In the fall of 2018, Brett Eldredge opened up about his lifelong struggle with anxiety, and how he's learned to both cope with and control it as his career has taken off. Then, in January, the singer announced that he'd be taking a break from social media -- and even switching from a smartphone to an old-school flip phone -- to be more actively present in his life. The change, Eldredge admits, has helped both his mental health and his new music.

"I think I’ve been getting just a kind of freedom of reaching out a little farther and giving myself permission to not, under any circumstances, do anything other than what I love to do," Eldredge says of the songs on which he's been working lately. "So it’s like, I don’t wanna be like, 'Oh, this song, I want the bridge to do this because ... more people would wanna sing along to it.' I just do it because I, naturally, that’s where I wanna go, because it’s real and it’s honest and it’s me, and it’ll be my own thing and my own cool way of doing it."

Self-awareness is the name of the game, both career-wise and personally, for Eldredge, these days. "I think it’s gonna show to a really crazy level this next album," he told The Boot at the 2019 Taste of Country Music Festival, later adding that he's learned in both parts of his life to not put so much pressure on being perfect.

"I can look like I’m having a ball the whole time, but sometimes, I’ll be like, 'Oh, I missed that [note, and] every note’s gotta be perfect.' It’s like, no, it doesn’t! It’s just gotta be real," Eldredge muses. "No one wants you to be perfect ... If you were, then life would be no fun.

"I think when I started accepting that ... I think [the] music has really turned around for me in the last year," he adds. "I mean, [previously], everything’s gone great, but mentally, [recently, I've] been like, 'Man, you’re doing this for fun' ... Not to say I don’t have my uptight times -- we all put ourselves through hell a lot -- but I got way looser on myself and gentler on myself and [am] treating myself better ... I just can’t wait for people to hear what’s coming up."

Eldredge is still on social media, but as his fans may have noticed, he's made a change: He's no longer super-attached to it; in fact, he isn't really even maintaining it himself.

"I have a Polaroid [camera] with me all the time ... and I'll write some kind of caption of wherever I am in life, and I'll send it off to my management, [and they'll post it for me]," Eldredge explains. "I want everybody to stay informed and involved with what I’m doing, 'cause that’s what I’m doing it for, but also, I’m not looking at how many likes and what this comment is, and this person didn’t like this photo."

Eldredge isn't sure whether or not he'll ever go back to his old social media habits -- sorry, Bed Head Jams fans! -- but for now, this system is the right option, and helping him "give 100 percent" to his music.

"Right now, that’s really healthy for me, mentally, personally," he notes. "And I think I’ll be able to be that person at every show, for my fans, and I want everybody to come to the show so they can see, the same goofball having fun on social media and being open, they’ll see onstage."

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