EVRiM
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EVRiM

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"People to Watch"

MAKING SOME NOISE
The sultry Turkish-born singer/songwriter Evrim Baykal prepares to release her first EP and be heard better than ever. She leads our annual People To Watch list of intriguing, accomplished GLBT people who are making a difference

Confident, she rhythmically struts across the main room to the back courtyard of the Vintage Lounge, bidding hellos with her hips, wading through what seems like a pre-technicolor crowd against her powder blue eye shadow. Dressed with a vodka tonic, she stops to smoke a cigarette, and after peripherally watching the smoke rise from her full, pierced lips, I ponder, What makes Evrim Baykal, EVRiM (as she likes to present her name)? Native Houstonian, proud Turk, and surging solo artist, Baykal has difficulty answering this question, and it is yet another one unanswered.

If you were to ask her whether she prefers girls over boys, she won't give you a definite answer, but a few things are certain. Baykal will seduce you with her mature, sensual voice; sing herself into your consciousness; and brush against your soul with her beaming smile and explosive cachinnation. Then she'll tell you that her best physical feature is “[her] titties or [her] lips, leaning towards titties though.” She beams.

The 31-year-old MBA graduate (magna cum laude from the University of Miami) has been making noise this past year with the release of her single “Unanswered Questions,” a song based on her relationship with an unnamed woman (listen at her website, www.evrimsmusika.com). Baykal is pensive when asked about this woman, and while answering, she is shy and scattered, seemingly careful to say the “right” things. Although she and the woman shared only one quick kiss at Chances, the friendship that grew “was just really intense.” So intense, she concluded, “I must be a lesbian because I've never felt this way before about anyone, and I feel this way about a girl.”

“It was like Christmas!” Baykal exclaims, conveying through her joviality that her coming-out experience was like opening presents. In actuality, it was Christmas. After everyone had opened their gifts, she announced, “By the way everyone, I'm a lesbian.” The news didn't come as a shock to her family, and Christmas that year continued as planned.

However, all-inclusive lesbianism was short-lived when Baykal realized she still had a thing for boys. She found herself “being in the closet about being kinda straight,” a phrase at which which she laughs heartily. The discrimination that exists against bisexuals in the GLBT community is something she grapples with. “Lesbians treat you different.”

Nothing is definite with Baykal. She is the culprit and the hero. She is trying to hold on and to let go. She likes lemons and limes. She playfully shares her motto: That's a definite maybe…probably. Actually, there is one definite thing about her: change. She finds herself in a state of nervousness and claims she is happy because her life is changing so rapidly. Fittingly, evrim means “evolution” in Turkish. With a recently released single and an upcoming EP, Illness of Love,

set for release in February 2008, Baykal certainly has reasons for her incessant bursts of joy and laughter throughout our interview. Furthermore, she has written a book entitled Gazelle Therapy: The Rebel's Handbook for the Journey of Life (set for 2009 publication), which she wrote during most of 2005 while living in Foca (Fo-cha), a fishing village in Turkey nestled in perfect view of the Aegean Sea and known as the site of the Siren rocks in Homer's epic, The Odyssey .

Baykal wasn't always celebrating her life on a daily basis. These days, she says, she finds herself
in a nurturing relationship with the universe, the entity that she believes is piecing her back together, back to herself, back to a feeling of home. The universe is healing her after years of falling apart, surviving physical abuse by a family member, two failed marriages, a period of time wrecked by alcohol and drug abuse, a few suicide attempts linked to an addiction to prescription drugs, and self-deprecating thoughts.

“I've lived a lot of life in a short time,” she says.

After her final numbing experience with the anti-depressant Clonazepam (better known by its brand name, Klonopin), which led to her most serious suicide attempt, Baykal was able to move toward her dreams of becoming a successful pop artist. She has evolved from an abused and lost girl to a strong, talented woman who knows and embraces herself.

Today she is a bright musical mastermind, brimming with confidence and boasting a clear conscience and grand sense of social responsibility. Like her musical compositions, Baykal is multi-faceted, complex, and sometimes sparkly. (She likes things that sparkle — “like girls.”) Her music is a direct reflection of her life and who she is. Although her voice has been compared to Shakira's and Madonna's, one absolutely cannot compare the entirety of her musical talents to anyone. The woman and the music are in a class of their own.

Baykal reveals she is wild, crazy, and open-minded. She forgets to mention informed, intelligent, charming, down-to-earth, and, of course, sexy. She is full of spirit and possesses a wickedly catching personality. She sang “Redneck Woman” at her wedding in Turkey, for goodness sake. She recalls, “It was wonderful!”

Baykal is one hot Turk to watch for years to come. But beware: She's armed with spunk and loads of glitter and a brain that is eager to discuss the danger of excessive consumption of the fatty acid Omega-6, religious history, evolution, physics, and the personality of math. And she's not afraid to hurl her thoughts at you. In fact, she divulges, “I'm an ear rapist.” Yikes.

By the way, girls and boys, she prefers…limes.

by Joyce Gabiola - OutSmart Magazine


"Quick Review"

"Grooving, electronic sound with feathery vocals!" - Indie-Music.com


Discography

RELEASES

Single and music video release - "Unanswered Questions" (HHS Recordings) - July '07

Album release - "The Illness of Love" (HHS Recordings) - August '08

Song release - "Stable" - on The Howling Hex's Rogue Moon (Black Lab Records) - November '09

MEDIA

EVRiM and her music have been featured on 90.1 FM - KPFT (Pacifica Radio) in Houston.

EVRiM is the January '08 cover story for Houston's OutSmart Magazine.

Photos

Bio

BIO

Istanbul-born, Texas-raised EVRiM is an artist with a break-thru feel to her music. At three, EVRiM was performing music for small parties. By eleven, she began creating music and producing shows, and by fourteen she was writing full-on songs for a friend's band. EVRiM has performed at an array of venues including main stage at the Houston International Festival, The Mohawk, Ruta Maya, Jones Plaza, One-Eyed Jack's and the Granada Theatre.

In '09, EVRiM did a summer stint with The Howling Hex (Drag City Records), opening for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. Her song "Stable" was released in November on The Howling Hex's new album: Rogue Moon (Black Lab Records). She is currently in Portland, Oregon writing her next album.

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EVRiM also has a theatrical side, having studied and performed various types of dance, such as street, jazz, ballet, and modern. She is a Thespian and has been in both plays and musicals, including performances with solos in the musicals “Godspell”, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “The Wiz”.

In addition to the Arts, EVRiM has a love for academia, graduating with a BS in Advertising from the University of Texas-Austin and later earning her MBA - Magna Cum Laude – at the University of Miami. After years of individual research into what ails the world, it was in 2004 that EVRiM invented a brand new process in psychology/sociology, which is featured in her book – Gazelle Therapy: The Rebel’s Handbook for the Journey of Life. She spent most of 2005 in a remote fishing village off the Aegean coast of Turkey writing the book.