Eden’s garden of vocal delights

“I am essentially a storyteller; just a messenger, really. And the first story that I’m telling is my own.”

So says Eden Myrrh, the singer who is steadily garnering recognition as a musician on the rise.

Eden, who will be performing alongside Loyiso Bala at the V&A Waterfront’s Chavonnes Battery Museum next week, adds: “My music speaks about dreaming and the journey to achieving those dreams – the joys and the challenges. I tend to float genre wise, but you could describe most of what I produce as retro future soul.”

This retro future soul genre has seen the Pinelands-based musician and her vocal prowess featuring on the reality show, The Voice SA, and also grabbing the attention of young musical heavyweights, such as Benjamin Jeptha, alongside whose quintet she performed at the recent Artscape Youth Jazz Festival.

The quintet is made up of Jephta, Marcus Wyatt, Kyle Shepherd, Jono Sweetman and Sisonke Xonti.

“It was honestly one of the most ethereal experiences. I met Benjamin during my stint on The Voice SA this year. After leaving the competition in the top 32, we spoke about collaborating, and it happened. I honestly respect every one of those musicians so much. I was in my element, soaking in as much as possible – like I try to do every time I perform or work with new people.”

Working with new people is what she will be doing when she hits the stage with the SAMA-winning Bala.

As to how the collaboration came about, Eden, 24, says: “Music, as much as everything else in life, is about relationships. I was called about opening for the performance at Chavonnes by someone who had been to another performance of mine, where I was not only opening but also playing synths and keyboards for the EP Launch of good friend and fellow musician, Fruit Vendor. And, obviously, I obliged. I’ve not done anything with Loyiso Bala before, but I admire what he does and am really looking forward to it.”

Originally from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Eden says: “I was extremely blessed to grow up with parents who wanted to expose me and my sisters to as much as possible – giving us every opportunity that they could afford. Because of them, I started playing classical piano at six years old and developed my song writing with my father’s help. I had a natural affinity for computers and fine art, so graphic design was my career choice until a gap year with Youth with a Mission helped me change my mind.

“After overseas travels and performances at various places, including the amazing Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Youth with a Mission, I came home to study jazz piano and haven’t look back since.”

Not content with only having studied music, Eden is completing a BCom in marketing management degree “to help me be a better musician and improve my business mind”. For Eden, being a young person of colour in the Mother City comes with its pros and cons.

“I come from a small town, so a city like Cape Town is a dream,” she says, adding: “As an outsider of colour, though, I found myself quite shocked and affected by the racism here – and the segregation. I’m working hard to find the middle ground for myself; as a girl who doesn’t really fit the status quo, doesn’t really have a familiar sound, and who wants to say things that there aren’t many people saying.”

Given that we’re at the tail end of Youth Month, does she have any message she’d like to impart to the youth?

“You know,” she says, “now more than ever, there is a cry for belonging, acceptance and security among our youth. There are many youth that are privileged enough to voice their opinions, but there are many more who don’t have that opportunity.

“To the kids who are sitting at home without a hope to finish school, living under a barrage of violence, and don’t see themselves as anything or anyone of importance and are reading this, I want to say: you can do it, you can be something, and you can be someone. Don’t allow the world to make you bitter and hard. You can achieve anything if you work hard. Be kind, not entitled. Be wise, not egocentric. Dare to dream, and don’t allow your circumstances – even a lack of money – to determine your future.”