Canadian singer-songwriter Eric Bolton has been a fan of the arts since childhood. Bolton’s passion rings true through his music. He has a slew of musical influences that range from John Mayer and Damien Rice to Alicia Keys, U2, and Beck. Like his idols, Bolton understands the importance of music storytelling.
For over 13 years, the songwriter has been a successful solo act, as well as the front man of rock group Shy Harry. In 2020 Bolton released his debut single as a solo artist, “Genesis (Let There Be Love)” followed by “The Home Light.” The latter received the title of Classic Rock Magazine’s “Track of the Week” as well as a feature on their coveted “Hot List.”
Bolton owns his own music school/studio, E-Bolt Music, in Cambridge, Ontario, where he teaches when he is not performing.
He recently released his highly anticipated debut solo album, Here Between (E-Bolt Music). The 15-track album reflects the artist’s journey toward emotional freedom and self-discovery. With this album being his most personal project to date, Bolton openly acknowledges his religious upbringing, the importance of finding his voice, and coming to terms with his sexual identity. With his singles “Hello Angels,” “Neon Soul,” and “Steady, My Love” garnering 128K Spotify streams and counting, Eric Bolton’s new album is already striking a chord with thousands of fans.
Bolton wanted Out In Jersey readers to know more about his musical journey and self-discovery.
Who is Eric Bolton in your own words?
Eric Bolton: He is a people-loving guitar player who tries to sing and build community…who’s also kind of into bears.
What brought you on the path to music?
EB: I think it really started with creativity and being intrigued by making things. I have always been somewhat of a life romantic who likes seeing magic in everyday life, and making music seems to be a powerful avenue for that. Then when I first played a guitar, I could see so much magic potential.
What is your favorite genre of music to listen to?
EB: So, moment to moment, but I would say I am really a rock guy 65ish percent of the time.
Do you play instruments?
EB: Sure do! I own a music school where I teach music alongside some awesome instructors. Guitar is my main instrument but really anything that has strings and frets I am pretty comfy with. I also play a bit of piano. I did all the piano on the album, but almost anyone would have played it better. Haha!
How was it growing up being gay?
EB: It was my little/big secret since I was maybe six. Christian family, heavy conservative church upbringing, and society was not exactly a help either. It cultivated a very introspective and personal spiritual journey of sorts. A lot of “calling out” in a prayerful kind of way…which later led to songwriting. So, for that I am very grateful, despite the loneliness of it all when I was younger.
What was your coming out story like?
EB: It kind of happened in stages. I came out to my immediate family years before coming out publicly. The time between family and the public was a time of growing in confidence, and much of that was through gaining meaningful life friendships where authenticity was the beautiful forerunner. So, by the time I came out publicly I already knew I had some great folks in my corner, and they helped me smile through the emotional ups and downs of it all. The community I live in also ended up surrounding me with so much love after, so I was quite encouraged in my path…and it did not take long before I was organizing queer events and advocacy-related things in the community.
Can you tell me about your upbringing?
EB: Sure! Grew up in a family of five kids, I was second in line and the first boy. Lots of love in my family, lots of time spent together. I was also the kid who would take off in the morning on my bike and not be home until the streetlights came on. Adventures always. We were also a very Christian family, which I became very entrenched in, mostly very positively. As I grew older, I realized the struggles I was putting on myself through some of that teaching though and eventually made my departure. Grateful to be drawing closer and closer again with my family despite that though. My brother Mark is my best friend.
Give me a fly-on-the-wall moment while doing a performance?
EB: I mean, you will see a long-haired guy wandering around with a guitar. If I am with my band then it will be a sweaty long-haired guy. I am usually smiling as big as can be as my favorite times are when I am making music. I do not open my eyes too much and am often heavy into the lyrics I am singing. Whether it is my own music, some chill Joni Mitchell, some rocky Jack White, or what have you…it’s about getting into the story I’m singing.
If there is one thing that you would like to tell the younger generation of kids, what would that be and why is that most important to you?
EB: Put on the spot with a quick answer my mind immediately wants to say to look to find beauty as often as you can and, if needed, create it. See it in people, see it in yourself, see it in each small moment…search for it in the mundane. It will make you present; it’ll draw you towards what is good, and it’ll inspire you to surround yourself with that good, it’ll inspire you to be that good.
When it comes to dating, are you all about the apps or are you into the old-fashioned way of dating, which one do you prefer and why?
EB: Oh, I am a happily taken man. I hated the apps and websites and when I decided I was ready to get serious with someone I was dreading getting onto the sites/apps. Thankfully, my man snuck into my Instagram DMs and saved me from all that.
What is your favorite cuisine?
EB: Italian for sure! I love to cook and making fresh pasta from scratch is my favorite thing to do outside of making music.
Tell us about your health and fitness routine.
EB: I get out to the forest with my dogs every morning to breathe and stretch and wake up my mind. Usually paired with trying to be mindful and reflect on what I am grateful for. I am not a gym-goer, not for me. I do have a stationary bike, but it goes through phases. Ok fiiiine, I will get on it later today.
Are you a tank top or shirtless kind of guy? Can you provide a picture?
EB: Neither! I mean, it would be shirtless if either. I’m known for a button-down shirt that’s unbuttoned way down.
Where can people buy your music?
EB: My website, ericbolton.ca, has all my solo music and that is the most supportive way for people to purchase my music. It is also on iTunes and Bandcamp, and is also streamable on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and all of that.
Describe a day in your life from start to finish.
EB: Starts with morning coffee in bed with a book, cuddles, some puzzle games, and a bit of IG scrolling. Followed by forest times with the pups and usually also my man. Home for breakfast and a smoothie then dive into emails and social media work. I own a music school so much of my daytime is spent managing that and organizing shows. Then usually some music teaching. Then a great dinner (again, I love to cook), and many nights I also run off to perform. Love a whiskey or wine nightcap.
What projects are you working on next?
EB: I have got some destination recording projects coming up that I’m stoked for and am also lining up a new massive music video and a whole 2023 tour! Also very much hoping to make 2023 a year with more collaboration. Thanks!