By: Amanda Factor
"Ego Trippin'" ...Edwin
leaves earth to prove that the sun is burning hot...
It's a defiant move: two years since he quit I Mother Earth to pursue a solo career, enigmatic singer Edwin still won't give out his surname. "There's really no need for a last name," he shrugs. "Unless you have a common first name like Bob or Jim."
"Edwin" isn't exactly "Bartholomew," but it's certainly a distinctive moniker. And as the man himself points out: it's all supposed to be about the music, anyhow.
Released late April, the album Another Spin Around the Sun was a hit right out the gates, thanks to a clever and tantalising 15 second spot ad on Much, a compelling Matrix meets Matthew Good video, and a daring disparity between its twelve tracks (they're as different from one another as the line-up in a karaoke bar).
The artist has traded bleached surfer locks for a suave chocolate-coloured hue. He stressed that neither the look nor the diversity of material are part of any big scheme to "reinvent" himself, though he wants to get away from being "that IME guy."
He's diplomatic about it, though: "I'm very proud of that whole era of my life. But I've moved on. Everybody else should move on and accept I Mother Earth's new lineup. And if you like my music, please come to the show."
Edwin will step onto a solo stage for the first time at this summer's Edgefest tour. "I'm looking forward to it," he says, rubbing his hands. "But I am a little nervous. I've been on the main stage at Edgefest three times. This will be different because people will maybe know one song, the single, maybe."
For those who choose to know more in advance, Edwin describes his album was "great driving music," as well as "a feel-good record you can sing along with, positive with dark undertones."
Indeed, lines like "I feel amazing" ("Amazing") and "It's good to be alive" ("Alive") put a very positive spin on things. Where are all these warm happy feelings coming from?
"It's from tapping into all my senses," he explains. "It's being here, now, and experiencing life on a daily basis. Some days you can write a thousand pages, other days you can't write a sentence. It's a matter of being inspired at that moment and having something to write about."
The dark undertones lurk between the lines of the lyrics. Future single "Hang 10" is a perfect example. "So many people from around the world, their destination is to go to California," he says. "But it's got the same problems, if not more, than anywhere else. Behind this facade, there's dark goings-on."
Edwin wants to let the light shine down, too. Case in point - the lilting voices of a children's choir, which give tracks like "Theories" and "Alive" an ominous, spiritual feel.
"I do have a spiritual side," he admits. "I guess it does come out in the songs because it kind of comes out in everyday life. Not like 'Praise God! Praise God!' But it you're aware of your place in the universe, you're not the be-all, end-all of existence."
Another theme that emerges in Edwin's songs is one of escapism. "You go through trails and tribulations every day, and the last thing you want to do these days is get a record reminding you how miserable life is. You want to put on a record you can kind of escape to, escape for an hour from your world, just go on a journey with music and your mind."
Edwin himself has used music as an escape, ever since he was a tyke. Singing to himself was his favourite means of communication when he was young. "I'd walk down the street singing aloud. People would be like SHUT UP!"
Little did they know...
"Little did they know they'd be telling me to shut up ten years later."