The Detroit indie alt-folk singer-songwriter quietly resolved inner struggles and outer forces threatening her self-worth on Not So Pretty, a cathartic, five-track debut EP that dropped April 17.
“I went through a lot internally and externally in the beginning of 2019, and then throughout the year, things started moving internally, and I was having battles within myself. Those were more at the end of 2019, which I think you can tell more of the internal thoughts within ‘Burning Room’ and ‘Not So Pretty,’” Evenson said.
“‘Not So Pretty’ basically helped me not to hate myself anymore. For about eight or nine months of 2019, I could not stand myself, and I thought I was the worst person ever, and I needed to write that song. It was a mix of finishing that song and going back to therapy that really helped me to be in a way better place emotionally and mentally.”
Evenson follows her curative journey through reflective lyrics, soothing harmonies, dreamy soundscapes and shimmering instrumentation. Each Not So Pretty track invites us to tranquilly absorb and instantly connect with Evenson’s increasing vulnerabilities about self-esteem, losses and personal relationships.
The raw, pulsating title track features angry, brief bursts of electric guitar riffs fused with steady drums and soft bass. As a soaring soprano, Evenson revealingly sings, “I’m not so pretty/I’m not so clean/If only you could read what’s written in between me/And holding flowers, won’t make me look pure/And writing all these songs about it isn’t a cure.”
“I wrote it before a class I was supposed to have a song for, and I didn’t wanna play a cover, and I didn’t wanna play any of my other songs, and I sat down and started writing. I sang it in a class, and I just got so angry while I was singing it, and after it, I felt great. The rest of the day I was smiling and felt like everything was lifted off my shoulders,” said Evenson, who also submitted an acoustic video of the track for this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Contest.
The Detroit jazz pop singer-songwriter decided to host Saturday’s live show at the freight yard after biking through the former Grand Trunk Railroad line.
“Having a car-free greenway in Detroit is great. It’s fun to see so many people out walking, running, biking and just hanging out on any given weeknight,” Gaietto said. “When I saw the post asking for musicians to play at the Freight Yard, it felt perfect. Detroiters never have enough summer, so the chance to play outside on a Saturday afternoon is a no-brainer, and with the BUILD Market, food trucks, beer and games, it looked too fun to pass up.”
Gaietto will play her first freight yard show Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and perform her newest song, “Normal Stuff” as well as tracks from her 2016 debut EP, “Some Kind of Heaven,” a few covers and some deep tracks for her headlining set.
Neo-soul singer-songwriter White Bee, also known as Shannon Barnes, and pop singer-songwriter Ally Evenson will join Gaietto to round out the freight yard show.
Earlier this month, White Bee released a new video for her single, “Beat State,” while Evenson’s latest single, “All My Days and Nights,” is featured on the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) Sessions Vol. 4 album, which drops today.
“I’m excited to have White Bee in the lineup for her vocal talents, guitar chops and songwriting skills. I feel lucky that she was able to hop on the bill at the last minute and bring her talents to the show,” Gaietto said.
“Ally is a student at DIME, where I work. I’ve heard her play a few times for student shows and other events, and kept thinking that she needed more attention from the Detroit music scene at large. I think all three of the songwriters on this show make music that is interesting and often challenges the listener to go a little deeper, while still being accessible ‘smart pop.’”
“This is the crème de la crème of our student body who are in a position to write and record at the time or who may have songs even if they’re in the simplest form,” said Sabrina Underwood, label manager for Original 1265 Recordings at DIME. “This is their opportunity to know what it feels like to have a record released internationally on a major label. They can use this as a calling card to open up other doors.”
DIME released its third annual album Aug. 25 on Original 1265 Recordings, which is an independent label owned by CND America, DIME’s parent company, and distributed by Caroline Distribution.