Inspirational Women is our new feature department that connects you to modern-day women who are set to leave a mark in their chosen field, whether that's music, business, career or motherhood. This Q-and-A profile shares their stories, passion, struggles, leadership ideas, style philosophy and ways they are inspiring other women to chase after their dreams.
In this debut feature, we highlight Florida-native country artist Edan Archer, who recently released a new single entitled "Ain't That Kind of Woman" and a new EP entitled "Cruel Mother." Here, the rising singer-songwriter—who was chosen to compete in Southwest Airlines' Live@35 series and perform during a flight at 35,000 feet—shares her motivations, musical influences and style lessons.
The Gospel of Beauty: Where did your love of country music come from?
Edan: I actually grew up listening to a lot of folk and Appalachian music—true music of the people and the human condition. We used to sing murder ballads and sea shanties as a family in Florida folk festivals so I developed a love for storytelling through music early on.
TGOB: Who were your early musical influences?
Edan: We listened to a lot of Dolly Parton and Elvis Priestly songs when we were kids. Then as a pre-teen, I adored Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt, and Janis Joplin. I still won’t sing a Janis Joplin song to this day because, to me, she’s just in another universe, so I won’t even try to cover her songs.
TGOB: Can you still recall the first time you sang in public?
Edan: I honestly don’t remember the first time I sang in public. I sang a lot in the church choir, at folk festivals and picking parties, so it was likely one of those times. I don’t remember ever being nervous. I mean, my mom was leading us, so my sisters and I just followed her lead like little ducklings. When I was older and played with my own band, we started out in college bars. I don’t remember my first show exactly, but we used to have a lot of fun playing in Gainesville, Florida.
TGOB: Aside from your own, which song is on replay on your iPod or MP3?
Edan: Right now, I’m listening to Jason Isbell’s new record. I’m loving all the new Americana music that’s coming out right now—there’s amazing stuff happening!
TGOB: For many artists, there's no such thing as overnight success. How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going when you feel unrewarded and uninspired?
Edan: It is sometimes tough to keep your spirits up. But the main thing I try to remember is that it’s all a silly game, and the actual music is what matters. It’s easy to get caught up in society’s idea of success and what one has or hasn’t "achieved" as an artist, with regards to recognition and social media numbers. But what matters most is the experience of connecting with people, whoever and wherever that is, and experiencing the human condition together.
TGOB: What's your advice to other women pursuing their dreams in music?
Edan: To be a true artist and not just an image of an artist. I think it’s important to focus on one’s craft—learning to play, sing, and write as best as you can. Everyone has something special about them musically, just like everyone has a special beauty.
TGOB: What is the experience like for you as part of Southwest Airlines Live35 series?
Edan: That was a super fun experience! Playing on an airplane was one of the most fun shows that I’ve done. I’m very proud to have been chosen as one of their artists!
TGOB: How would you describe your style philosophy?
Edan: I dress for the theater of life! I love unique items with personal history—vintage pieces feel a bit like anthropological finds to me. I’m drawn to clothes that reflect the different sides of my personality—the dramatic, the vulnerable, and wild…
If I’m feeling happy and free, I might channel 60s hippie style, If it’s going to be a wild night, I’ll reference a bit of 70 decadence. If I’m playing a dirty honky tonk, I’ll go full trailer park! It depends on my mood that day, and if my clothes don’t match my mood, I’m not a happy camper! When they do sync up, I feel like a super hero.
TOGB: What's your can't-live-without beauty item?
Edan: I love a beautiful foundation. Right now I’m using MAC Studio fix fluid, it’s great for pictures because it has provides good coverage.
TOGB: What's the most important style lesson you've learned?
Edan: I’ve learned that not every style can work for every person. I think petite women can rock different styles than tall women like me. For example, I love the "oversized borrowing your boyfriend’s clothes" look, but it doesn’t really work on me. I’ve learned to work with my athletic shoulders and arms, and to play up the parts of my body that make me feel confident and sexy. And my main guideline is to let the clothes celebrate you, instead of the other way around. If the dress is wearing you, nix it!
TGOB: Among the many iconic women, who inspires you the most?
Edan: I’m most inspired by women who find their individuality and really own their look. I love how Stevie Nicks is a boho goddess, but also how Alison Mosshart from The Kills uses the same simple basics all the time and makes them timeless and iconic. Kate Moss always seems so comfortable in her skin, no matter what she’s wearing, and I think that always shows. Even if you're comfortable being uncomfortable—just rock it!