Rich, sweet, and lush with vibrato. These are only a few of the unmistakable qualities that constitute Evangeline Gentle’s voice. Their songwriting possesses authenticity and depth as rare and unique as their own journey.
Born on the Northeast coast of Scotland, Evangeline has live performance in their blood. Queer, and passionate about social justice, Evangeline believes in the good-naturedness of people and our capabilities of growing together.
Evangeline’s a cappella EP You and I is streaming now on all platforms. Their debut LP, produced by Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, Oh Susanna) at his Stittsvile, Ontario studio Fixed Hinge and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineer Philip Shaw Bova (Bahamas, Feist), is also available now on all platforms via Sonic Unyon Records.
For Gentle, this album is about far more than just musical achievement.
“I was 19 when I started writing the album and 22 when I finished it — years that offered major coming-of-age experiences that began solidifying the principles I want to live guided by,” Gentle confesses. “During those years, I trudged through periods of deep self-doubt, often wondering if I should give up. As a child I believed performing was my inevitable fate. Somewhere along the road to adulthood I internalized a lot of messaging about my queerness as something that made me inherently less gifted and valuable as an artist. In a sense, each song on this record is a step toward re-establishing childlike ambition and spirit.
“The album’s overarching theme is the pursuit of open-heartedness,” they add. “It’s driven by the belief that it takes extreme strength to be vulnerable but that the rewards of doing so are far greater than those of being closed-off in the name of self-preservation. That wasn’t intentional. Only when the album was finished did it dawn on me that this idea was the thread stitching these songs together.”
The album’s ten tracks make for a powerful introduction to this Peterborough-based singer songwriter. “Ordinary People” and “The Strongest People Have Tender Hearts” celebrate the strength it takes to stay soft in a world that can harden you with a single headline. “Drop My Name” champions the voice of someone no longer willing to be taken advantage of. “Sundays” is a sweet and honest exploration of insecurity in our romantic relationships. “Neither of Us” and “Long Time Love” are love songs for the modern day world, while “So It Goes” is a nostalgic retelling of teenhood and summer love. “Even If” and “Digging My Grave” are more meditative tracks that share vulnerable truths about depression, drinking and recovering from self-sabotaging habits. “Good and Guided” is a hopeful closing song to this album, uniting listeners with the question “How do we become good and guided by the heart?”.
At only 23 years of age, Evangeline’s accolades are already accumulating at an impressive rate. They were awarded Emerging Artist at the 2015 Peterborough Folk Fest, Best Female Vocalist of the year at the 2015 Wire Awards, and have shared stages with notable artists such as Basia Bulat, Craig Cardiff, Matt Andersen, Lee Harvey Osmond, and more. Their debut LP has sparked international success garnering CBC and BBC radio play, as well as interviews with NPR, Forbes and more.
Photo by Mark L. Craigshead