Ever since Billboard Dance chart-topping artist Eva Universe released her single “Trapped” last December, she has received much attention in the industry—and for good reason. The heartfelt song—produced by J.R. Rotem (who has also worked with Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Meghan Trainor)—is about Eva Universe’s past experiences dealing with depression and an eating disorder, and has resonated with many of her fans. Here, we chat with the singer about the single, what it was like working with J.R. Rotem, and her journey on Nick Cannon’s Celebrity High Tour.
Cliché: Tell us about yourself and your pursuit of music.
Eva Universe: I remember seeing my very first concert, the Spice Girls! I was obsessed! Watching them on stage and seeing all the fun dancing, outfits, sets, and sparkles—I was mesmerized. I knew from that point on I belonged up there, too. So I knew this was something I wanted to pursue since I was very young, but I didn’t actually start recording and working on my career until after high school.
You’ve had successful collaborations recently with “Not My Daddy” feat. Gucci Mane & “Body On Mine” feat Tyga. What were those experiences like, and how did it feel to see both hit the top 10 on the Billboard Dance charts?
Well obviously it felt amazing! I was so excited to get to work with these artists. “Body On Mine” is one of my favorite songs! “Not My Daddy” blew up pretty big in the club scene; I have the Billboard plaque hanging in my room. Both are upbeat, fun songs that I enjoyed recording and performing. They are still songs that people love and I continue to perform them as part of my set for live shows.
How would you describe your style, and how do you incorporate it in your live performances and videos?
I have always loved clothes, shoes, glitter, and fashion! I have a very serious shoe obsession; my collection is pretty extensive to say the least. But I love an edgier, more high-fashion sense of style. Depending on the venue or type of video/show, my team and I have to cater my outfits to match. In most of my shows, you’ll see me rocking some incredible shoes. I tend to like a lot of black and darker colors. I also love to wear cool leather jackets.
J.R. Rotem produced your single “Trapped.” What was your writing process like for that song, and how did it feel to work on it with a team that has previously worked with such high caliber artists (Nicki Minaj, Meghan Trainor)?
I loved this song the second I heard it, and the more I listened, the more it grew on me. It was great to work with someone who understood my vision and help bring it to life. I had a great time working with J.R. and I’m really happy with how the finished track came out. Overall it was an awesome experience.
Tell us about your song “Trapped.” How does it relate to you, and what’s its message?
“Trapped” is meant to relate to everybody in some way. It has a unique meaning for me, but the message is unique to everyone based on whatever they’re dealing with in their own lives. For me, I have been trapped inside my own head and my own destructive thoughts for quite some time. I have dealt with a great deal of depression and feelings of worthlessness that lead to other behaviors, such as a persistent eating disorder that I’ve dealt with for years. But for a long time I was alone with it and very secretive, so it’s nice to promote a song and talk about my own struggles because I want people to know me. I hope others can listen to it and possibly gain some strength or inspiration to push forward in their own lives.
How would you describe your outlook on the importance of self-awareness and both physical and mental health?
Well, I think my music, especially “Trapped,” expresses this a great deal. To expand upon my last answer, self-care is extremely important. Nowadays, I spend a lot of time trying to balance my physical and mental health, which is much easier said than done, but it’s definitely important to lead an overall healthy and happy life. I for sure still have my struggles, but I’m not alone and I have people to talk to and help me through certain situations. I am a work in progress, just like most people.
You’re currently performing on Nick Cannon’s Celebrity High Tour. What has that experience been like?
The tour has been a lot of fun! For a while, I’ve been used to doing shows at clubs and festivals, so high schools are a big change of pace. The students have a great time and they enjoy the music and the games we bring to them. It’s been cool to leave a show and end up getting a ton of messages on Instagram from those students telling me about their experiences and how they enjoyed my show and my music. I really enjoy keeping in touch with these guys over social media.
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