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By Adam Rothenberg
Call Answered: Savarre lead singer Shannon Denise Evans
Savarre is a rising band whose sound hints at such established artists as St. Vincent, Evanescence and Muse, but Savarre puts out an unvarnished authenticity, musicianship, and lyricism all their own.
It’s so exciting to get to speak with Savarre’s lead singer Shannon Denise Evans as the band’s debut single “Unbeautiful” off their forthcoming EP Blood has just been released. Shannon is also gearing up for the release of her novel series Velvet Moon Chronicles (releasing February 2020).
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter?
The singing and songwriting really come from my poetry and personal observations. At some point, the words vibrated in my head until they created sound—then, they became music. It almost wasn’t a choice; it was expression demanding release and I was happy to open myself up for that channel to develop.
2. Your band, Savarre, is getting ready to release their first single, Unbeautiful, from your upcoming EP, Blood. What made you want this song to be the lead single?
All the tracks on the EP, Blood, are exceptionally personal. But, Unbeautiful, is my guts on display. I wanted to come into this as authentic and clean as possible from a messaging standpoint. Resonance with a listener gestates within the commonality you share in the human condition and in finding your way—your voice—in the world. With this song, I unearthed what makes me want to sing, write and express, musically.
3. How long did it take you to write this song?
The initial writing is quick—a day or two. I tend to write the lyrics first. They pour out and as they do, I start hearing the music. I’ll usually record an acapella scratch track the way I hear the song then take it from there. It’s the refining, arranging and nuance that takes an eternity!
4. What was the most fun part about the creative process in putting this EP together? What was the most challenging?
Seeing pieces of work ignite then gather heat until they are living entities is a wondrous thing to experience. But with a body of work like this, I really had to flip myself inside out and scrape out the parts that had a story to tell. My “Blood” and all that makes me, me, is what ultimately came to form this work. Creating in that way and letting my very cells—my blood—speak, has been a thrilling creative milestone.
At times, that exposure was difficult. It was personal and raw subject matter, and for the creatives working with me to truly understand their part in the material, there were aspects of my life that had to come into the light. That was difficult and extremely challenging. I’m a private person, so I had to push myself to the edge to put so much of my heart on display. I will always be grateful to our producer, Alex Venguer, on that front. Never once did he let me falter at the mic or otherwise—he was always kind and patient but tough when necessary.
5. Using some of the song titles on your upcoming EP, let’s find out more about you:
“Unbeautiful” – When you have felt “Unbeautiful” in your life? Growing up, I had a dark birthmark covering the right side of my face and, as is painfully apparent in today’s cyber climate, children can be unflinchingly cruel. My birthmark has since been (mostly) removed for medical reasons, which in and of itself has been difficult. Despite that, I’d say I have gone and continue to go through bouts of feeling north of mainstream. To me, what I learned because of that fact is a blessing. But, when you’re eight, nine, ten and moving into your teens, finding your identity while entrenched in daily bullying is challenging.
“Scars” – What are some “Scars” you carry with you that have made you stronger? I feel like not fitting in—being a misfit—at an early age has turned out to be positive. I use the hashtag #misfitsbystorm on social media as way to speak to those like me, to let them know they have a tribe. As a child, I was told I wasn’t pretty, that I wasn’t “normal,” and I believed that to be the truth at the time. Thankfully, what I also believed is that I had a wonderful and immersive imagination. From a young age, I knew my mind was unusual and that it would be a solace for me in the darkness. Those experiences forced me to have a rich inner life and to know myself more fully, and that has absolutely made me stronger.
“Rebel” – What is the most rebellious thing you’ve done thus far? It’s a daily occurrence! I don’t love being boxed in or manipulated, and I feel a lot of our social, business and world structure is created to do just that. So, I buck the system hard and often. This song, in essence, is about that. It’s not a “screw you” attitude, it’s more like if you’re coming for me, bring you’re “A” game and know why you’re doing it.
6. Let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about your upcoming novel series, Velvet Moon Chronicles. What can you tell us about this series?
Velvet Moon Chronicles is a series about a woman in her thirties who has structured her life to such a degree that she isn’t really touched by anything or anyone. When a series of immersive dreams start invading her constructed reality, she is forced to let others in. In many ways, she meets herself—her own fragmented psyche—through characters and circumstances in her dreams. Boiled down, this is a coming of age story for adults, and a journey through the forest of grief, loss and redemption. It’s a mind-bending and deeply woven story that asks you where reality ends and dreams begin.
7. What do you get from writing books that you don’t get from singing?
Oddly, they are very similar. But writing is more intimate. There is a permanence to the written word and a catharsis nothing else really offers. You meet your demons on paper, and if you do it with an open heart, they will become your friends.
8. What is something you’d like to share about yourself that we have not covered in this interview?
To all the misfits out there: There is freedom in owning who you are and everything I write is about that journey. In the end, we only have ourselves and the unique spark that makes us, us.
More on Shannon:
As Savarre’s lead singer, lyricist, and co-composer Shannon’s talent is as uncontainable as her voice. Her raw vocals— big, bold, expansive— carry the music’s anthemic lyrics. Based in New York (by way of Seattle), Shannon is a singer, songwriter/composer, artist and novelist. At her core, however, she’s simply a storyteller.