August 19, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin
Evan Giia (age 28) has found tremendous success as a solo artist; she describes her sound as “electronic pop” and she is currently signed with Capitol Records in Los Angeles. The stage name “Evan Giia” originates from the singer’s real name, Evan Giarrusso, though she tells me she’s likely better-known around her hometown of Hingham as “Emmy.”
Hingham has been Giarrusso’s home for most of her life, until she moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, where she studied Music Business. She is now based out of New York, spending most of her time between Brooklyn and Williamsburg, with occasional trips to LA; of course, much of Giarrusso’s schedule has been altered due to the ongoing pandemic.
Perhaps most significantly, the singer’s first headlining tour was cancelled. “I was in the middle of my first headline tour, which was a very big deal for me, and for my career. I worked years for that moment, you know?” She reflects openly.
In the meantime, Giarrusso says she has chosen to focus on writing music. “I have a really cool feature on a song with a big house music artist coming out in September, and my new single and music video will be out in October.”
Giarrusso has been operating independently from her in-home studio, which she shares with her fianceé, she is engaged to Ishaan Chaudhary. Ishaan is half of the production duo Memba, the other half being Will Curry. Evan Giia creatively collaborates with them often and says she plans to continue to do so.
The singer says the best way to keep up with her (and to support her) is by following her on Instagram.
Hingham, meet Evan Giia.
How frequently do you visit Hingham?
“Very often. I love going home! I was actually home all week last week.” The singer reveals. “I have a car now, but before that I’d take the Amtrak. I’m in Hingham for every holiday, and a lot during the summer because we live right on the water, on Hingham Harbor.”
What's your favorite place to go while you're in town?
“I love going to World’s End! My family lives nearby, so we always go for walks there.”
What's your favorite restaurant and meal in Hingham?
“Pizza! I always go to Crow Point.” She pauses for a moment before adding, with a laugh, “My second go-to is Peel Pizza. I don’t really order from anywhere else.”
How did growing up in Hingham influence you?
“I think it’s a huge part of who I am,” Giarrusso muses. “I had such a positive, bright, and happy childhood. I grew up on Malcolm Street, near the Hingham Yacht Club. I have an ingrained love for the ocean; I’m definitely an ocean baby. I feel happiest when I’m by the coast, by the water. Hingham has a real calming effect on me, especially when I started touring: going home became a real centering experience. I’m incredibly grateful to still be excited to go home.”
To her, Hingham is a place to realign. She says, “It’s restorative to come back. It gives me the reboot that I need to go to Brooklyn, or LA, and to write what I need to write. When I’m home, I try to completely unplug, to be present, and to spend a lot of time in nature. I do all of the comforting things that I love here so that I’m able to be my best out there.”
She also mentions the formative influence of her education at Derby, then Thayer Academy, where she says she was “just performing constantly.”
Talk to me about Evan Giia: What made you choose this stage name?
“It’s my first name, Evan, though I’ve been called ‘Emmy’ my entire life, and the first three letters of my last name, Giarrusso, but I added an extra ‘I.’
What does it mean to you?
“I wanted to make sure that whatever I chose was an elevated name that had a lot to do with me, because my brand is all about authenticity. I try to be very genuine and down to earth because it’s really just me–it’s nothing like Lady Gaga, where she’s putting on a persona with these crazy costumes. I am who I am, personally and in performance.”
After a beat, she adds, “Plus, I was like, ‘Why not use your real name?’ I hated it for so many years, because it was ‘a boys name.’” In a way, Evan Giia is a means of Giarrusso reclaiming her truest given identity in a very public, performative, and still incredibly authentic way.
When did you begin your music career?
“Studying with Sarah Moran at the South Shore Conservatory! I’ll never forget her because she was the one who told my parents, ‘She has a knack for this, you have to get her into singing lessons and take this full-time,’ so we did. I then became an opera singer, training classically for 12 years before shifting to contemporary music.”
How did your opera origins alter or impact your sound?
“Opera is a huge part of my sound. Classical training is really the technical background behind singing: it’s breath support, form, and diction. It’s the way I resonate, the way I project. It’s all of those things that were the backbone of my training for so many years, applied to my music today.”
Has being a performer always been your plan?
“Yes,” Giarrusso admits, without hesitation. “I think it kind of ran away from me when I went to Berklee, for a little bit. I got there after being a big fish in a small pond, and had some adjusting to do. But I was always performing, my whole childhood. I was always on the stage.”
Who are you signed with?
“Capitol Records in Los Angeles. I signed on about a year ago. I’m in their specific label called Astralwerks Records, which is an electronic label.”
How would you describe your sound?
“I have this phrase: ‘pretty bangers.’ What I mean is my voice still has that airy, pretty tone from my opera training, but it’s contrasted by the beats behind it.I strive to make really catchy lines that people remember and can sing back to me. My music has strong electronic undertones because that's what I love listening to.”
What other artists have influenced you most?
Giarrusso says that recently she’s been listening to a lot of Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and Nelly Furtado: “I love everything that they did.”
She also cites Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa as influences, in addition to saying she “grew up listening to a lot of Natalie Merchant and Van Morrison,” which she describes as “some really amazing, absolutely classic music my parents were always playing.”
How has the ongoing pandemic influenced your career and work?
Aside from the misfortune and heartache of having to cancel her first headlining tour, Giarrusso acknowledges, “I’m lucky enough to live with my fiancé and have an in-home studio where we can record and cut vocals right at home.”
In addition, she says, “I’m praying everything will get back to normal quickly, but I think concerts will probably be one of the last things to return.”
What's one thing people may not know about you?
“I'm obsessed with ice cream. If I could, I’d have Nona’s and JJ’s every other night.” Me, too, girl.
“I'm also very into fitness!” Giarrusso adds. “I was a spin instructor for three years, and a yoga instructor before that. I’m constantly active, and always trying to bring that into my brand. One way I’m doing that is through Giia Move, available on my Instagram.”
Through playlists (there’s Giia Sweat, Giia Zen, and Giia Move, which is a collaboration with Kara Duval Pilates) and IGTV mini-classes, Giarrusso pairing her passion for fitness with her love of music.
“I’ve also designed my own merch!” She shares. “I made a really comfortable, well-made, super nice sweatshirt, a hoodie. There’s also tee shirts. Both have my logo, ‘EG,’ on them, and they’re stark white, my favorite color.”
“It was really cool, because I was on tour and selling hundreds of these a night, but I only got to do two shows before everything was cancelled, so now I have six boxes of merch sitting in my kitchen.” She tells me. When I laugh, Giarrusso says: “I’m serious, I can’t even walk!”