Brett Eldredge back on track after social media ‘break’

Eldredge rang in 2019 at the beach with his flip phone by his side, and decided to make some major changes, including stepping away for a while from social media, which he says started to consume too much of his life.

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Brett Eldredge headlines the Chicago Theatre Dec. 20-21.

Brett Eldredge headlines the Chicago Theatre Dec. 20-21.

Andrew Eccles

Back in 2011, Illinois native Brett Eldredge walked onto the stage of the Chicago Theatre a relative unknown, opening for the legendary Willie Nelson.

“I’m pretty sure anyone who knew me in that audience was actually related to me,” Eldredge says, laughing.

Eight years and seven No. 1 songs later, Eldredge now finds himself walking into the historic venue yet again as part of his Glow Live tour, which arrives in Chicago for shows Friday and Saturday nights.

Untitled

BRETT ELDREDGE

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 20-21

Where: Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State

Tickets: $49.50-$89.50

Info: livenation.com


But this time around, this country music powerhouse finds himself in much different circumstances, both professionally and personally.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to ending my year in Chicago,” says Eldredge, who released his critically acclaimed holiday album “Glow” in 2016. “It’s a full-circle moment for me to come home during the holidays and share the music I grew up on. The holidays are just so magical here.”

Indeed, the Christmases of Eldredge’s past were ones that could have easily come out of some Norman Rockwell-esque holiday painting. Christmas Eve in Paris, Illinois, (where he was born and raised) were spent with his family at church, whether singing up in the choir loft or sitting in the main floor in those ole wooden church pews. The following day, Eldredge would wake up and crank up the Christmas carols sung by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Bing Crosby to Nat King Cole while trying to wrangle his brother out of bed to see what was waiting for them under the tree.

There was relatively no noise and no distractions — and no social media. It was a blissful time for Eldredge.

“It was a different time, that’s for sure. It’s all about going back to that place of innocence and beauty and wonder,” says Eldredge, who attended Elmhurst College back in the day.

Of course, finding that place of innocence and wonder can be a tough job within this noisy and often emotionally crowded world. But for Eldredge, he found it last year under the tree at Rockefeller Center alongside the legendary Tony Bennett.

“It was so wild to think I’m 60 years younger than him,” recalls Eldredge, whose star power has risen over the years thanks to chart-toppers such as “Love Someone,” “Wanna Be That Song” and “Don’t Ya.” “He’s been touching people for such a long time, and all of a sudden, I wanted to reach that kid in me and I wanted to have that kind of a career.”

So last year, Eldredge rang in 2019 at the beach with his flip phone by his side, and decided to make some major changes, including stepping away for a while from social media, which he says started to consume too much of his life.

“I had to find the love of what I was doing,” the now 33-year-old remembers. “I had to get the noise out of my life for a little bit. [Social media] started to become a 24/7 thing for me. It’s like that for so many people. You start losing touch with reality.”

Now, instead of connecting over social media, Eldredge is focusing on spending more time connecting with his fans during his live shows. He also hopes to connect with them once again through the new music that he is currently working on for next year.

“If I’m going to come back [to using social media], it’s important for me to know what I want to say,” he says, adding he’ll kick off the decade with a series of headlining dates in Europe next year. “I’ll come back at some point and I think I will have a different relationship with it and not let it consume my entire life. It can be a really powerful thing, but I needed to take the time to work on me.”

Most importantly, Eldredge says he knows exactly who he is now.

“I know what I’m looking for now,” he says. “I took the time to peel back the layers a little bit and I grew up a ton. I’ve learned to live and I’ve learned to fall and I’ve learned that sometimes, its OK to fall. I’m a different person now.”

Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.

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