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A familiar face (and voice) in the Nappie Awards’ list of winners is taking home the Nappie for Best Solo Musician. For decades, Eric Erdman has been a constant in the Azalea City music scene. Those who have witnessed Erdman’s rich career have seen a progressive musical evolution take place.
Erdman first entered the local limelight through his time as the frontman for The Ugli Stick. The Ugli Stick specialized in a fresh, pop-infused style of edgy funk and soul that drew the masses to the band’s charismatic live shows. During his time with The Ugli Stick, Erdman was not shy performing solo with an acoustic in hand. This context served as a prediction for the future of his career. In recent years, this singer-songwriter has used his original material to gather a worldwide audience. Even though his travels may take him around the globe, winning a Nappie is a reminder of the scene that still loves his music and the musicians who have nurtured his career.
“Being such a huge fan of Mobile, Alabama, I’m genuinely humbled to be recognized by the Lagniappe audience, which contains the funkiest and the most real of my fellow Mobilians,” Erdman said. “Add to that the fact I am being recognized as Best Solo Musician in a music scene that has the best solo musicians in the country.”
Erdman has not let the year of COVID-19 hinder his career. In fact, Erdman has been working on a new EP, which will be celebrated with a release party at the Joe Jefferson Playhouse on Friday, October 29. Erdman said this small collection of tracks were the result of the familiar “itch” many musicians experience when it is time to release new material. Fortunately, Erdman had a little help from his weekly “Fresh Song Friday” releases. For 132 consecutive Fridays, Erdman has given his fans a previously unreleased track from his repertoire. Erdman used this sonic pool to select the tracks for the upcoming release.
“I sat down with my manager and industry professionals and sifted through a bunch of them,” Erdman said. “Then, we got down to everybody’s favorite and we picked what songs worked best together.”
Since then, Erdman has been laying the EP’s tracks at the Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville. While there, Erdman said a “phenomenal and talented” producer named Justin Weaver has been assisting him. Weaver is known for his work with the Wood Brothers, Anderson East and The Chicks (formerly The Dixie Chicks). Erdman said these new tracks maintain much of the same musical persona as his previous album, “It’s Not Like You Don’t Know Me.”
“It has kind of a chill vibe, which my last album had too with the upright bass and everything,” Erdman said. “There’s some piano on it and some background vocals, but it’s really that singer-songwriter, laid back kinda thing.”
Erdman’s passion for music goes well beyond being a singer-songwriter. He chooses to work in as many facets of the music industry as possible, even if it is recording hip-hop tracks for British television. However, Erdman admitted he loves producing albums for other artists. Currently, Erdman is producing a Nashville singer-songwriter named Chad Wilson (The Wilson Brothers). For him, “head coaching” an album by overseeing the creative process is a great experience. While producing may be a favorite for him, people should keep in mind his past, present and future interactions within the music industry have no boundaries.
“I like to produce albums and be the guitar player or the background singer or be the artists,” Erdman explained. “I like every aspect of creating music. Even if everything worked out wonderfully and I won 10 Grammys or Songwriter of the Year [awards], I’d still want to do all of those things, especially producing.”
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