‘My songs used to be an expression of me, now they’re a statement of who I am.’
With the release of her new single ‘Turning Time’ on the horizon, I chatted to Evie Asio about her musical development, what 2022 has in store, and being inspired by those she works with at LCCM.
Hi Evie, thanks for taking the time to chat. Please introduce yourself to your future listeners.
Thank you so much for having me! To all my lovely listeners, my name is Evie Asio, and I like to tell stories using chords, melodies, and other musical things within the genre of ‘alt-soul’.
What are your biggest musical/non-musical inspirations?
I have very many, but notably I have always been inspired by female singer-songwriters: Janelle Monae, Lianne La Havas, Corinne Bailey Rae, Brooke Fraser, and Emily King to name a few. In terms of non-musical, I get inspired by all sorts of creative art forms – dance, physical art, etc – however, I call myself a storyteller because I’ve always been fascinated by books and stories. My love for reading has had a huge impact on my music.
Who is involved in the different aspects of your music releases?
Generally it’s a small team. I write and produce my music, with the collaboration process changing from song to song. A lot of sessions will include me and co-producer Mikaiyiri bouncing ideas off each other until the recording is complete. I then take it to my mix engineer Dave Holmes who always takes the song to another level.
Turning to your stunning forthcoming single ‘Turning Time’, what’s the story behind the title and the lyricism we hear?
Thank you! This song is about a friendship heartbreak. I realised during writing – and since – that I’m not very good at letting people go, and so during the song I am processing the struggle of holding on and the inevitability of things reaching their natural end. To ‘turn time’ is an impossible action, but as I express in the song, fighting, even against the impossible, is the only thing I know how to do.
‘A lot of my drive to continue pursuing music has come from the inspiration around me.’
There is a beautiful sense of connection between the vocal and piano centred elements within the track. How did these parts inform each other when composing the track?
My friend and incredible musician Jerome Serwanga played on this track, and I really have to credit him for the way that the piano weaves through the vocals. I took the lyrics and chords to him, and then we worked together to make sure the piano was approached differently in every section to keep that sense of narrative.
And linked with this, what led to you focusing on an acoustic approach for this release?
Yes, it’s quite a contrast from the 10,000 things happening on my previous single ‘Available’. This song is quite emotionally intense, and in the context of my upcoming project, this is perhaps the emotional climax of the album. I felt like in such a context, especially after experiencing a lot of sound, having just one instrument is the most dramatic thing I could have done.
So with your tracks to date having taken on contrasting atmospheres, how important do you think it is for new artists to show musical diversity?
It’s hard to speak for other artists, because honestly, I believe the most important thing for each artist is to express themselves in an authentic and challenging way, whatever that looks like for them. For me, I love exploring as many sounds, ideas and feelings as I can in my music; and I love the feeling of bringing contrasting styles of music to my audience because life and all the things we experience are diverse and complex.
Turning to recording, what does a typical Evie Asio recording session look like?
That’s a good question. There’s definitely no one way as it all depends on the starting point! I’ll often bring my demo into the session and then it’s about building, and continuously listening to the song as it takes shape until it feels fully formed. I’ve definitely learned over the years that an Evie Asio song requires a lot of time.
Thinking back, what was the biggest driver in you switching from releasing what you term as experimental projects to your first official single ‘Beautiful Love’?
I would say that I got to a point where I finally began to realise what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. I’ve been writing songs for a long time, since I was 15, but it took me a very long time to find my voice. Everything before ‘Beautiful Love’ was an expression of me, but these recent songs are a statement of who I am.
When did you first realise music would be a big part of your life?
Perhaps the moment when I realised that I didn’t want to do anything else! I have never not been doing music, but I think around university age I got to a point where although there were many things I could do, music was the thing that I know I would never grow tired of.
‘In the context of my upcoming album, new single ‘Turning Time’ is perhaps the emotional climax.’
What is the impact of being a producer when it comes to song writing?
The lyrics and the chords are only half of the story when it comes to how the listener experiences the music. Production has a big influence on the narrative, and for now I like having that oversight, especially as I’ve grown as a producer and learned just how detailed you have to be to be able to express a song in the right way.
How does your involvement with LCCM and your career as a songwriter influence each other?
LCCM is an amazing place to work as a musical creative. A lot of my drive to continue pursuing music has come from the inspiration around me, and the people that I’ve been able to connect to. My role there also helps me to pursue my other huge passion, which is music education and positively impacting young people with music.
And finally, what do you have planned musically for the rest of 2022?
There is one main thing on my mind in 2022, and that is to finish my album! I started working on it in 2019 (yikes), so I really hope this is the year that everyone gets to hear these songs in their fullness. The course of 2022 is going to be very interesting, so everyone should definitely keep their eyes peeled on this journey!
Thank you again for having me, it’s such a joy to be able to share my thoughts with you.
Evie Asio’s new single ‘Turning Time’ is out Friday 25th February.
Thanks Evie Asio for chatting with Listen to Discover
Photography Credit: Anastasios Media