Evangeline – artist profile by Rose Doole28 February 2015
Looking at her now, a conservative Catholic girls’ school certainly seems like it would never be somewhere that Evangeline could fit in. With hair that’s been every colour from silver to purple to blue and a wardrobe featuring anything from all black to rainbow holographic, the 20-year-old Geelong singer/songwriter clearly has no fear of standing out.
When she started high school Evangeline took up opera and jazz singing to follow her interest in music, as she found it difficult to satisfy her passion for performance at school. “I was too pop”, she says. “I’d get involved in the school musicals and shows but would never get a lead role – I was always just an understudy.”
Today, being onstage is no longer just 20-year-old Evangeline’s hobby but her career, having been pushed by her love of music and a supportive family to make her dream of playing music for a living a reality. In 2013 she left school to pursue her passion and study music performance and songwriting at Oxygen College, a contemporary music school, which in just four years of operation, has helped to revitalise Geelong’s live music scene by training and supporting artists like Evangeline.
Evangeline’s classically-trained voice now acts as something of a personal signature worked throughout her music. Evangeline pairs a vocal range and strength unheard of in most pop singers with a mix of keyboards, guitar and synths. The resulting sound is an intriguing mix, creating a laid-back and catchy style described by Triple J Unearthed as “dark electro-pop”. The intimate nature of her lyrics leaves no doubt that, for Evangeline, playing and writing music is a personal venture, based very much on her own world. Her words explore moments of love and heartbreak, and her latest single ‘Chemical’ sees Evangeline describe in her lyrics and arching vocals the painful experience of viewing substance addiction from the outside.
“I have to be in control of writing my songs”, she says. “My ideas can come from anything and everything; sometimes I think in colours, and I might write a song that feels purple. I might be walking down the street and see something that gives me an idea.”
Evangeline’s work is now paying off for her. After many features as a guest artist with performers such as Nussy and Melbourne rapper Bam Bam, her single ‘Chemical’ debuted at number 6 on the Triple J Unearthed charts, and at number 2 on their pop charts. Over the last few months she’s also appeared on Channel 31’s Countdown, radio stations in both Geelong and Melbourne and in publications like Forte magazine and Geelong’s Weekly Review.
Those lost lead roles in high school mean little now as Evangeline works her charm and boundless energy into a commanding stage presence, describing live performances as a profound personal experience. “It’s like you go to this different, other place, where you feel totally connected with the people watching you,” she says.
However the music industry is by no means an easy path to choose, and Evangeline acknowledges that for young artists like herself there’s a long way to go yet to cement a place in Australia’s extensive music scene. “It’s not glamorous”, she admits with a laugh. “It’s hard work. But I get to do what I love every day.”