A rare interview with Irish singing sensation Eden USA TODAY SOUNDCHECK

On a Thursday evening in October, Eden took the stage at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Southeast Washington, D.C. Devout fans entered the venue to hear one of music’s hottest new acts perform.

I watched as fans sang nearly every single word to his hits. “You don’t know how to let go sometimes/Who said this must be all or nothing?” he sang from the hit and. The entranced audience excitedly echoed his words as if they had practiced.

Eden’s reception in Washington, D.C. was not rare. In fact, he’s been all over the world on tour, and still has many more cities to go. In September, he was in Austin, Dallas and Houston. Before that, he was in San Francisco and Los Angeles. After D.C., he went to Charlotte and Atlanta. The end of his tour takes him to Belfast, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris.

Around the world, Eden, whose given name is Jonathon Ng, has established an impressive fan base.

“What I’m going through at this point in my life is very similar to a large demographic of my listeners, so I think that’s beneficial as far as having a connection with my fan base,” Ng told USA TODAY College in a rare interview.

Listen to his latest EP, i think you think too much of me, and you’ll experience the emotionally charged lyrics that speak to so many of his fans. “Cause I had nothing for you/I can’t love when I can’t even love myself,” he muses on the song drugs.

Eden’s tour is based mainly on the songs from his latest project. i think you think too much of me was released in August by the label Astralwerks. The project went on to land at 104th on the US Billboard 200, 43rd in Ireland and 44th in Australia. By all metrics, the EP has done well. There are even two music videos out, for the songs sex and drugs.

At only 20 years old, Ng has been already making music for years. He also writes, mixes, plays and arranges all of his own music. “I have so much control over the process. The music that I make in my bedroom is what gets sent to iTunes. It’s literally from my bedroom to the world,” he said.

Eden performs the song rock and roll while on tour. (Photo by Raman Mama)

Ng had a different sound when he was making music under his old name, The Eden Project.

“Before I changed my name and I was making music, I would literally take the most ridiculously genred songs and put them out after each other. I would put out dub step songs, then put out an acoustic or orchestral thing,” Ng said.

Ng says that he learned a lot from his past projects. “A lot of the mistakes I made while making music were before I changed my name,” he shared.

The Eden EP speaks to a much more intricate composition. The first four songs on i think you think too much of me are delivered as a package deal: sex, drugs, and and rock and roll create the front half of the project, while three older songs were repackaged for the back half “as a bonus for fans.”

“This project is more of a realization than a journey,” Ng said. “The songs are all intertwined, but in different ways. sex sounds different from drugs, and drugs sounds different from and … but each song is important.”

Ng was trained as a classical violinist and later taught himself to play piano and guitar. Though he can’t read sheet music, he says he understands musical construction well.

And one of the hallmarks of Ng’s style is his ability to create an intricate piece with little structure. Take, for example, his rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. At his D.C. show, he played a piano cover infused with his own style, turning the defining piece by the King of Pop into a song that sounded like Ng had written himself and mixed in his bedroom.

“I don’t consciously use the music theory I was taught as a concert violinist. … I don’t write sheet music,” he continued. “Orchestras helped me understand chord structure and how different voicings can affect a mood.”

As Eden’s Future Now tour begins to wind down, Ng will have time to focus on creating more music. “It’s important to me to get home so that I can write more,” he said.

At 20 years old, Eden is optimistic about the future: “I’ve got a ton of time to get things right so I can keep messing around and making mistakes in a good way.”

Originally published at college.usatoday.com on October 24, 2016.

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Culture writer featured in Noteworthy, The Writing Cooperative, USA Today & Olustories. Comedian & Musician. Thinker. ramanmcreates@gmail.com linktr.ee/airraman

Culture writer featured in Noteworthy, The Writing Cooperative, USA Today & Olustories. Comedian & Musician. Thinker. ramanmcreates@gmail.com linktr.ee/airraman