Today we’d like to introduce you to Eva Mikhailovna.
Eva, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started writing music at a very young age. I remember loving movie soundtracks, figuring out how to play them on our living room’s out-of-tune piano. Pretty soon, I was trying to write a soundtrack to my life. I always imagined strings paired with sad, distant melodies when I hit the notes on that piano. When I got into my teen years, I started writing a lot of poetry. During a trip to Russia, I found a beat up guitar in the closet of my grandparents’ apartment. That week, I came back to the apartment every day to play the four chords I learned on it. (I will never forget that guitar!) When I returned to California, I got a guitar and tried fitting some of my poetry into the new tunes that I was forming. Pretty soon, I was writing folk-style songs with lyrics. I never really thought of my music as something I could show the world. I only used songwriting to get the buried emotions out of my head.
During college, I met a lot of talented musicians, and really decided to dive deep into the music world. I started “Eva and the Vagabond Tales” when a friend asked me to play my songs for an Earth Day event on campus. I quickly put together a three-piece band, and from that day on, I’ve been playing my songs regularly all over the west coast. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of playing with many different musicians, in many, many different settings- from streets to stages to boats to trollies to beautiful fields and forests. I’ve also had the opportunity to open up for some of my favorite artists, as well as the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people such as Charles Newman and Lonesome Wyatt!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
The music is usually described by show-goers and other listeners as “nostalgic and melancholy”. I never purposely attempt to make a song sound sad. The music is always influenced by how I’m feeling. The reason I write a song is still, to this day, to get an emotion out that I usually don’t have the words to express. For me, songwriting is very personal and therapeutic. When it comes to bringing the song to life with song arrangement and live instrumentation, the band and I always try to use what we have. We mostly have old, acoustic instruments, so our sound can also be a bit ancient at times! Still, we don’t like having boundaries, so if I feel like throwing in an eery electric guitar into the song, I will. Our motto from the beginning has been “use what you have to make it work”, and we really have.
I remember making our first album with a karaoke microphone! I wanted an album, and we used what we had. Even now, if I listen to that album, with all its mistakes and all those random noises in the background, I’m still proud because it feels like it perfectly reflects that time of my life. And hey, I can always re-record it! And I think that’s the message I hope people take away from my music and my band. You can make art, using whatever you have and it doesn’t need to be perfect. Whether you’re using it to express, release, take in, or open up, you can use whatever you have in front of you to get it done.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
I always tell people not to follow my advice, but if I did have to give advice for other artists, it’s to be the best you can be at what you do, but once you’re there, realize it and know your worth. And sometimes, your best is you trying. And that’s all that matters! I’ve learned many lessons the hard way and I’m still learning every day. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this music world is to not be afraid to make scary decisions. Don’t be afraid to turn down a show, or to kick out a disorderly musician. But also, don’t be afraid to take risks, like driving 1,000 miles to play a show at a place you’ve never been to, trying something new with your sound, or letting others contribute an idea. I think fear has held me back a lot in this career, and if I could do it over again, that’s something I would change.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can hear our songs at our shows, on our website, and on most online streaming sites and stores. People can support us by listening to our music and coming to our shows. It means so much to me when I see someone come to our show that I’ve recognized from a previous show. I get a lot of messages from people stuck in traffic, telling me that my music has calmed them down. Although I’m sad that they’re in traffic, I love getting those, and I feel a lot of support when I read them!
- Website: www.evaandthevagabondtales.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/evaandthevagabonds
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/thevagabondtales
- Other: https://evaandthevagabonds.bandcamp.com/
Fernando Frias, Dwain Linden, Eddie N. Organista, Samrod Shenassa