Interview by Danny Coleman
“That’s a big question,” she replied when asked what she enjoys about performing.“I think it would be that I want to find ways to connect with people. I love hearing feedback from people as to how they feel about the music or how they experience the live show. I really just appreciate that and love connecting with people,” says the artist simply known as, “Evangelia.”
Fresh from a songwriting sojourn in Ireland; Evangelia is a woman with a plan; a plan which was formulated months prior and one that also took an unexpected twist.
“Yeah,” she stated confidently. “I started releasing music in August of last year and I’ve released four singles since then and all of them have visuals but the latest one is, “Hello Again” and it features Christian Navarro who stars on, “13 Reasons Why” as Tony Padilla. The way that kind of came about is that he and I actually went to Rutgers together, so we’ve been friends and we wereFace-timing last summer as he was in between filming Season One and Season Two of the show. He was telling me his process for getting ready and preparing for the role for Season Two because a lot had happened off screen that he hadn’t lived as an actor and he needed to study his character and kind of get into his head-space. I’m a songwriter and he was my friend so I was like, well let’s write a song together about it. So that’s how it came about, it started on Face-time and then we kind of realized, wait a minute, this song is actually pretty good. So I basically finished it later that day and sent him a voice memo and he liked it and then we decided to go on and make a produced version and I thought it would be cool if we could get him to sing on it as well since it was about his character; he’s not a singer by trade but he can carry a tune and he did really well.”
So helping a friend altered the path you were on and possibly the outcome of the project? ” Yes but in a good way,” she said with a laugh. “The first idea was to release a single and then drop an EP and then, “Hello Again” kind of happened and I wasn’t expecting that to happen. So it was kind of tricky figuring out the schedule of release for that and if it would be on the EP or would it be released as a single before and then just coordinating schedules with Christian who is super busy was a little bit tricky but we came to realize that today it’s a lot about streaming and it’s a lot about the single. I just decided to release songs that I thought stood well on their own and to put kind of a spotlight on them for some time and then release a new one and then another new one and then down the line I feel like the singles that I release are going to be kind of that collection that just ends up making up an album.”
Many of today’s artists are forced to seek different ways to promote their music in order to get it noticed by the public and/or major distribution labels. Most musicians and performers have taken to assembling a catalog and then picking and choosing which recordings will make up an EP; essentially removing the old school ways of thinking where a label signed an entity, recorded them and then set up a tour schedule. The thought of concept albums where songs are linked together or tracked on vinyl or CD in a way as to tell a story is also a dying breed.
“I think it’s still that way to a certain extent, you release a collective project and then you go out and promote it. I think when you’re first starting out you kind of want to see what people like and gravitate towards; I think it also has something to do with our attention spans on the internet (laughs). So it’s like, focus on this song, especially in the streaming world where you want your song to get on playlists and different things so you kind of put focus on the one song. It’s kind of exciting to see what’s coming next so it kind of keeps the momentum going so that you always have something in your back pocket to release to the world. I’m kind of at a crossroads; do I want to do that or do I play the game? The music scene, as much and great as that is; do people listen to concept albums anymore? It may not be easy to promote them and market them, I think people would listen but as a new artist I think it would be difficult to drop a large album and expect everybody to listen to it.”
A New Jersey native who has shifted towards the bright lights of New York City, Evangelia is at home operating as both a solo act or with accompanying musicians. However when it comes to marketing herself and formulating promotion techniques she feels that good old fashioned networking and being present is the way to garner the contacts and materials needed to hone one’s craft.
“I was born in Bridgewater and now I live in Jersey City. I love that I’m close to New York City since I’m basically in and out of New York all of the time now. I’m recording, playing shows, started playing with a full band and in New York I’ve been playing around the Lower East Side. I think something that I do have as an artist is that when I sing my voice is related to; well that’s based on the feedback that I’ve gotten. I’m told that it’s soulful and that it makes you kind of feel something or unique in a certain way and I think that my songwriting is honest. I don’t just make music for the sake of people hearing it; do you know what I mean? My songs are definitely honest to me and who I am so you’re getting an authentic piece of me. I think people like or want that from an artist and the art that they create; it’s not just factory manufactured it’s coming from a real place. The good thing is, there’s a lot that you can do independently now where as we talked about earlier versus back then; if you didn’t have a label you were screwed. I think if you play your cards right and also are just a good person in the networking game; ever since moving to Jersey City I’m constantly in New York and I’m meeting so many people that are in the industry and I kind of think that if you just play your cards right and you’re a good person that people will gravitate towards you and want to help you out. A lot of it is networking, a lot of it is who you know that’s why you’ll always catch me supporting fellow artists. I go to support friends or discover and meet new artists and go looking to collaborate and I think that if you get an artist collective and surround yourself with creative like-minded people with a similar right attitude and drive then you’ve kind of got a whole team behind you.”
When asked what she wants from her music; licensing, airplay, TV appearances or selling out stadiums and arenas; her response was perfect. “All of the above,” she said with a sly little laugh.“I definitely would like to get my music licensed on TV, films, commercials and I’ve also written songs for short films which is really awesome. I like having a concept and then writing for it, that’s why I think I really enjoyed doing, “Hello Again” and writing about Tony. I would love to have the ability to travel the world and perform my music; I mean that’s the dream.”
With the continued success of, “Hello Again” and a plan in place; what does the future hold for this emerging talent? “I have a collaboration that’s coming out soon, it’s a single with this band called Sleeping Lion who’ve come out of Berklee College of Music and they’re really great producers and songwriters and then I have songs that are ready to go in the pipeline; it’s just a matter of how I want to release them. It’s looking like that this collection of songs that I’ve done in the past year will be released as singles and then they’ll make up an album and then I’ll take some time and drop an EP after that. Things just aren’t as black and white so we’ll see what the end turns out.”
To find out more about Evangelia, please go to www.evangeliamusic.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)