Impossible to pigeonhole and contain, Evenson Andre is full of an uncompromising drive and vision to blow away doubters and fans alike, and for someone like him who struggles with depression, having him speaking so confidently about his dream and his passion is both reassuring and inspiring.
Evenson’s sound is rich, his lyrics are as introspective as they are universal and he already demonstrates a willingness to evolve and reinvent himself like one of his musical heroes, David Bowie.
Today we have the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his latest single “Walking on a Ledge” A song that touches upon death, courage, and the very special relationship between an artist and their audience.
The intro and the 1st verse to “Walking on a Ledge” can be understood from both your and your fans’ perspective. Do you feel like you have more of a two-way-street relationship with them?
Thanks for pointing that out, and yeah this song could be perceived as one that’s coming from two perspectives. Bowie utilized that technique when writing Heroes! I felt like I started developing a relationship with my fans once I started writing from a place of vulnerability. I would say that ‘SOS’ was the pivotal shift in artistry for me. I stopped looking for stories to write about on that one and just looked inwards. You can sometimes feel weak and vulnerable as a musician, as you shed the parts of yourself that most would hide.
You wrote this song in response to an acquaintance’s untimely death. Did it make you more aware of your own mortality at the time?
Last year did its best to beat me down, as it probably did most people. As a person who struggles and battles with his own mental health, I found myself really coming to terms with the mortality of the common man. It really put things into perspective and made me feel a bit lighter. Sort’ve like, why stress everything or anything at all? I just want to live, love, learn, treat people with respect, and most importantly, live on my own terms.
Loved the contrast between the lyrics and the sound, and it seems to me that you gravitate towards making bittersweet music, is that how you’ve come to experience your life so far?
I’ve been chasing a bittersweet ending to a song for about two years now. I think It’s so fitting that I finally found it with this one. I wanted to make the listener go through a journey/trip before feeling or hearing something that felt familiar to them: The Outro goes into a ‘halftime’ tempo, sort’ve tilting the listener’s ear on its axis as they sink their teeth into the end of the show. Listening to the song the movement of the body almost slows down in half once you reach that point, which was my intention.
You have a very polished and richly layered sound. Do you still handle all production aspects of your music?
I appreciate that compliment. And no, everything is a collaborative effort between me and my producer, Modslee! We’ve made everything together but we’re just now scratching the surface of what we’re truly capable of together. I like to compare us to Lorde x Joel Little, and the MJ x Quincy Jones artist/producer pairing. Our brains work extremely well together and we’re able to enter a flow state very quickly. In this flow state we usually go with whatever the universe is feeding us and more times than not it ends up as something magical.
Although you’re definitely under the “Pop” umbrella your sound has a lot of plasticity to it, is that a result of your influences, or do you make a conscious effort to always explore broader sounds?
I want to show people what a 23 year old black musician is capable of. I want to show them that I can be a Kanye, a Bowie, and The Weeknd etc. I want to show them the entire vision, more often than not artists pigeonhole themselves into a corner when they’re sticking to a sound for branding purposes. I don’t want that to be the case for me, I grew up listening to funk, punk, pop, rock, and indie/alternative music. Why must I stick to a particular sound? To get more streams, to be more palatable, marketable? I want to give my fans a different sound for every era, sort’ve like what The Weeknd does. Who knows I might drop a classical album one day.
Besides your music, what other things do you turn to deal with depression and anxiety during lockdown times?
Great question! I don’t know where I would be without meditation and daily journaling. I try to calm my mind down as much as I can. I find myself more prone to react out of impulse and emotions when I’m less aware of my breathing. Yoga is another thing that has seemed to have a great impact on my mind and body, reducing tension both physically and mentally.
You are clearly inspired and influenced by Bowie. I gotta ask about your favorite songs/albums of his!
I love David Bowie, he’s a visionary, a pioneer, he’s one of one. With everything from fashion, his relationship with film, his songwriting, and of course, the production. He always took a ‘you must break something down’ in order to build something back up approach. Everything song served its purpose for him, he always learned something. I would say my favorite Bowie songs are ‘Starman’, ‘Modern Love’ and ‘Space Oddity’. If you ever get the chance, watch the Tony Visconti making of ‘Heroes’ video, it’s phenomenal and gives you great insight into the wizard that is Bowie.
Is there anything like an EP or an album coming in the near future?
The plan is always something greater, there will definitely be an EP. It’s called ‘SADLY, I STILL LOVE YOU’. Only a matter of time before I fully execute the vision for it. It’ll most definitely be my grandest thing as of yet!
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photos / courtesy of artist
story / Samuel Aponte