Photo Credit: Chris Basford
The end of this week will bring about the release of ‘Home’ from EVVAN. An audible journey that explores various aspects of what it means to be human, including self-acceptance. We talked about ‘Home,’ utilizing what one can during a pandemic as a musician, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: You’ve been creating for years now but when you started you were going by Evan Petruzzi. What did coming out as EVVAN inherently do for your creativity and overall sound?
EVVAN: It’s interesting because in some senses I am the same person, it’s just a different name I am using, but when I sit down and think about what EVVAN means, I feel as though the name change opened up my eyes to different ways of writing and playing. I’ve found myself experimenting with different pedals for guitar, maybe going for a lighter tone with my voice, even down to the way I dress. I’m most comfortable as EVVAN now because it’s as if adding that second ‘V’ opened all the doors for me.
Kendra: Your debut, ‘Home,’ drops at the end of April, so I have to ask – what aspect of your home would you say this record represents best and why?
EVVAN: I always say that “Home,” the song, encourages you to appreciate the little things, and I think that follows through with the EP as well. This record represents growth and self-discovery, but it has also helped me recognize the people who matter most in my life, the experiences I want to remember, and the person I want to be. My home has always been the people around me, the mountains to hike, and fresh air to breathe, and with this record, whether it be through pain, acceptance, or peace, I am able to be with those people, hike those trails, and breathe that air and feel that inherent sense of home.
Kendra: The anthemic single, “I’m Not Done Yet” is so powerful and pure. The video even more so with the raw vibe and the colors. This song is not only about coming out, but also a journey of sorts towards self-acceptance. Would you say at this point in your career, this is the most important song you’ve ever written for yourself?
EVVAN: That’s a great question and something I might not have even thought about until now. Every song I write is important in its own way, but I’d say yes, this song is one of, if not the most important song I’ve written for myself because it was just so cathartic. I was in a state of anger and exhaustion. I turned to music to help me rid myself of these emotions that felt overwhelming. In writing and recording this song, it was as if I was making something I wanted to be proud of so I could listen to it and learn to have that pride in myself after not knowing how to for so long.
Kendra: Your story of acceptance, even within the LGBTQ+ community as a pansexual, non-binary person reminds me a lot of the struggle Afro-Latinos face in Hispanic communities or even the light skin vs dark-skinned debate that goes on in Black communities. Why do you feel that even within marginalized communities, there are still tiers of acceptance and hurdles to get over?
EVVAN: I was just having a similar conversation with my book club after we read the book ‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett. My brain has a hard time wrapping itself around this concept of a marginalized community still finding ways to hate and single out within their core group. I know there are people in the LGBTQ+ community who don’t accept people who are bi or pan for example, and while I have no way of experiencing it myself, I’ve had friends tell me about their personal experiences in the light skin vs dark skin debate, and all I can ask is why?
We’ve all fought so many battles and we still have more ahead of us, so why can’t we come together to do so instead of segregating ourselves further? To me, the easiest answer is people need an outlet for their anger and they look at those who are already hurting. They know the pain they feel and they’re able to use that to dig even deeper into these people. The other side is the fear of the unknown. It’s so easy to get sucked into your fear that you can’t see past social conditioning.
You only see skin color or the face that goes with the hand a person might be holding. I have to wonder, if these people who feel this way were to have a conversation blindfolded with someone they don’t accept but ended up enjoying that conversation, once that blindfold was removed wouldn’t it make sense that the connection they made would override any prejudices they have?
My hope is, at least in these marginalized communities, we’ll be able to find it in ourselves to turn to each other with love, not prejudice, and with that, we’ll be able to teach society how to love us beyond a fault.
Kendra: In an ideal world, you would’ve been touring either right now or soon after the record dropped. While live music will come back into play, in what ways have you been trying to stay connected to fans during the pandemic?
EVVAN: Social media can be a blessing and a curse, but with the pandemic, it’s been a great gift to have. I’m able to answer direct messages from fans, connect in the comments, perform on zoom, live, etc. There are so many outlets for us to still stay in contact with fans and I’m so thankful for that. One time I posted a photo of the view at the top of a mountain I hiked and received a bunch of messages asking about it. It was great to start that conversation in a new way. Performing will always be one of my favorite things to do. My friends and family know I can barely function when I’m speaking in front of a crowd, but if you give me my guitar and a place to sing, I can perform for hours and never feel an ounce of anxiety. I miss it but I’m glad to still be able to have that connection with fans.
Kendra: It’s getting a little easier with the vaccine rollouts, but it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
EVVAN: Other than releasing my EP in April, I’ve been writing a lot and I hope to record and release those songs in the later months. My plan is not to put pressure on myself. During quarantine it was easy to badger myself and say, “Stop sitting around and do something productive.” I’ve learned it’s okay to take me time and that forcing anything creative will only make me frustrated with a product I’m not happy with. So, I’m going to keep pushing out music (at my own pace), keep posting photos of mountains, and just let myself appreciate the little things, all the while anticipating the moment I can pick up my guitar and strum that first chord in front of a live audience again.