, and I knew that I wanted to spend forever with her." 

Not only does Outlaw Love serve as Eden's musical autobiography and send a message of inclusion, but the singer believes the EP's four songs also can relate to anyone who is living the powerful experience of finding their person — no matter whom they love. 

"I think it's really cool that this music is more geared to my queer fan base than the rest of my music," she says. "However, I do think that it's been really cool to see even straight country listeners going, 'Oh my god, I've been blasting this every single day. It's been on repeat.' I just love the reach it has where queer people can now see themselves in country music, but it hasn't left straight people in the dust either." 

She adds that the project as a whole is about "standing up for who you are and what you believe in and realizing that it could make you an outlaw ... and being completely OK with that."

READ MORE: 28 LGBTQ+ Country Singers You Should Be Listening To