Talking Music: Cardiff's Evie Rowlands, Future Music's National Songwriting Competition Finalist
Cardiff singer/songwriter Evie Rowlands recently made it through to the Grand Final of Future Music's National Songwriting Competition 2017, beating 10,000 other applicants in the process.
The event took place at the Birmingham NEC in January in front of a capacity crowd where Evie received an award for her performance winning over the competition judges (which consisted of record label representatives from Sony, Universal, Syco Entertainment, Modest Management, and Future Music) . Evie was given a trophy as the runner up of the contest for her song 'Real Me'
Previous winners and participants under the umbrella of Future Music have included Jacob Banks, Lucy Spraggan, Union J's Jaymi Hensley, Luke Friend, and Warner Music's superstar Birdy.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Evie about the competition and her work so far.
You recently made the final of Future Music's National Songwriting Competition 2017 with your song Real Me, how did that feel?
It was completely surreal. I wasn’t expecting it at all because the standard of the other songwriters was so high - songwriters ranging from 12 years old to 52 years old. They were all so good, so I was surprised and incredibly happy and proud to get into the final 6. It was amazing.
Can you give us a bit of background about Real Me?
So Real Me is about finding the ground when you’re in a place - physically, emotional or mentally - to express yourself being you. It’s about the turmoil of being in a new place, finding new people, having new surroundings and not becoming someone that is a misrepresentation of who you perceive yourself to be. For me this was highlighted at University where it is so easy to be influenced by these new people around you from different backgrounds, of different personalities with different strengths who challenge who you are, whether it be platonic or, as in the story of Real Me, it’s led by romance.
How did you get into songwriting?
I can remember making up songs in my head in primary school and just singing the melodies to songs but with my own lyrics on top because I couldn’t remember the real ones; so, I just made them up instead. I guess I started thinking about taking song writing seriously when I was about 14/15 and sat down properly to think about the songs I’d written.
My dad’s a writer and my mum used to be in a band, so I’ve always been surrounded by creative types. I was, however, very shy when I was at school and no-one knew that I sang, let alone wrote songs as I kept it to myself until I was about 16. I was always a ‘muso’ - I played cello and piano and was a keen player in the musicals in school but never put myself out there with my own music until GCSE year, when I put in one of my songs as part of my final coursework and it received some great feedback which gave me more of an anchor to my confidence in writing songs.
Cello is my first instrument and I think it has helped me to write my melodies in some ways because cello lines have such a lyrical flow that resonates like a voice when it’s played. When I would write, and sing, after I’d played my cello, it felt better. I hear a lot of cello lines in my songs and that’s a comfort to me with song writing. If I can fit a cello in there somewhere, I’m happy.
Who or what are your inspirations?
That’s always such a difficult one to narrow down. There are so many artists and songwriters who I look up to that I know I’ll forget to mention now but when I was growing up, my inspirations in music alone are ranging from jazz to country to pop to blues/soul. A constant in my house growing up was always Norah Jones, Katie Melua, Eva Cassidy, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles (obviously), Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James.
I’d say my favourite inspirations, who I’ve listened to my whole life and love most are Johnny Cash (his poster is on my wall), Ray Charles is a hero of mine, Elton John (I genuinely know his greatest hits word for word), Dinah Washington, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Winehouse (she is jaw dropping and her songs are so poignant so well written), also pop princesses such as Pink and my absolute IDOL growing up was Christina Aguilera. Artists today also inspire me such as Ed Sheeran, J P Cooper, Adele. The list really could go on.
What are you working on now?
Now, I’m working on a new song which has no title yet but it’s definitely more of a jazzy, sassy number than my other songs. It’s about love and how it sweeps you off your feet when you least expect it. Lots of harmonies throughout and I love writing music that ranges from a low to high pitch - which this song does.
Do you have any live dates coming up?
I do! I have only a few now however, as the year goes on towards summer it gets a lot busier. Usually you’ll find me doing some open mic nights in Cardiff City Centre in places such as Nos Da and Deli Rouge. However, I do have a gig on the 4th March at Octavo in Cardiff Bay and also a very exciting opportunity of a gig at the Music Festival in Devon, ‘Watchet Music Festival’ playing in ‘The Something Else Tea Tent’ at 4.30 – 5.15pm on Sunday 26th August - I am so excited for it, and I have this competition to thank for giving me that opportunity to show myself as an artist to the founders of this festival!
I have a few more gigs coming up, however, these have not yet been confirmed. I am looking forward to this coming year; a lot more playing and a lot more music is coming from me!
Find out more about Evie Rowlands online:
Entries for this years Songwriting Competition UK and Open Mic Competition UK are now been considered for further details visit