Alex Eden isn’t just an accomplished and unpredictable vocalist, cellist and songwriter—she’s also a sailor. And the painfully gorgeous melancholia the U.K. transplant produces is in no small part a product of her time on the sea, particularly an excursion from Hawaii to Alaska four years ago.


“It was a challenge, a big challenge,” she reveals from her current home of Los Angeles. “There were four other people and myself on a 46-foot ship. It was 18 days at sea across the Pacific, just kind of heading due north, essentially. We’d had a rough few days of weather, but everything had calmed down and I was listening to Wagner. So I’m sitting in this boat about 17 days into this trip, not far off from seeing land again, I’ve got this crazy dramatic music playing, and the sun comes up over the horizon. At that moment I felt completely inspired and overwhelmed, really, by nature. It puts everything very much in perspective. It’s very humbling.”


Eden channeled that sensation of freedom and confidence into the construction of her latest album “Touchez Moi” on Side Tracked Records (one new song, appropriately, “has a bit of a mariner’s feel to it”). Infatuated with singing since childhood, she utilized her “gap year” between school and university to cross the Atlantic to New York at 19 and pursue a record deal. The culture shock was constructive, as Eden would begin to synthesize a vast array of influences, from Madonna and Massive Attack to Nina Simone. She gradually evolved from overseas teen-pop queen (“I would get mobbed in the malls,” she laughs) to trip-hop dabbler to jazz singer to collaborator with Shudder to Think’s Craig Wedren in unsung electropop side project BABY, fusing all of those disparate experiences into her own distinctive identity


“It feels like I have a past life right now,” she muses. “It was a great experience and it builds your confidence, but I’ve come to a point with this record where I truly think I’m making The One, as it were, after many years of evolving as an artist.”


It’s safe to say there’s understatement afoot. Eden’s voice evokes equal parts seduction (“Touchez Moi,” already garnering spins in the L.A. radioscape), confession (“Sweetest Mistake”) and yearning (“Song of Hoping”), bolstered by a tasteful blend of piano and cello instrumentation and striking pop melodies. Better still, the chanteuse has struck collaborative gold with co-conspirators “Spider” Ron Entwistle and Charlie Midnight; their earnest in-studio discussions allowed songs to develop naturally. (“We would start with a conversation,” Alex reveals, “and, whatever that mood was, take it into what the song would become lyrically.”) It’s all part of Eden’s grand plan—which is, in fact, not to have a grand plan.


“We’re just so saturated as a society at the moment with everything,” she notes.  “Nothing’s really left to the imagination. Everything’s overexplained, everything’s overexposed. When you look at Dylan and how he stumbled across his creative places and the Beatles doing things in one take, we just don’t have that anymore. There are no surprises. I’m trying, with the people I’m working with, to make this record organically and honestly. I feel hugely fortunate.”


Kiss Me Like The Woman You Loved

Directed by Gary Oldman