Interview with Brilliant Monika Evans

Updated: Apr 11

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I was born in Kraków, Poland and began my music career playing violin and piano at the age of seven. My first instrument was the blue melodica (a present from my father) which I played during my school audition when I was just six years old. I left my music school and started composing and writing songs being just 13 years old. This has changed my life completely.


Since then, I have had some achievements I am very proud of! My first home recorded album mostly includes songs which I wrote when I was a teenager and is a symbol of my rite of passage from writing songs secretly in the corner of my room in a tiny flat in Kraków to going public with my music. It was “now or never” for me and that’s the title of the album. Teraz Albo Nigdy started a fantastic adventure. I performed in jazz cafes, music & dancing clubs and won some awards.


I am a finalist of the prestigious OPPA 2009 (under my previous name Monika Thomas), ISSA, semi – finalist of UK Songwriting Contest a first musician who reached the target of 25.000 zloty on Polish crowd- funding music portal Megatotal.pl. Over 250 fans helped me to collect the money to record my CD in a professional studio. Album “Nomen Nescio” has been recorded in DB studio in Jarocin, produced by Kostek Andriejew and released in September 2010. I’m currently working on my third album.


What first got you into music and when was it?

There was a lady regularly playing piano at our preschool group and I remember the first time I heard her play. I was so mesmerised by the sound that I couldn't stop talking and even thinking about it. Every time she'd play, I was given the stage to sing for the children in the group. I was just four years old, but those were my very first performances.



Who inspired you to make music?

I grew up in a country behind the iron curtain. As a child, my cousins and I would listen to the weekly charts in the Polish Radio called "Trójka" where you'd learn and discover legends suchas Dire Straits, Metallica, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston. It was a source of US and Britishmusical artists for my generation. You couldn't just go to the music shop and buy their record; they weren't available. I can readily say I was inspired by a great many of the artists in the Western charts between 1985 - 2000.


How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Friends say I write sad songs and that's true. I'm an optimist and I rarely feel down but I express sadness and pain through my music - this is my way of channeling it. One thing that definitely changed is writing in two languages. I started with Polish songs but now I write predominantly in English. My ultimate dream is to produce a song or two in Welsh.


What is your creative process like?

Everything is an inspiration for me: a story, news on TV, a bad dream. I usually write lyrics first and then the melody follows. Sometimes it takes a few days, but there were others that took several months as I couldn't find the right lyrics or melody. It's a beautiful but exhausting process as the song "plays" itself in my head over and over again.


Who would you like to collaborate with?

Fleurie. She has a wonderful, unique style. I love her songs. Elena Tonra from Daughter -

another fantastic songwriter, who inspires me constantly, with her beautiful lyrics and emotional delivery. Beautiful.


If you could support one band, who would it be?

Impossible to say! Definitely all the aforementioned and what a dream that would be. I'd

particularly love to support Imogen Heap, Katharine Foster...I could go all day!


What is the one message you would give your audience and what

message would you give the MU readers?

I would thank them for their support. They are the dream-makers. MU readers - support your local artists. If you like a performer at your local Open Mic, approach them afterwards and let them know. Feeling listened to and appreciated is very important for an artist and it starts at the local level.


What is the most useless talent you have?

I can wiggle my ears (hahaha).


What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?

I would be teaching languages, that's for sure.


Where have you performed?

I performed in Poland, Austria and the UK. My favourite gig was in Wrexham where I got such an amazing standing ovation at the end. I don't have a least favourite gig, I'm afraid. Each time I perform, I love it.





How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry and

you specifically?

It gives artists the opportunity to broadcast their music worldwide, to gain fans, to be known and heard. It's absolutely amazing that we can use it to our advantage and not be reliant on the big labels.


What is your favourite song to perform and why?

It's impossible to say. I have many that I love - depending on my mood or the audience. I like Hiraeth - it talks about being homesick, longing for something once lost. I would like to translate it one day to Welsh.


What is the most trouble you have gotten into?

Running through a wheat field. Joking! Never got into any trouble at all, seriously.


If you could only listen to one album from now on what would it

be?

Love Deluxe, Sade


What is the best advice you have been given?

Love animals, appreciate nature and never take advice from those who know nothing about your situation.


If you could change anything what would it be?

I would give everyone equal access to opportunity.


Which bands do you think are currently under-rated or that people

should look out for?

I'd encourage people to support their local artists. This is where you can discover sensational talent and help make their dream come true. Sam Lyon is such an example. She writes and sings beautifully, so check her out!


What is next for you?

Recording two albums (one with my musicians, one acoustic) and performing all over the UK. I will embark on crowd funding projects for both albums, the first comprises five songs, the second nine songs. All written and ready to take to the studio.

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