Evie to play lounge room hosted by Jericho Keys, BBC Radio York presenter
Evie Wright, alumna, singer, songwriter and musician, has been invited to play an unplugged acoustic show in York on Friday 11th February. The gig is hosted by BBC Radio York Presenter, Jericho Keys.
Evie gives huge credit to Richmond School’s Music department for encouraging her to sing and building her confidence. We were delighted to catch up with Evie to do a Q and A with her, which we hope will be inspiring for any students who are considering furthering their studies in music or considering a career in music and the performing arts.
When did your interest and love for music start?
I have loved music since I was very young but started writing and performing my own songs in Year 8. In Year 9, I started collaborating with other students and performing gigs outside of school. Very soon after this, I realised that music was the career path for me.
What inspired your passion for singing?
I have to give huge credit to the Richmond School Music department for encouraging me to sing. For many young people performing on a stage is quite frightening and outside of their comfort zone. The Music department provided a safe environment to encourage performance as the staff and fellow Music students were always very supportive and gave positive feedback. It was this environment which helped me to overcome my reservation and develop my singing and song writing. All the school concerts and events were then a gradual process of helping to reaffirm my confidence.
Who are you favourite musicians/artists?
I have always been inspired by the storytelling element in country/folk music and have tried to incorporate this aspect into everything I write. Now, I am more broadly inspired by features of both pop and classical. My favourite artists at the moment are Taylor Swift, Lennon Stella, HAIM, Benee and Oh Wonder.
How would you describe your style?
Original acoustic pop. My songs are about feelings and experiences and I always work hard to create some kind of ‘hook’ that is catchy and memorable. I would like to think that this is the defining characteristic of all my songs.
Do you mainly perform as a soloist or do you have backing musicians?
I am a solo artist but record and play live with session musicians (drummer, lead guitarist, etc).
Do you perform in any groups?
I have in the past and have really benefitted from these experiences. At school, I was involved in the classical guitar group, concert band, chamber choir, and I formed a few pop bands with friends. Whilst in the sixth form, I attended Leeds College of Music Saturday School where I performed as a vocalist and pianist in a pop group. It was really important for me to start off performing alongside other musicians to build my confidence, but now I feel my best performing solo.
Which instruments do you play, which is your favourite?
I play eclectic, acoustic and classical guitar, piano and flute, but I think singing has to be my favourite. For me, piano and guitar are more like tools for songwriting.
At school, did you study GCSE and/or A-level/music or performing arts?
I studied GCSE Music and A-Level Music. However, I also really benefitted from extracurricular music groups. There are amazing opportunities in the local area such as Northallerton Music Centre and Rock-school in Darlington. The Sage in Gateshead also offers some great summer school programmes.
What other A-levels did you do?
English Literature and Geography. I also did an EPQ in a musical topic which really helped with my university applications and created a lot of interest at interviews. I would strongly recommend doing an EPQ as part of your Sixth Form studies.
When did you start composing your own music and writing your own songs?
I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember but started performing my own songs when I was 13. I would say that learning to play the guitar really accelerated my songwriting and has now enabled me to have a lot of creative freedom as an independent artist.
How were you supported at school in your music – e.g., opportunities to perform at concerts, work in groups with other students etc?
I seized at the opportunity to perform at the end-of-year concerts whenever I could. The performing arts team really encouraged me and offered me opportunities out of my comfort zone such as acting and singing in the school production of “Freya”.
After your studies at Richmond, where did you go, what qualifications did you achieve?
I studied BA Music at University of Liverpool where I was awarded a First-Class Honours Degree. I continued my studies and last year completed a Masters in Music Research with grade Distinction. During the second year of my undergraduate degree, I had the chance to study in Wellington, New Zealand for six months as a part of the university study abroad programme. Whilst I was there, I played live gigs, volunteered at a music festival and recorded music with a fellow university student. I believe this experience shaped me as an individual and as a musician, so I strongly recommend going abroad as part of your degree if this is offered to you!
What have you been doing since you graduated – where are you based at the moment?
I have just started studying for a PhD in Music at Newcastle University, with my project exploring the therapeutic effects of songwriting. I have been using this last year to focus on writing as much music as possible. I played a couple of virtual gigs and festivals in 2021 but am really looking forward to getting back in to performing in the North East this year.
How did you get your music played on BBC Introducing?
The beauty of BBC Introducing is that anyone has the chance of being played on the local weekly introducing shows by uploading music to the BBC Introducing website. I upload every song I release and have been played on stations such as BBC Tees, York and Leeds. I have found it a really valuable channel towards generating interest in my music.
Tell us a little about how you felt when you heard yourself on Nick Grimshaw’s show?
Ecstatic! It was an amazing feeling. I wrote my depiction of what I thought one of Taylor Swift’s new songs might sound like and emailed it to Nick Grimshaw’s team. They replied and told me they would play it on the show!
Where do you do your recording, do you have an agent/producer?
Normally I record in a studio, however for the last year I have created a studio set-up at home. I write the music and send it to my producer, then we work on ideas collaboratively.
How many songs have you released so far?
I have released five singles so far, and I am currently working towards a debut EP.
Have you any gigs/events planned as Covid restrictions ease?
I am very excited to be playing an unplugged acoustic show in York on Friday 11th February, held by BBC Radio York Presenter, Jericho Keys. The gig, known as ‘The Lounge Room’ is an entirely unplugged and stripped-back acoustic night. I will be performing alongside artists Beth McCarthy and Future People. It is an intimate gig of only 36 capacity and is held at Guppy’s Enterprise Club in York. The audience is made up of fans, family and friends and is already sold out.
What advice would you give to any students who are interested in writing their own music in terms of inspiration and developing a style?
Take every opportunity to perform at school, join as many groups as possible and push yourself out of your comfort zone! Surround yourself with positive people and you will do great.
Links to Spotify/Apple Music