Written by Joff Alexander-Frye / Photography by Olly Woodburn

Do you ever get a gut feeling about someone? That deep-down sense that tells you that they are special, different or unique? Or perhaps that they are untrustworthy, ingenuine or have questionable motives? You may have only met them a matter of seconds before, but the strength of such instincts can be surprisingly powerful. The capacity for intuition is an often rarely talked about human trait.

As it happens, I frequently have these sorts of ‘gut feelings’ about people. Most recently, I was ordering a coffee from The Exploding Bakery and was served by a quietly spoken and relaxed guy called Eddie. This ‘internal radar’ of mine started to blip and, so, I paused for longer than one usually does when ordering coffee and asked him a few questions, wanting to explore a little deeper. Little did I know the treasure I was to discover.

It turns out that, similar to many of my favourite childhood superheroes, Eddie Goodwin has two identities; a mild-mannered barista by day and a kickass singer-songwriter by night, going by the name Lonely Eddie.

And so, it was with great relish that, along with freelance photographer Olly Woodburn, I arranged to meet Eddie at a remote recording studio in Waterrow, Somerset where he has been recording his brand-new EP, currently with the working-title One-Shot Romance.

Under a thunderous sky, with a storm fast approaching, I drove through the leaf-strewn single-track roads towards Waterrow, excited to see and hear what Eddie had been up to. After an incredibly relaxed interview, some live performances from Eddie and some exclusive previews of some of the tracks he has been working on, you’d be unsurprised to hear  that I was not disappointed.

Lonely Eddie, singer/songwriter from Devon. photographed by Oliver Woodburn

Often when talking with musicians, artists or creatives, conversation starts with discussing their influences. My chat with Eddie was no different and, having already listened to some of his songs, I could already hear some similarities to Bon Iver (one of my favourite artists), who Eddie went on to list amongst his inspirations, along with James Blake, Chet Faker, Phil Collins and Taylor Swift. As is the case with many successful artists, Eddie draws inspiration from a broad range of sources; not limited or constrained by genre or current trends. We discussed his love for top-quality pop music, as well as swapping stories about heavy metal gigs that we have both frequented throughout the years. It seems that Eddie is open to being inspired in myriad ways.

I was interested to hear about Eddie’s journey; from his upbringing in Exeter, his chequered experience with the education system and how the end of a four-year relationship sparked the beginning of his recent explosion onto the music scene in and around the city.

Interestingly, his musical journey started in much the same way as many other peoples; being forced into piano lessons with a teacher who wasn’t particularly interested in creativity or expression, but rather a colder, more clinical experience of music, heavily based on music theory and ‘following the rules’. Within about two minutes of spending time with Eddie, I could tell that following the rules was not a top priority for him, particularly when it comes to music, so it was no surprise that this had been a fairly unenjoyable start to his musical journey.

He went on to do Music GCSE, which he didn’t particularly enjoy and then on to Exeter College where he did a BTEC in Music Practice, achieving three A’s. This was the first time that he had really applied himself when it came to music. In order to get onto this course, he had to audition and, when Eddie did so, it was a purely instrumental piano audition. He had never sung before, or even knew he could sing. It was a teacher of his on the course who noticed that he could sing and encouraged him to do it more, birthing a brand-new area of creativity for Eddie; the ability to write full songs of his own – lyrics, melody and arrangement.

Lonely Eddie, singer/songwriter from Devon. photographed by Oliver Woodburn

At this point, he was eighteen years old and started playing the odd gig around Exeter, usually as the opening act for more well-established bands or artists. It wasn’t long before he looked to further his musical education by attending university; both starting and then leaving Bournemouth University and the University of Birmingham before returning to Exeter to start a band called The Sunday Sky Club with his brother George and a couple of friends.

After that fizzled out, Eddie moved to London for a short time to try and ‘do the music thing’ before, again, returning to Exeter. In a turn of fate, after breaking up with his girlfriend of four years, Eddie woke up the next morning with a completely fresh sense of purpose and energy around his music. Evidently, her influence in his life had slowly eroded his passion for music and performance and he was starting to gig a lot less, losing his sense of momentum and spark in the process.

However, in the six months that followed the end of their relationship, he wrote over twenty songs, started gigging again and slowly developed and honed his live setup to represent more closely the sound that he had first set out to create as an artist. He had discovered his mojo and love for music all over again and was loving every minute of it. That was a year ago and, let me tell you, he is a man on a mission and certainly hasn’t looked back since.

He has embarked on writing about a much wider range of topics, including anxiety, loneliness, love and going on a night out to pick up a girl. He is always trying to hide obvious themes behind abstract ideas or analogies, using creative and clever lyrical tricks to do so. For example, he was recently struck by a ‘Blood Moon’ in the night sky and ended up writing a song which sounds like it’s about love, but actually is about how, allegedly, people go ‘a little bit crazy’ when a Blood Moon is out.

Lonely Eddie, singer/songwriter from Devon. photographed by Oliver Woodburn

Eddie’s live sound is something that he has carefully crafted too. With a complex but functional setup, he harnesses a range of technologies to create multiple layers to his performances. Whether it is multiplying his vocals to sound like a three-part-harmony or using looping pedals, drum machines and effects to create the virtual equivalents of other band members, Eddie successfully generates way more than one man’s-worth of noise. As a result, his live performances offer a really unique sense of added value, on top of the usual qualities that live music fans look for. Yes, he can sing in tune and play his instrument well. Yes, his songs are well-crafted and catchy. But the ability to, at most times, be doing four different things with his four limbs, as well as singing and replicating his voice into multiple ‘parts’, leaves his audiences amazed, possibly perplexed but certainly entertained.

After our interview, I was treated to a live performance at the piano by Eddie as well as the privilege of hearing some of the tracks he’s been working on for his new EP, despite them being far from finished. Even the basic mixes sounded incredible and both One-Shot Romance and Real Love , the two tracks that I heard, had substance, beauty and craftmanship in plentiful supply. I found myself lost for superlatives to describe how much I had enjoyed the tracks and also didn’t want to seem disingenuous, as sometimes immediate feedback on someone’s handiwork can feel a little knee-jerk and empty. However, hand-on-heart, I enjoyed them immensely and can’t wait to hear the finished product.

It was, therefore, with a real bittersweet edge, that I found out that Eddie will shortly be moving back to London to take a proper run at making a go of his musical dreams. With the love and support of his new girlfriend, they are moving to East London where Eddie will work in a café during the day and, by night, will actively be seeking to broaden his musical horizons and make significant in-roads into what can be a tough industry to crack.

Honestly, and without exaggeration, I see absolutely no reason why Eddie can’t be successful to that end. Yes, there is an element of ‘right place, right time’ with the music industry. And, yes, sometimes it is who you know, not what you know. But, with bag loads of talent, a really genuine and relaxed personality, and an authentic love for his craft, there must be labels-a-plenty in London who would bend over backwards to work with someone like Lonely Eddie.

My prediction? He won’t be ‘Lonely’ for much longer and has every chance of making a success of himself. I tell you what though Eddie, don’t forget us lot in Exeter if that does happen and, maybe save a backstage pass or two for me at the O2 when you play there !?

Here’s to those ‘gut-feelings’. This one certainly paid off.

Lonely Eddie, singer/songwriter from Devon. photographed by Oliver Woodburn

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