When Hannah Karydas was 13 years old, she started performing around her hometown of Cairns in tropical North Queensland. She had been making her own music since she was 11 and was inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell. She had no idea how prophetic the tales of road trips and self-discovery would prove.
More than a decade later, Hannah has released her own debut album, Summerskin, under her stage name – Eves Karydas. The record is an account of her last nine years on the move and the revelations she has made along the way. It is a bold arrival from a self-possessed pop artist who has crossed the globe to chase her dreams. It is luxurious, dark, playful and above all, supremely confident – but arriving here took time.
After high school, she decided to skip university and make the big move to cosmopolitan Melbourne. “Everyone there seemed like they had a purpose,” says Hannah. She wanted the same, but at 17, struggled to find her niche. She returned to Brisbane and met another Cairns artist who introduced Hannah to her first manager. “He taught me so much about not being afraid to be weird,” she recalls.
Hannah signed with Australian label Dew Process and released her debut EP, under the name Eves The Behavior in July 2015. The record was critically praised and she quickly raised a fanbase of new age pop fans. This time also helped her learn the vital lesson of who to trust in such a cut throat industry. Writing trips to Las Angeles cemented her view of the music industry as a complex and dark world to inhabit. “I just felt like another girl … with this male producer,” she sighs. “You’re like, nothing about this is special … When you’re in the room every day, you can’t come up with enough meaningful concepts, and so I just end up writing meaningless music. It’s like looking at myself through a veil or something. It just feels wrong.”
Despite career setbacks, she loved the creative potential of Las Angeles. So, naturally, she took that love for sunny Los Angeles and decided it was time to move to England “I had a childhood dream to come here! I had to follow through with it.”
So at 21, Hannah went travelling around America and Europe before landing in glamorous London. This nomadic life began to inform her art more and more, acting as a catalyst for what the record eventually became. Everywhere she lived, Hannah felt displaced and far from home, which became central to her music. She also emphasised the idea of feminist heroes as the forefront of her music.
All that confidence and trepidation comes through in Summerskin, which documents Hannah’s journey of self-discovery across the globe. It took exploring the lives of several cities across the planet to find herself, but it was in London where Hannah Karydas really did, and finally honed who Eves Karydas would be. “I want to put across a sense of confidence in myself that I never had,” says Karydas. “It’s been the best thing, because suddenly I can talk about what I do and not worry about someone saying, ‘Oh, you’re really up yourself.’ It’s like, no: I’m excited. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Eves will be heading to Forbes next month for boutique music festival Vanfest, alongside PNAU, Golden Features, Broods, Mallrat and more.
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