It’s not all that difficult to locate budding Atlanta pop princess Eryn Woods in the lunch hour crowd at Panera Bread in Buckhead. For starters, she’s the only customer in the joint with a crimson mohawk, nose ring and a purple bow resting atop her head with matching fingernail polish.
With her new EP, “Holl. E. Woods” just a few hours away from hitting the iTunes store and retailers, Woods is finding it difficult not to vibrate out of her chair, let alone focus on her soup and salad. The 21-year-old Louisiana native has every reason to be excited. The six-song release, filled with hypnotic beats, jagged edges of guitars and lyrics filled with a fierce independent streak is the ideal windows down, radio blasting summer soundtrack. And it doesn’t hurt that this girl can saaaaang either.
Tonight at 9 p.m., Woods will demonstrate live at her album release party for “Holl. E. Woods” at the Drunken Unicorn at 736 Ponce de Leon Ave in Midtown.
With Lady Gaga as the current reigning queen of pop, it’s not a bad time to be Eryn Woods, a girl who grew up listening to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna albums and sang her way into the semi finals of the reality show “Gospel Dream” where she caught the ear of Atlanta Grammy nominee Kelly Price. Unlike most of the pre-packaged pop stars currently winning Grammys who can’t actually sing on the same awards telecast live (we’re talking to you, Taylor Swift), Woods has pipes to spare.
“It’s one of the things I really take pride in,” she says. “I’ve been doing this my entire life. It’s all I know. I don’t know what I would do in life if I wasn’t singing. I feel like the entire reason I was put on this earth is to sing, make music and to entertain people.”
Her new single, “This My Shhh” has blown up, thanks to a fun, come hither video posted on YouTube and a lead off position on the season finale of the MTV reality hit “Jersey Shore.”
“I was on tour in San Francisco the night the season finale premiered,” Woods recalls. “When I got off stage, I couldn’t figure out why I had all these Facebook friend requests and why my phone had blown up with voice mails and texts. In one month, the video has had 10,000 new hits. That’s amazing for an unsigned artist. And because the show is OnDemand, it’s been running forever! It’s been an incredibly cool way to get my music introduced to people.”
Lyrically, the tune tip-toes right up to and flirts with using a naughty word without a Cee Lo trip back into the studio to edit out a certain F-word in order to perform your hit on the Grammys with the Muppets.
“If we had actually used the word, it would have limited the song in some way,” Woods explains. “By not using it, my mom drives around in her Mini Cooper blaring that song with my 13 and 11 year-old brothers in the back seat. I’ve always said I want everyone to be listen to my music. I don’t want to exclude anyone.”
Woods also communicates directly with her fans (delectably nicknamed Kupcakes) via Facebook and Twitter where her young listeners thank her for floating outside the mainstream. Relates Woods: “This young girl just wrote to me on Facebook and thanked me for being me and for showing her that it’s OK to stand up for being different. Through my music, she heard that you don’t have to change who you are for the world, for guys or to fit in. That touched me so much. That’s the reason I do this.”
Her female fans are also responding to “Laughin’ At Ya,” a playful kiss off to an ex on “Holl. E. Woods.” “The reaction to that song has been so unexpected!” she says. “When I recorded it, I felt every word.”
So, is there any one individual she visualizes when she performs “Laughin’ At Ya?” “Oh, I visualize every man who has ever screwed me over,” says Woods laughing. “You should have seen me in the vocal booth recording that. I was in there, flinging my arms, screaming, dancing, moving my head. Once women begin getting successful, these guys come crawling back out of no where. The song is saying, ‘Guess what? If I wasn’t good enough to be with back then, you don’t deserve to be with me now.’ I was really talking to that person too. We were able to capture the emotion of that experience. Don’t let the red mohawk fool you. I’m a normal girl who gets heartbroken just like everyone else. The cool thing is I get to go into the studio and say something about it.”