Evangeline is casting her dark glamour over popdom. The singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia has already enchanted listeners globally with ‘My Kingdom’ – as remixed by hotshot Los Angeles producer William Black. Now comes the next phase: Evangeline’s debut EP, Atelophobia, led by the magnetic single ‘Write About’.
Growing up in the satellite city of Geelong, Evangeline realised her passion early. “When I was about five or six, I remember turning around to Mum and Dad and being like, ‘I wanna do performing arts – I wanna be an actor, a dancer and a singer,'” she relates. Evangeline started attending a performing arts academy on weekends and classes after school. She eventually took piano lessons and had classical vocal training. “I was doing German opera!,” Evangeline laughs. Yet soon her “rebellious” streak emerged. Impatient to create, and to achieve, the prodigy resisted the rules as she learnt them.
Evangeline was a pop devotee. “I listen to everything – and I always have,” she shares. “I’ve always had a really weird mixture of music. But pop music has always been my thing. I was three and I could do the whole Spice Girls routine.” However, Evangeline was especially enamoured of Australian heavy rock bands like The Amity Affliction and Parkway Drive. Now composing, she contemplated pursuing music in the mode of Evanescence or Paramore. But Evangeline recognised that she could express emotional intensity through electronic dance-pop – exploring her generation’s experiences of mental illness, addiction and premature loss. Evangeline was set to become the queen of the ‘cry-dance’ song.
In 2015 Evangeline, then 19, made her solo premiere on Razor Recordings with the dark electro-pop ballad ‘CHEMICVL’. Evangeline wrote about the dangerous romanticisation of substance abuse. Buzz local studio identity Pip Norman (credits include Troye Sivan) generated the requisite atmosphere. “I like keeping it dark,” Evangeline says. “I really like having that lyrical content. It’s not exactly Shakespearean content, but it’s lyrics that can start a conversation. You can say it’s a bit more than ‘a sad song’ sometimes.” ‘CHEMICVL’ proved a hit with the national youth broadcaster triple j’s digital platform Unearthed – Evangeline designated a Featured Artist.
Evangeline followed with the melancholically euphoric ‘My Kingdom’ – Jan Skubiszewski (Jackson Jackson, Way Of The Eagle) producing. When William Black remixed ‘My Kingdom’ into a symphonic bass-house opus, it was seized upon by tastemaker blogs and scaled the Top 5 of the Viral 50 – Global On Spotify chart. Says Evangeline, “It helped really launch, or solidify, the beginning of my career.” Indeed, she’d ink a worldwide licensing deal with Polydor France (Universal Music in Australasia). Meanwhile, in a serendipitous irony, Evangeline found herself contributing backing vocals to The Amity Affliction’s latest album, This Could Be Heartbreak.
A 15-year-old Evangeline had “scribbled” what she planned to title a debut EP in her diary – “Atelophobia” being the fear of imperfection or not being good enough. The singer later approached Atelophobia as a song cycle about, not only those lingering feelings of inadequacy, but also a composite maladaptive relationship. The first of the EP’s five tracks is the slow-burning banger ‘Take Me Home’ – another William Black collab. On this and the ensuing ‘My Kingdom’, Evangeline sings about the heady early days of a romance – “going down a rabbit hole with someone.” In the cut-up future disco anthem ‘MONSTER’, Evangeline reveals her self-doubt – that nagging inner-voice. Travelling to the UK, the divette teamed with producer Knightstarr to record one of her most upbeat, yet darkest, forays. “You just think, ‘What a paradox!,'” Evangeline laughs. Evangeline worked with Frenchman Dany Synthé on the glitch ‘Hurting Me’, in which she despairs the lack of reciprocation in a relationship. Atelophobia closes with the Sturm und Drang synth-pop ‘Write About’ – another Knightstarr affair – which Evangeline sums up as a “plea”. She resolves that, with her adored absorbed in his own internal struggles, she’s gotta move on – and help herself. Crucially, Evangeline intends no sub-dissery with her songs. “If I am writing about you, it’s because I love you – and this is my way of communicating to you,” she stresses. “I hope people feel that way when they listen to my songs – and they relate to my songs and relate to me.” Ultimately, Atelophobia promotes healing. Evangeline universalises painful encounters via her uplifting power-pop. And the rising star, who regularly gigs on her hometown circuit, is looking forward to performing equally cathartic live shows – even rocking festivals. “Music is so powerful,” Evangeline enthuses. “People always ask me, ‘Oh, do you think you’ll write a happy song?’ I’m not saying ‘no’ to writing happy songs but, for me, growing up, I listened to a lot of sad music – because I used it to get through the times where I was damaged and I was broken. There are albums that I go, ‘I can’t imagine being alive without these albums.’ I’ll always probably project that kind of music because, even though it’s sad, it gets you through so much when you can relate to something as simple as a song.”
From sad girl to rad girl – that’s Evangeline.