It’s been a busy, bumpy ride for Eva. She spent the first five years of her life in the mid-western city of Lincoln, Nebraska, before the family moved to Northern California. The self-styled classic pop lover grew up listening to her parents’ country and classic rock records, before she fell in love with strong female vocalists such as Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears.
As a child, Eva had piano and voice lessons, and was in the choir in high school. It was then that she discovered that she suffered from terrible stage fright. Before long, though, she overcame her anxiety and appeared in high school musicals. But her father made her wait until after high school to pursue a music career, which she started at the age of 18, after spending a year at the University of Arizona.
“I started recording some of my own songs, and some covers - I was just messing around,” she recalls. Her first composition was “a heartfelt ballad” about her first boyfriend called My Everything. “Listening back, I feel a bit, ‘Wow, that’s embarrassing,’” she winces. “It’s cute, though.”
Nevertheless, people began to take note. Eva began working with the likes of: Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, the brilliant, embattled Scott Storch, and Snoop Dogg.
In 2011, Eva released her debut single, Not My Daddy, featuring rapper Gucci Mane. The single was successful in the clubs and reached No 8 on the Billboard Club Play chart. It proved something of a calling card, leading to invitations to perform as support to another legendary rapper, Nas, as well as Grammy-winning songsmith Alicia Keys. “I remember one show, in front of 3,000 people, in Phoenix, Arizona - a lot of my friends from college came to see me, which was really exciting,” she says.
Her next single, Ashes, was a take on the children’s nursery rhyme Ring A Round The Rosie, and was followed by Body On Mine, featuring rapper Tyga. It was a hit on SiriusXM radio. “They played it all the time,” Eva enthuses. “I’d be driving around LA with my sisters in the car and it would come on. That was surreal.”
In late 2014, Eva issued Trapped, a song produced by J.R. Rotem (Rihanna, Britney) and written by Poo Bear, about imprisonment, as much by one’s own fears and neuroses as by relationships. She performed at KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball, the Hollywood House of Blues and Club Splash and was the Headliner at OC 2013 Gay Pride. In 2015, she embarked on Nick Cannon’s 2015 Celebrity High Magazine Tour, where she performed five shows a month at select California high schools, following in the footsteps of her idol, Lady Gaga.
And now Eva has recorded a slew of new material: Bad For Us, Over U, and the guitar-driven Sole Survivor. “They’re all break-up songs – I never intended them to sound like pop songs, but that's just how they turned out, I guess,” Eva notes of what sound like pop anthems, with giant choruses and powerful hooks. To coincide with her new music, Eva has a strong new look, acquired with the help of Nigel Barker, a judge and photographer on America’s Next Top Model.
“Nigel really took me under his wing. He appreciates my sense of style,” says Eva, “I’m definitely not the vanilla pop chick,” she asserts. “I have a little bit more of a dark edge,” she adds of her style, which she describes as “sexy but relatable”. “I've always liked darker colors. I went through my punk rock phase. I wore a lot of black eyeliner and listened to Simple Plan and Good Charlotte. I love rock music - Queen, AC/DC…” She pauses, then thinks back to her troubled adolescence. “I was such an angsty teenager. I had a lot of interesting times growing up…”
Eva admits she was bullied in her teens, and struggled to fit in. She felt “mad and angry at the world”. Now, she uses her music to channel her feelings.
“Everyone’s childhood shapes who they become,” she reflects. “It still affects me in certain ways… But that’s one of the reasons I love Lady Gaga - her message of inclusiveness and acceptance, and the idea that you should ‘be yourself’. I think that’s why I have this amazing LGBTQ following: they tell me they love a strong, fierce woman.”
She believes she has two guises: the demure, serious singer-songwriter, and the larger-than-life identity that she assumes onstage.
Eva can do “fun dance pop music”, but she’s equally adept at “depressing ballads”. A fan of La Roux on the one hand and Britney on the other, she also intends to negotiate that tightrope walk between indie electronica and mainstream pop.
“I want to find a balance,” she says, keen to incorporate elements of hip hop, R&B, funk and rock. “I have some meaningful songs and just some plain feel-good music. I want to be able to do it all - to be crazy and upbeat onstage but also sing something slow and emotional or cutting-edge. Why not?”
Why not indeed.
“I want to spread joy in this world,” decides the California girl intimate with the art of darkness, finally. “Everybody needs that moment where you take a break from all the crap and have some fun. That’s where my music comes in: I want to spread the love. But I don't want to be portrayed as just another blonde party girl. That's not me. Beneath the surface, I’m very real.”