Interview: Evie Calabasas
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
A mixture of different things got me into music: first of all, my parents are big music fans, so they would always put me to sleep with music by Elvis Presley or David Bowie; moreover, one of my dearest memories is me and my dad on our couch watching a live concert at Madison Square Garden, I remember looking at the crowd and thinking “I want to do that one day!”. I must have been around 7 years old when I found out about Taylor Swift and I was so blown away by her talent, that I begged my parents to let me take guitar lessons.
If I wasn’t doing music right now, I would probably be studying to become a chef, because that’s one of my favourite hobbies.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
As I said, I like cooking and coming up with new recipes and I have realised that it is an activity that helps me boost my creativity and focus. I also like reading as I really enjoy getting lost within someone else’s story. I usually find one or two characters that influence me to a point that I want to write a song about them or their point of view.
How long has your band been around?
At the moment it’s just me, myself and I, even though I’ve tried in the past to be part of a band, it never lasted, and I decided to go solo. I definitely miss the dynamic of a band, the jamming sessions or creating memories as a group, but for the time being, I don’t regret my decision as I feel that I’m able to express myself in ways that I couldn’t when I was part of a band. Having said that, I value the people in my team very much and I know I can always count on them, both professionally and personally.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Right now I'm in Italy, between Perugia, where I am studying at the University, and Grosseto, the city where I was born. The music scene in Perugia used to be very lively before Covid, yet Grosseto is kind of flat, but that’s where I met my producer, so in the end, I was very lucky. Unfortunately, I’m not a massive fan of Italian music, as I’m mainly influenced by English and American artists, that’s why I write in English and I’ve always dreamt of performing around the globe.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Evie Calabasas is my stage name and it’s not so different from my birth name (Evita Calabassi), but I wanted to try to make it as simple as possible and easy for anyone to pronounce, so I went for my nickname “Evie” and the surname “Calabasas”, from which my actual surname originates. Plus, growing up, I've heard a lot about the city of Calabasas in LA and many books, movies and tv shows I love are set there, therefore it's like a homage to them as well.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
I don’t think there is such thing as a best or worst show, because any show I’ve played has something that I can remember it by, whether it was the feeling of being appreciated by friends and family or meeting new fans that I didn’t know I had, or even shows where I thought I didn’t perform very well but that still taught me valuable lessons. So far, I’ve enjoyed each show I’ve had the chance to play and I’m really looking forward to getting back on stage as it’s one of my favourite feelings in the world!
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
So far, I’ve performed in small venues and local pubs, but I’ve enjoyed busking as well. I would love to play bigger shows such as the O2 Apollo Academy in Manchester, which holds a special place in my heart, but I can’t lie, one of my biggest dreams is to play at Madison Square Garden, just like some of my favourite artists did.
If you could play any show with any line-up who would be on the ticket?
It’s kind of obvious now, but Taylor Swift has to be there, along with Maisie Peters, Harry Styles and Anne-Marie as headliners. And, since I would be there as an opening act, it would be amazing to share the stage with independent artists such as Gion, Ryan Mack, New Rules and Matilda Mann.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
First of all, this is for everyone reading, don’t let negativity bring you down. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t’ agree with what you’re doing, but if that’s what you want to do you have to push forward. Moreover, the band dynamic is always thrilling, and you always have someone to rely on, but if you don’t feel comfortable, you have to take a step back and see if your relationship can actually work. Otherwise, don’t be afraid of going solo!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I would say to myself “Evie, Evie, Evie, don’t be scared of growing up and changing!”. Sometimes you have to take risks and try your luck, even if it seems scary or beyond your capabilities. Also, don’t be afraid of failure, it happens to everybody and there’s always something you can learn out of it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The song that means the most to me is actually not out yet, but we are working on it and it’s about to be released very soon. Like many of my songs, it talks about growing up and facing the fact that what you thought was right for you in the past might not be the same now. However, among the songs I’ve already released, “Home” holds a special place in my heart because it was the first single that drew attention to my music on international radios and tv.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Home” is definitely the songs that get requested the most and I’m very pleased that people love it as much as I do. However, I also play covers during my shows, so I would never say no to a Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran’s cover.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I’m inspired by basically anything I personally live or listen to or see. In fact, an idea may simply spark from an interesting line of a song, or movie, or book, or more simply by something that attracts my attention more than anything else. If a certain situation is particularly interesting for me, I also try to change the point of view and try to analyse the feelings of all the people involved, in a way I’m as interested in the main character as much as in the side characters.
As far as the creative process, I usually write lyrics and melody on my guitar first, but then it comes to life in my producer’s home studio. We have a great synergy and what I love the most is that I don't need to explain too much, because he instantly gets what I think, or even what I am about to say.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
In my songs, I usually talk about acceptance, not being afraid of changing and growing up, and most of all of stop trying to be someone or something that is not authentic to you just to live up to society’s standards or other people’s expectations. I try to be as honest as I can in my lyrics, talking about typical topics such as heartbreaks and more personal struggles, but the point that I want to get across is that I’m 100% willing to face my emotions, bad or good, whether I’m feeling miserable or joyful.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
There is so much news that I want to share with the world and I’m so excited about it! I’m now working with a London-based record label and my music genre has shifted to a different style, especially thanks to new musical influences and to my producer, who introduced me to a whole different world. I’ve been working very hard on many singles that we are going to release in the next months, but for the moment I can say that “OMG” is dropping on May 21st and I’m so eager to see how people are going to react! I like to think that this is the start of my “new era”, and I really hope that people will love it as much as I do.