Evelyn Cools is the epitome of West Coast, classic, old-school kind of music. Having been compared to the legendary Stevie Nicks, Cools is quickly becoming known for her dreamy songs infused with her lilting vocals and energetic storytelling. Her newest EP, Misfit Paradise, embodies her sound like no other, bringing listeners into Evelyn Cools’ inner world. We sat down with the burgeoning singer-songwriter to discover more about her creative process, hear her insight into the EP, and more.
What inspired the name of this EP, Misfit Paradise?
Evelyn Cools: “I wrote the title track, ‘Misfit Paradise,’ about finding a community that was entirely accepting of me and my goals for the first time. So, often I feel like we search for validation of who we are within the culture and society we come from. As I get older, I realize more and more that we create our own realities, and that the only acceptance we truly need is from ourselves. The name Misfit Paradise feels very encompassing of this EP, as I navigate the world, understand myself more, and appreciate the beautiful people I meet along the way. In the end, there is a paradise for everyone who has ever felt like a misfit. We just have to put ourselves out there, and allow magic to come into our lives.”
What’s your favorite track in the album? Why?
“This is a very hard question! All the tracks tell a powerful story of their own, and I love each one for a different reason. I would say the song that feels most precious to me is ‘Yosemite.’ Yosemite National Park has had such a significant impact on my life, my relationships, and my understanding of myself and the world around me. Speaking about the intrinsic value of nature and our role as humans in protecting it has always been a passion of mine. It is a discussion I hope to open through many of my songs, but this track in particular. ‘Yosemite’ is a song that simultaneously keeps me grounded and sets me free, and I hope other people will experience it the same way.”
What’s your favorite lyrical line on the album? Why?
“‘These people we meet / Are we just the lucky ones, seeing what’s beneath.’ This is a line from the title track, ‘Misfit Paradise.’ I wrote the song when I was living in NYC for the first time, and while this city has some of the most amazing opportunities, it can also feel daunting and incredibly fast-paced. Everyone is so busy, constantly rushing to get to their next destination, often without much regard for one another. In these lyrics I wanted to emphasize the beauty of standing still, opening up about ourselves, and in turn appreciating the people around us. Emotion and vulnerability are not weaknesses, even if our surroundings may preach otherwise.”
You have a classic kind of Stevie Nick’s vibe about your music. Who were some of your influences during your creation process (and how did they influence you)?
“It always feels like such an honor when people compare my sound to that of Stevie Nicks. My mom introduced me to the music of Fleetwood Mac when I was a young teenager, and it sparked a passion within me for rock & roll and the art of songwriting. Around the same time, I started listening to Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and similar musicians who emerged in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It felt like a whole new world was opening up to me, not just musically, but also a lifestyle and community that I yearned to be a part of. I started reading biographies of artists like Jim Morrison and Lou Reed, learning about the social movements of the Sixties, and reflecting on how songwriters of that time could help me understand who I was – as an artist but also as a citizen of the world. While I have definitely branched out in the music I listen to now, I still feel most inspired by songs with powerful lyrics and an underlying message.”
What do you hope the album conveys to fans as a whole?
“As a whole, the Misfit Paradise EP is about finding connection and belonging within the things that surround us, whether that means nature, society, ourselves, or the other people in our lives. Each song focuses on a different facet of my life, sometimes a realization or epiphany, that people can relate to on a universal level. My biggest hope is that these songs create a space for people to philosophize about the world, to heal, and ultimately to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and those around them.”
Evelyn Cools offers a track-by-track breakdown of the EP’s five songs:
1. “Another Night”
“The first song on the EP, ‘Another Night’ reflects on chance encounters and the impact they can have on our lives, particularly in love. It is about surrendering to the moment and being open to anything that comes across our path.”
2. “Gold Woman”
“Inspired by rock and country music, this song is the most upbeat track on the EP. ‘Gold Woman’ scrutinizes the belief that a ‘perfect woman’ exists, and although we are often tempted by things that are shiny and new, the pursuit of superficial beauty is rarely ever worth it.”
“The truest ode to nature I have written so far, ‘Yosemite’ depicts the freedom I feel when I am surrounded by exceptional beauty.”
4. “Misfit Paradise”
“‘Misfit Paradise’ is about finding a sense of belonging in unexpected places. While many of us long to fit in with our own cultures and the reality we have grown up in, there is something incredibly freeing about letting go and finding a community that we choose for ourselves.”
“One of the most vulnerable songs I have ever written, ‘Soaring’ challenges the control we allow external pressure and expectations to have over us. Once we detach from the notion of who we ‘should’ be, we can finally grow into ourselves and determine what kind of life we truly want to lead.”