Today we highlight an artist from the Cape Ann area, Marina Evans. With a background that blends jazz with folk and indie pop, Evans has the vocal chops that say “I’ve been around the block” with writing that is catchy and defined by great hooks and infectious melodical goodness for the listener to eat up.
I caught up with Marina to ask her a couple questions. Check it out below and be sure to stream (and buy!) her latest “Unbound”.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are your influences? What inspires you to make music?
Marina Evans: I grew up in a home surrounded by music — between my mother’s piano playing and my father’s unbelievable vinyl collection, I was immersed in music and never knew a life without it. My biggest vocal influences come from jazz, where I got my start as a professional performer: Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holliday. Songwriting and lyrical influences range from more traditional songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Eva Cassidy to more modern writers like Feist, Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, and Brandi Carlisle. I am also a huge classic and southern rock fan, and am always listening to the Beatles, the Stones, the Allman Brothers, David Bowie, The Velvet Underground… you name it.
2) Songwriting is what I look most for in the music I personally listen to. What is your writing process like? Are you always writing? Do you sit down with the idea “I will write this song right now”? or does it come in pieces?
ME: My writing process starts with the music. Oftentimes I’ll find a chord progression that inspires or challenges me, and improvise melodies over it until something sticks. It’s a similar, organic process lyrically — I will literally be sounding out words and syllables as I work out the melody — and when I find a syllable or word that fits well, I use it as an anchor for my lyrical concept. Sometimes I’ll work backwards for my lyrics, referring first to my many notebooks of phrases and ideas before starting to sound out what words best fit the melody. It’s definitely an inexact science, an alchemistic combination of circumstance, study, focus, spontaneity and discipline.
3) The most important aspect of Red Line Roots is community…who are some local folks you really want to turn the readership onto.
ME: There are so many gifted musicians where I am from — and it’s really incredible, when you think about it, for such a small community. Some of my local favorites are: Michael Bernier & Freevolt; Sarah Blacker; The Grown Up Noise; Renee & Joe; and Jay Psaros.