Eva Simons :: Number One with a Mohawk
In a little over a 3-year period, Dutch-born Eva Simons has elevated her status in the music industry from a virtual unknown to a vocalist being sought by major players in the recording industry. Eva (pronounced A-va) has propelled her career with international hits such as "Silly Boy," "Take Over Control" and the latest duet with will.i.am, "This Is Love," and her U.S. Dance #1 "I Don’t Like You."
With acclaimed music videos and great live performance reviews under her belt, Eva is about to embark on her biggest tour to date in the U.S. as a part of the Identity Festival Tour roster this summer.
While packing in her home in Amsterdam, I caught up with the new singing warrior, as she calls herself, and dug a little deeper into what makes this seemingly shy and calm beauty on the outside such a feisty warrior ready to battle the music charts and all of what the Universe has waiting for her.
BeBe: I am so pleased to meet you that I have to steal a lyric from will.i.am and say ’Hell yeah!’
Eva Simons: (With laughter) Oh yeah man! Of course!
BeBe: I’m going to dig right on in with you. You grew up in a family of musicians with your parents and grandfather being musicians and singers. So, I want to ask you if at anytime growing up did you see yourself doing something other than music?
Eva Simons: I once looked back and read one of those diary things of mine, and it said ’what do you want to be when your older.’ And I said a teacher. I have no idea why I said that because I’ve always had this feeling that I wanted to do something in music. But, apparently I wrote that down. Maybe it’s because I thought being a musician was something that I wouldn’t become or something, because I was already that. I had to find something that I could become (in the future). You know when you grow up, you just be you and that’s enough.
BeBe: Interesting, maybe you meant a music teacher.
Eva Simons: Yeah, and I’ve been a music teacher, actually. (I was one) for like three years, and I still like it. I’d definitely do it (again). I like to give workshops, you know. I like to tell people the things that helped me so I can help others.
BeBe: You know what was very refreshing for me when studying your background, that even with your natural ability in music, you actually studied your craft. I know you are a classically trained pianist. So many new artists today because of computer programs and what not don’t have that kind background. They haven’t studied their craft. Do you think that is going to set you apart from the rest of the pack down the road? When I think of you, I think of people like Alicia Keys. To me, you will last a lot longer in this business called show because you have that foundation of study.
Eva Simons: Yeah, a lot of people want to be famous, and they think it (music business) is all about the lifestyle. They just want to have the lifestyle. I wonder if you can enjoy it, can you enjoy yourself on stage every night if you are not into the music. I like that it is about the music.
BeBe: I have interviewed several veteran entertainers that have said the difference between the stars of yesteryear and the stars of today is the Internet. And ironically, that is how you were discovered. You song ’Silly Boy’ got so much attention on YouTube with over 20 million hits back in 2009 that it led to a contract for you with EMI. Where do you think you would be today if you had not had that type of internet on-line exposure that brought you to the masses immediately?
Eva Simons: I believe in faith and the universal karma, you know, when you just do the right thing. Everyone has a certain path. It’s really funny and weird how that all happened. I demo-ed that song ’Silly Boy’ for my friend. I was a demo singer at that point. Then I got a call from them saying that our song was getting picked up and that we were going to be big! I was happy for them, but then I got the deal. It was the strangest thing. I guess that was the way it was suppose to happen. I was meant to demo that song and it was supposed to be leaked. That was all a part of God’s plan, I guess.
It’s about the shoes
BeBe: That is how the Universe works. It brings people together like that. You’ve also had other collaborations with other mainstream artists out there, such as, LMFAO and Chris Brown. But girl, you are now working with will.i.am! OK! It doesn’t get any bigger than that (in the business). I know you just finished working with him on some stuff on his upcoming solo project. How did that all come to be?
Eva Simons: Well my manager and writing partner, Mike Hamilton, knows Prinz Board, who is the musical director for Black Eyed Peas, very well. Mike wrote a couple of things for Fergie’s album (’The Dutchess’) and got to know him. So, he introduced my stuff to Prinz and will.i.am, and said they ought to check me out. will.i.am did, and he liked my music. He said that we should do something. He became even more excited when he found out that I mix my own vocals in my studio in my home, like he does.
BeBe: You have that big lead single, ’This Is Love,’ off his solo project which is already a UK #1 hit. And you recently performed the song on ’America’s Got Talent’ and ’Live with Kelly!.’ I don’t know if that was the first time you had been on television at all, but, can you tell me how it is performing on a television set with all those damn cameras in your face as opposed to being on a huge stage in a concert venue before thousands of people?
Eva Simons: It was more about the shoes (with a giggle). I had these shoes and they were pretty dope. They were very new. The set of ’America’s Got Talent’ is all glass and we had this whole circus thing with us, kind of a Cirque du Soleil kind of vibe. We had fire and everything. Performing that stuff live is pretty spontaneous, but on TV it is more structured. You have to think of more things. You have to pay attention to where the cameras are and everything. But we just wanted to have fun. It was instant happiness. Great energy.
CD in September?
BeBe: You are about to drop your first full album. Of course, it will have on it ’I Don’t Like You’ which is your U.S. Dance #1 hit, and I love it with all of it’s remixes. And, you are also previewing ’Renegade’ which will be on the album. Is there anything on the album that may surprise us when we compare it in totality to the stuff we have already heard from you?
Eva Simons: There will be a lot of dope beats and a lot of crazy remixes. I just know a lot of crazy people. I will also have a ballad on there. I put a snippet out on YouTube called ’You’re The Gold.’ It’s a song I wrote. I will have those moments on there too where I’m very intimate, but most of it is going to be about real songs about real stories that we all go through with some dope ass beats. Some good shit!
BeBe: When will the album actually be released.
Eva Simons: We’re thinking like September.
BeBe: You recently got some amazing reviews at the Pier Dance event at New York City’s Gay Pride. I heard all the way on this coast about your performance. You see, San Francisco’s Pride is held during the same time as New York’s, so I have to get ’T’ from some of my friends back there. And, I heard my gays just loved you. So tell me about the experience.
Eva Simons: You know what it is with the gay crowd? It’s like they know their shit! They’re schooled, you know what I mean? It’s a different level.
BeBe: And, I’ve heard that a lot from other performers. They’ve also said that we gays come out for the music. If we are there, it’s because we dig what you do. It’s not to be seen or anything else like that. We are there because You-Are-Dope, period!
Eva Simons: You have to be on your shit. Let’s say you sound great on your album, but you suck live, man it is over!
BeBe: You know we gonna talk about you! (both crack up with laughter)
Eva Simons: They gave me love. A lot of love. It was a great night, really it was.
Everyone is equal
BeBe: Speaking of gays, you are from a place, Amsterdam, where same-sex marriage is legal.
Eva Simons: And it should be every where!
BeBe: Unfortunately here in the United States, only a handful of States recognize gay marriage. It is not federally recognized. Europe seems so far ahead when it comes to some of the social issues we deal with here. Growing up in a place where there is equality when it comes to sexual preference (not to mention legalized Mary Jane), how does it feel when you look out into the audience here and you see your gay fans who don’t have the same equality rights that you have? What are you thoughts?
Eva Simons: It’s weird to me. Growing up in Amsterdam, you don’t know any better because everyone is equal. Everyone does their own thing. And, that’s normal. But, what is normal for me is not normal for other countries. That is really weird to me. It’s weird that you cannot be with the one you love. Love is supposed to make the world go around. I even have a song that says that. So, you want to stop the world from going around? I can’t believe humankind is doing this to themselves.
BeBe: It’s nice to hear your thoughts on gay equality, but let’s get to the fun stuff. You are about to go on tour with the Identity Festival Tour here in the U.S. and Canada for about a month in like 15 big arena cities. You have a stop here in the San Francisco Bay Area which you will love, girl. With all that being said, is there any place on this tour that you are really excited about playing?
Eva Simons: You know I’m real excited about New York because I missed New York LMFAO because I was doing a thing with will.i.am. But, I really just want to go everywhere. I really like this (U.S) country and I’ve only seen a little bit of it, and I kind of want to get more known with the Americans.
About that mohawk
BeBe: Now, before I let you go on your way so you can get yourself packed for this tour, I have to ask you about your hairstyle, girl! I’m going to tell you now that I was at a local gay club here in the city and a drag queen was sporting your do while she lip synced your song. So, I have to ask you about that mohawk because, number one, I don’t know how you get it to stay as it is?
Eva Simons: It is really easy, though!
BeBe: My other question is has the look always been apart of your style or is it something that developed after all the new found popularity?
Eva Simons: It came about when I was in Tokyo in 2008. And I have always doing things the way other people wanted me to be, you know what I mean? And while I was in Tokyo I got to see all these Rock-a-billy girls and Rock-a-billy guys with their huge hairstyles. And I was like, wow, they have so much guts to do that. I’ve always wanted to do a mohawk, but I was like what would other people say. I wasn’t think about what makes me happy. But, I came home and said just do it. And, I did it! I feel like a warrior.
Eva Simons joins the Identity Festival Tour with NERO, Static Revenger, Rye Rye and many others at the following places and dates:
July 26 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center
July 27 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live
July 28 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
July 29 - Philadelphia, PA - Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Aug 2 - Atlanta, GA - Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
Aug 3 - Tampa, FL - 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater
Aug 4 - Miami, FL - Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
Aug 10 - Dallas, TX - GEXA Energy Pavilion
Aug 11 - Houston,TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Aug 17 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheater
Aug 18 - San Diego, CA - Cricket wireless Amphitheater
Aug 19 - Phoenix, AZ - Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion
Follow Eva on her official website.
Watch Eva Simons video for "I Don’t Like You":
Watch Eva Simons video for "Renegade":
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.