She might be new to the global EDM scene but EGGSTA makes her 2021 appearance as a highly accomplished producer and songwriter whose rigorous classical music training brings a unique element to her sound.
That EGGSTA is set to make an impact on electronic dance music is visible in her first single, “BAE (before anyone else)”, released independently, this song of devoted love features a duet with South African pop singer, Lee Cole, that takes EGGSTA as much onto the dancefloor as the pop charts.
Like all her solo work, EGGSTA wrote and produced “BAE” with the assured hand of the gifted artist that she is. Indeed, as Eden Michelle, this Dutch/South African released her first album aged just 16 which earned her a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Publishing a year later.
Through her own label JEM Records, she released Broken Truth and Eden Michelle, working with the late producer Jon Buckley (Sonovision Studios) to create the rock-pop sound of these two releases.
In this formative phase, EGGSTA brought into her unfolding creativity her early years as a classical pianist performing nationally in South Africa and winning the award for Best National Pianist in an under 18 competition at just six years old. A prodigious piano talent, EGGSTA completed her Grade 7 Music examinations with Trinity College of Music in London at the age of 10. Three years later, while composing a classical piece, she made the turn into contemporary music, a new musical direction that was supported by having taught herself the guitar when she was 12.
“I had written a piece of classical music and my brother Jack heard it and suggested that I try putting lyrics to it,” recalls EGGSTA. That promptly resulted in her first composition, “Photograph”, which set her on the journey to where she is now – one of the few women working in EDM and pop who is as multifaceted as an artist gets: a gifted producer, songwriter, musician, a singer and, more recently, a DJ.
EGGSTA’s devotion to learning – practicing piano for hours on end while her friends were out playing – and deep understanding of orchestral music meant that when she started finding her way around the studio, she instinctively knew what her songs needed. “I knew every small part that I wanted in each song – where violins should go, where the bass guitar should be. It was all so apparent to me.”
It was no wonder that, after a successful run as Eden Michelle, EGGSTA became sought after for her production and songwriting skills. While signed to SONY ATV Publishing she wrote songs for multiple artists and TV shows including South African soapie, Isidingo and also had songs featured in Samsung and Mitsubishi TV Commercials. For the decade from 2008 to 2018, she wrote songs and produced singles and albums for independent artists in South Africa and London after moving to the UK city in 2017.
But three years ago EGGSTA had a realisation.
“I was told by people how strong my production and songwriting were so I stepped back from being an artist and moved in that direction. But I saw how much effort and work I was putting into other people’s careers and was struck by the thought of why I wasn’t doing it for myself and so, in 2019, I made the decision to return to being a solo artist.”
Part of this was manifesting EGGSTA, taken from a nickname given to her by her brother, Lee, now an artist who brings every aspect of her creativity and gifts to her own career. Again it was Eden’s other brother Jack – she’s very close to both her siblings – who provided the prompt that moved her into a new sonic frontier. “I’ve always loved EDM but had been writing and producing for artists working mostly in contemporary pop ballads. One day my brother challenged me to make my own EDM song and I took it on.”
But, even for this highly accomplished artist, making her first EDM track was not easy. “People always say dance and house music is simple to make and it is if you’re making a loop using a couple of instruments and a kick drum.” But, in her signature all-in way, EGGSTA found herself working day-in-and-day-out to master the art of commercial EDM. “The instrumentation is so full that even my orchestral brain couldn’t always figure out the missing piece of the songs that I had in my head. But I kept at it until one day I knew that I’d written something that I was more proud of than just about anything else I had written and produced.” That song is the upcoming single “Fake It Till We’re Wasted” which is built around 180 layers of sound to create music that’s at once memorable and enticing.
Since then, EGGSTA has written, produced and performed a head-spinning array of tracks – several of which will appear over the coming year. Together the tracks announce the arrival of her signature EDM sound: defiantly commercial but threaded through with a classical edge, never gratuitous emotion and the kind of musicality that only comes from an artist as enormously talented as she is. The groundwork for EGGSTA’s entry into the international market was set with the release of “You & I”, through South Africa’s Electromode, and her debut live performance in 2019 in front of a packed audience at Limassol, Cyprus’ renowned 7 SEAS Club. In the same year she was part of a UK/European Sofar Sounds tour alongside Josh Middleton which saw her perform in nine cities in 12 days including Paris, London, Southampton, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Falmouth, Zurich and Liverpool.
Over the past year, EGGSTA again set herself a challenge, this time of recording five voice notes – snippets of melodies and lyrics – a day that she would then go through when the urge to be in the studio struck. “I set a goal of completing 30 songs to the point of final mix during lockdown and I have 35 completed,” she says.
With this body of work behind her (in total she estimates she’s written more than 300 songs since that first one when she was 13) and a slate of singles coming up, EGGSTA’s taking on yet another frontier: this time to fill a void in the EDM industry as a female producer, songwriter, performer and DJ. “I’m making music that makes me really feel something and that is incredible,” she concludes. “I’m super proud that I have the ability to do that entirely by myself, and then work with amazing artists like PJ Powers, Lee Cole, Shelton Forbez and Bunny Majaja to take a song where I want it to go. I now can’t wait to be able to take my music to fans globally, with a show that hopefully will be as good as the genre’s best multi-talents.”
– Diane Coetzer