Fresh from a songwriting sojourn in Ireland, the artist known simply as Evangelia is a woman with a plan — a plan that was formulated months prior and took an unexpected twist.
“I started releasing music in August of last year and I’ve released four singles since then and all of them have visuals,” she said. “The latest one is ‘Hello Again,’ and it features Christian Navarro, who stars on (the Netflix series) ’13 Reasons Why’ as Tony Padilla. … He and I actually went to Rutgers together, so we’ve been friends, and we were FaceTiming 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 Season Two because a lot had happened offscreen that he hadn’t lived as an actor and he needed to study his character and kind of get into his headspace.
“I was like, ‘Well let’s write a song together about it.’ So that’s how it came about. It started on FaceTime 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 she was 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 … I feel like the singles that I release are going to be kind of that collection that just ends up making up an album.”
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.
“I was born in Bridgewater and now I live in Jersey City,” she said. “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 and 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 … 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.”
Regarding the future, she said: “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.”
She also has another collaboration coming out soon. “It’s a single with this band called Sleeping Lion who’ve come out of Berklee College of Music. 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.”
For more about Evangelia, visit evangeliamusic.com.
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