Eva Avila, past Canadian Idol champ and eOne Music Canada pop recording artist extraordinaire, is pumped and primed to tackle her musical future, and she’s got the best new songs of her career to prove it on her brand new EP, Dream You Better.
Listen to the shimmering, pulsing energy of “Bitter Meets Sweet,” and the slight ‘80s feel of the sunny, effervescent “All I Want” – both charged with Avila’s electrifying vocal presence – and you’re getting the sonic equivalent of a crystal ball: the forecast is promising.
“I’ve been working on new material for quite a while now, and this is the first fruit of my labour,” says Avila, the multilingual Juno-nominated Gatineau Québec, native who is equally gifted in English, French and Spanish.
“My mindset was that I didn’t want to over-think things. I just wanted to get in there and write and record some great songs.
“And it was a very natural process. We just let the songs become what they wanted to become. But we wanted to make them fresh with just a scent of an ‘80s influence, with strong melodies and good stories that came from me and are right from my heart.”
Assembling a team that includes three stellar writers – producer Rob Wells (Justin Bieber, Mika, Selena Gomez, Cyndi Lauper), Christopher Ward (co-writer of the worldwide No. 1 smash “Black Velvet”) and Liz Rodrigues (Eminem, Dr. Dré, Céline Dion, Dan Hill) — Miss Avila is ready to take it to the next level.
“I want a really well-rounded career,” says the former Ford model, at one point the Canadian face of cosmetic giant Maybelline for a year.
“I’ve taken acting lessons and I’ve had a few promising auditions, so I’m hoping to conquer that world very soon. But right now I want to focus on my music.
“I’ve grown so much as a person and evolved so much as an artist that I’m excited for people to see what I have to offer.”
What she’s offering at this juncture of her career is a personal insight into her emotions: Avila is contributing lyrics to the first handful of songs that comprise Dream You Better, and promises that a full album will be arriving as early as 2014.
“I have a lot of songs in my back pocket,” notes Avila, known for her previous double-platinum hit “Meant To Fly,” the Top 10 “I Owe It All to You” and “Fallin’ For You,” and the Top 20 “Give Me The Music.”
“The great thing about writing all these songs is that eventually they all find a home, one way or another.”
An only child, Avila has been singing since she was a toddler, inspired by her Peruvian father.
“I know I have an ear for music and melody,” says Avila. “My father taught me how to sing and play when I was really young. Chris de Burgh was a particular favourite around the household – not just ‘The Lady In Red,’ but some of his earlier work.”
Prior to winning Canadian Idol in 2006, Avila won a number of Québec talent shows and starred in some musical theatrical productions.
But none of those activities afforded her more exposure than Canadian Idol, witnessed weekly by millions of viewers.
“Canadian Idol was a huge platform that gave me the opportunities and the leverage to enter the world of professional music,” says Avila. “And I’m really grateful for it.”
But that was then: today, Avila is developing all facets of her amazing talent, including her songwriting chops, which she flexes regularly.
“Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and out of the blue I’ll have a melody in mind,” she notes. “I don’t know where it comes from, but when it wants to come out, it’s out. I grab my phone, press record and use it for my next writing session.”
Avila’s new single, “Bitter Meets Sweet,” is the result of one of such session, a song Avila describes as “a little bit of a love story.”
“It’s about looking back and wondering what could have been,” says Avila. “You always go through that one love scenario or heartbreak where you look back and wonder, ‘did I do the right thing? Did I miss out on something really good?’
She also recorded a French version for her home province, adapted with help from Les Vikings artistic director and founder, Richard Petit.
“He did the first verse and the chorus, and I ended up translating the second verse as well as the bridge myself,” says Avila. “It’s not easy to do an adaptation because it’s not a literal translation. Everything has to make sense – the phrasing, the words, and certain melodies don’t sound as good in French as they do in English.”
Avila describes another track, “All I Want,” as “feel-good music.”
“We wanted a hooky, summery, girly and fun melody,” she explains. “I’m hoping people roll down the windows of their cars and say, ‘Oh that’s my jam! It makes me feel good and brings me to a happy place on a sucky day.’”
Some other trivia regarding Miss Eva (pronounced Ehv-ah) Avila: her favourite artist of all-time is Michael Jackson; she’s a devoted foodie and prefers the company of family to a night out with friends; she’s also a certified lifeguard and can recite, upon demand, “any line from any episode of Friends.”
Oh, and the dragon analogy? Her nickname is actually Eva le Dragon.
“It’s hilarious,” she says. “When I was younger, summers were spent at the family cottage with two older male cousins who drove me crazy. There was this kids’ TV show called Dudley The Dragon, and my cousins ultimately adapted the annoying theme song to include my name.
“I was insulted, because as a little girl I wanted to look like a princess, not a dragon,” she laughs. “But today I think of a dragon as a noble, majestic creature.”
That’s Eva Avila: dignified, but fun and friendly — and ready set the Canadian and international pop scenes ablaze with some exciting, enjoyable music.
And that’s no myth.