‘Never lose the romance’ - it’s a lyric from Mike Evin’s new album, Evin On Earth, but it’s also a reflection on why he keeps making music. The Canadian piano pop tunesmith has been steadily building a loyal following across North America and beyond for over ten years, yet his new music has the feel of an artist still out to discover something fresh and honest and connect with a wider audience.
Evin On Earth builds on Evin’s soulful sound and tells the story of the search for love and community. As one fan puts it, Evin has a way of “calling out all the meaningless noise we live with these days and just paring music down to simple, beautiful perfection.” This new album, his sixth full-length, is one of his most diverse collection of songs, but it never strays from the consistent and distinctive sound of Evin’s piano and singing. Along the way, Evin wears his various influences on his sleeve and takes us from theatrical power-pop to Afro-Latin grooves, from electro ska to laid-back beach pop. There are touches of The Who, West Side Story, Jason Mraz, ELO, Toots & The Maytals, The Bee Gees, Coldplay and Joe Jackson. Throughout the record, the catchy pop influence of his two mainstays, Billy Joel and Elton John, is alive and thriving.
The new album reunites Evin with some key collaborators from different points in his career: producer Howie Beck (Charlotte Day Wilson) first worked with Evin on 2015’s Life As A Lover, bassist Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies) co-produced 2005’s I’ll Bring The Stereo, and drummer Ian MacKay (Basia Bulat) has toured across Canada and the US with Evin.
To shake things up midway through the writing and recording process, Evin spent a summer traveling and immersing himself in two different cultures: he volunteered in the Aniishnaabe community of Manitoulin Island for a month, and he drove down to New Orleans to write for the other month. These adventures added a thematic thread to some of the album’s songs. Evin’s no stranger to dropping himself in the middle of unfamiliar territory. In the summer of 2012, he spent two months studying percussion in Cuba in the midst of a rich Afro-Cuban community.
Evin On Earth was recorded in Evin’s homebase of Toronto, and the album title has been kicking around since his early years coming up in the Montreal scene. A friend suggested it back then, and Evin originally scoffed at it - but it just seemed right for this album. That same friend challenged Evin to write a short album opening title song, and the result is “Evin On Earth”, a kind of mission statement and salute to artists everywhere.
Evin’s fans include Canadian icons Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith. CBC Music called Evin the “next big thing”, and “Have I Ever Loved?” was among the Top 20 most played songs of 2015 on Sirius XM’s CBC Sonica. “Al Green” reached #1 on Sirius XM’s The Verge. In 2017, Barenaked Ladies brought him out to support their US theatre tour, and he’s also shared stages with Sexsmith, Dan Mangan and Sarah Harmer. Audiences love the spontaneity, intimacy and energy of his live shows.
The Evin On Earth album title took on added nuance when toward the end of making the record Evin had a near-death experience. He and a friend found themselves lost in the woods of Quebec after-dark while cross-country skiing in -25 degree celcius weather. Close to hypothermia, Evin almost lay down to rest in the snow, but he pushed on. During the next two months, he endured frostbite on his finger-tips and was unable to play piano. It all ended well, though, and the album was finished.
Mike Evin’s modern spin on piano pop manages to sound contemporary, classic and elusive all at once. His voice is a heartfelt reflection of the human experience. Now with his new album (out now), he’s bringing everyone another 'little slice of Evin on Earth.’
“A rarity – a pop composer who isn’t afraid to use his wit or to wear his heart for all to hear.”
— CBC Radio
“Mike Evin taps into what motivates people, and champions the search for happiness.”
— Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies)
“Contagious energy … Mike Evin has all that it takes to get discovered by a wider audience.”
“Mike Evin’s ‘Have I Ever Loved?’ is a modern classic.”
— Adam Levy (Norah Jones)
“Hauntingly beautiful vocals and mesmerizing music”
— Canadian Beats
“Evin’s soulful folk-infused pop sound is equal parts infectious and smooth, it’s a track that deserves a great deal more attention.”
— Halifax Bloggers
“His music is fun, the spirit joyful, the hooks ridiculously plentiful.”
— Bob Mersereau (Top 100 Canadian)
“The next big thing”
— CBC Music