EVON;Coming Out Of Her ‘Musical Closet’
Ugandan soul and jazz singer, EVON finds it hard to identify her first experience with music because music has been there her entire life. The singer who until recently, was working as a Head of Department at a reputable financial institution, has been on the underground Ugandan Music scene for quite some time and came out last year with her You Tube release ‘Touched Me’. Though relatively new to the music scene, EVON’s video Big Blue Boots, also on You Tube, has received rave reviews especially from Ugandans across the globe and this has steered her music in the right direction. For anyone who has not heard EVON’s sound, it’s an eclectic mix of her influences in jazz, soul and traditional African music. “I’d like to believe it’s what Ella Fitzgerald and Salif Keita’s music child would sound like” she says.
EVON was inspired to pursue her music career because music was something she wanted to do all her life but it was the enormous positive responses from people across the world that re-affirmed to her that it was a high time she took her love affair with music seriously.Her songs, a cocktail of everything from Love to Loss to Living, are an expression of her own observations and experiences.
She says, “I usually hope the listener is left with the feeling and thought that music is fluid and it doesn’t matter whether it’s traditional, jazz or soul or R&B, music is the same everywhere for everyone.”
Naming some of her musical influences; Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Zap Mama, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, EVON mentions she has been privileged to have Moses Sabiiti (MMC) the creator of The Hostel , a Uganda TV series, as an instrumental part of her music and artistic sense.
“We have the same musical mindset. He has been in the background of the Ugandan entertainment industry for a long time. He and Paul Mwandha (P-Tech RIP) founder of Music Uganda.com.Uganda’s first online sources of music have been pivotal to this industry.” she adds.
So has she encountered any challenges since coming of her ‘musical closet?’ “It was a challenge finding my own sound; I spent lot of time inwardly pursuing how to sound more me and less an ‘Americanized imitation’. I later resolved that I am a culmination of a lot of things including my American musical influences that coupled with the Ugandan Market earlier on not being as open to hearing Ugandan Music in English.
I was often turned away for not sounding ‘Ugandan’ but that has changed significantly, plus I learnt to write songs in Luganda.” EVON hopes to see more African artists with more African music on the Global scene and locally, to have more Ugandan artists step out of the comfort zone to much more edgy music and sound.
The songbird who has been NO. 1 on Reverbnation charts in the R ‘n B and Soul category for Kampala, Uganda, a position she has held the entire year in 2011, is currently in the ‘creative kitchen’ cooking up a ‘contradictory’ broth. Her upcoming album called ’CONTRADICTION’, is an unusual musical meeting of Ugandan traditional music and rhythm, blues, soul and Jazz. She chose the name ‘Contradiction’ because, “In Africa, tradition and modernity is always at odds.”
To any aspiring musician, EVON gives her word of encouragement, “Like NIKE –Just Do it! Turn a Deaf ear to Nay Sayers.”