There are no exact statistics showing how many girls and boys have had a crush on their teacher at school. But in the case of the beautiful Greek-American singer who brightened up our restrictive summer this year with hot ethno-vibes, the whole school must have been on fire. And her students are now surely disappointed, as she has given up her job as an elementary school teacher to concentrate fully on her music career, following the motto Páme Páme: Evangelia.
Evangelia not only bears a unique name. Her electrifying new-pop mix is also one of the most extraordinary sounds of the current music scene. Danceable pop influences combined with Mediterranean traditional sounds to create a modern and international mix. Due to her individual signature sound as well as her personality, the breathtaking powerful woman is already one of the most fascinating and independent talents the international music scene currently has to offer.
With the summer hit “Páme Páme” Evangelia released her debut single this spring! It is her very personal attitude towards life that she conveys with this song. As a little girl, Evangelia travelled back and forth between her grandmother Yiayia’s small farm on the Greek island of Crete, and her parents’ home in hectic New Jersey.
During summer vacations in Crete, she learned to appreciate the simple life in the rural farm idyll surrounded by animals. Together with her grandmother, she cooked traditional recipes with vegetables from the local garden. They also danced to typical folklore sounds in the rustical beach taverns of the nearby coast. Today, Evangelia lives in New York and Los Angeles.
“L.A. reminds me a lot of my Greek second home,” Evangelia says. “It smells like Crete there. Everyone has orange trees or citrus in their backyard. It’s sunny and warm every day, even the architecture has something very Mediterranean about it. ‘Páme Páme’ translates to ‘Let’s go’. The lyrics are about being your true self, accepting yourself for who you are and going your way unflinchingly.”
A true empowerment anthem. Evangelia also captured this very celebratory message in a rousing video clip shot at her grandmother’s farm, which turned into a huge party with all the residents of her small hometown as the day went on.
“I love using old traditional instruments like the bouzouki, incorporating traditional rhythms, or throwing in a few words in Greek every now and then”, Evangelia says about the inspirations flowing into her beautiful work. “As a musician, you’re on a never-ending journey of discovering yourself and your own sound, developing it further and always working out new exciting facets. I want to take my listeners along on that journey.”.
EVANGELIA‘S SIGNATURE SOUND
In New Jersey, Evangelia discovered her love for pop music and began composing first tracks. By day, she lived an ordinary life as an elementary school teacher. At night, however, she would hone her tracks in recording studios of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the surrounding area.
Slowly but steadily, Evangelia built a reputation as one of the most exciting newcomers within the music scene of New York City.
“It almost felt like a double life in a Hollywood flick,” Evangelia laughs. “Also, I’m a Gemini by zodiac sign; there are two different hearts beating inside me.”
Two hearts that are also reflected in Evangelia’s distinctive signature sound, in which she merges her American and Greek roots: Danceable pop elements meet Mediterranean vibes. In addition, catchy harmonies meet organic instruments. And finally, contemporary club beats blend together with traditional folk rhythms to create a cosmopolitan and modern new-pop mix.
“To this day, I have a very strong connection to my Greek roots,” Evangelia recounts about her multicultural background. “I still visit my relatives regularly. And even back home in the States, Greek was almost the only language spoken in my family. My father has always been very culturally involved. He constantly invited Greek musicians to stay over and party with us on their U.S. tours. These traditional instruments sound as natural to my ears as Drake or Rihanna’s songs. I bring these two seemingly separate worlds together in my tracks.”
Find an acoustic version of a traditional song Evangelia grew up with performed by herself here!
EVANGELIA’S SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
Last year, Evangelia began to experiment more with her new sound. She is constantly supported in this mission by songwriter and producer Jay Stolar (Camila Cabello, Selena Gomez, Aloe Blacc, G-Eazy), with whom the 27-year-old is also privately involved. Together, they turn her personal diary entries set to music into modern, danceable tracks.
“The ideas for my songs actually come to me always and everywhere,” Evangelia explains. “I sing or write them into my phone and later take them into our songwriting sessions. Jay and I then talk about my ideas and try to find a form. Every song basically starts with long conversations about what I want to express. A mutual exchange is extremely important to me. Little by little, the song grows, changes, and eventually starts to take on a life on its own. There’s definitely something magical about watching a whole song emerge from a small word or feeling!”
“FOTIÁ” BY EVANGELIA
While people are trying to get in the right mood for a very strange Christmas, Evangelia is getting fiery hot. “Fotiá” – the Greek word for “fire” – is the name of her latest track, which launched on October 9th. In it, everything revolves around falling in love. It’s also about taking risks here and there. The related tension and the final letting go close the thematic circle.
Evangelia has taken such risks on two occasions in the last few years. Once when she gave up her full-time job as a teacher to completely devote herself to her lifelong dream of becoming a musician. And a second time when she fell in love with songwriter/producer Stolar, who would eventually become one of her main collaborators.
In “Fotiá” she brings together traditional Greek sounds with powerful drums and modern pop melodies. Quite sensually, she sings about temptations and the loss of control. The result is a mesmerizing combination of sounds that both captivates emotionally and encourages to dance.
All of Evangelia’s music videos as well as acoustic sessions and a behind-the-scenes series dedicated to “Fotiá” can be found on her official YouTube channel
THE MEANING BEHIND “FOTIÁ”
“Fotiá” is about being torn, constantly wavering between standing steadfast and letting go, and ultimately deciding to give in and follow your heart.
Alongside Stolar, Evangelia found another brilliant collaborator in co-producer Alexis Troy (RIN, Sero, MHD). Both helped her bring her dreams to life.
“One of the biggest things about Fotiá is the people I collaborated with to make it happen. We wrote the song the day after I signed my record deal in Berlin, kicking off a new phase of my life. I was really excited to work with Alexis Troy because apart from being brilliant, he’s also Greek. We clicked immediately when we met and it felt really good to work with someone who speaks my language, understands the culture, and knows the traditional instruments that inspired my music.”
Fotiá is Evangelia’s second single and the follow-up to her debut track “Pamé Pamé”. Still at the very beginning of her career, she has nevertheless already managed to create her very own sound. Fusing American pop culture with traditional Greek elements, Evangelia pays tribute to her ancestors while building her own legacy. With her call for more confidence, self-love and advice to follow your own path, she connects with others through her music.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR EVANGELIA
Meraki. This Greek word translates to the idea of doing something with your whole body and soul and burning completely for a cause. This philosophy also guides Evangelia, and she always incorporates it remarkably into her music.
Her own name, Evangelia, can be translated as “The Good News”. And we look forward to many more good news as well as unique songs from the beautiful ex-teacher. The only thing left for us to say is Páme Páme, Evangelia!
Pictures © SONY MUSIC