EVE LESOV is a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter-pianist born and raised in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Eve’s compositions go against the grain of pop music, but for those with eclectic taste, you will find a home with Eve’s musical mood swings along with her quirky dark melodies reminiscent of Kate Bush, Fiona Apple, Bjork, Regina Spector, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Portishead, and Florence and the Machine.
Back by popular demand, Eve Lesov will put on another boutique concert in Chicago, and will for sure sweep you off your feet with her passion for what she does best. Be it a concert in Saint Petersburg, Russia, with over 500 attendees or a small gig by someone’s fireplace, Eve always puts on a performance that keeps her fans wanting more. Experience a genre of music which is hard to classify, but is instead, a unique hybrid of Indie, Alternative, Pop, Cabaret and Theater come on down.
To give Eve Lesov’s fans and fans-to-be a little more insight on this phenomenal performer and songwriter, we asked for an interview, which only proved that this genuine artist is genuine on all fronts and harmonies.
LIKA: In reading your boilerplate bio, I take it you took a long boat to make it to the United States. Did you start writing in the U.S. or was that something you did before you could walk? When and why did you immigrate and how did it impact your lyrics?
EVE LESOV: Yes, the boat was not an easy one. I applied to American colleges for three years in a row and only the third time around I was accepted to five top schools, two of which granted me full scholarship. I chose Smith College and moved to the U.S. The “Move” definitely contributed to my songwriting, as this was an exciting, yet very trying experience, being far from home and from the person I was madly in love with at that time (to whom I wrote my song Atlantica my first week of school). However, I started writing long before that, at the age of ten. At twelve, I wrote my first song, which mom and brother couldn’t listen to without holding each other’s hands and silently giggling. My first coherent song came shortly after that and this songwriting saga never stopped since.
LIKA: When and why did you immigrate and how did it impact your lyrics?
EVE LESOV: I moved to Northampton MA, Smith College, to study Liberal Arts and Economics in 2000. It was not immigration per say, yet, but thankfully I managed to stay in the US. Kyrgyzstan has probably suffered most out of all the former Soviet Union former republics. My parents happened not to be in the trade business, nor were they government executives, so the “Nineties” were pretty bad for my family, resulting in my parents’ divorce and in my firm goal to escape from the chaos of the battered land.
So I did. My lyrics were impacted tremendously, as this new language flew into my life. First, as an enemy and the cause of my constant breakdowns: not being able to understand gossip around the lunch table at an all-girls school is pretty hard for a teenager. Yet, upon acceptance to the college’s leading a Capella group, I started picking up the slang terms and overall started feeling more at home with the foreign tongue. Still, the lyrics were not on par with what I could deliver in Russian. On the other hand, I had access to real pianos in our music department, I kept taking vocal and piano classes, and having an American roommate helped immensely. That’s how the journey of incorporating English into my art began.
LIKA: It’s common for radical life changes to impact not only the need to write, but the writing style as well. In observing you from a distance, you sure seem to be a pretty happy and content person, yet many of your lyrics and tunes contain minor chords. How so?
EVE LESOV: I do have some funny tunes (Unemployment, American Male, Hope And A Rope, Take Me On), which will all be included in my upcoming album with the full band. But they were all written recently, which proves that as soon as I became a full time musician (three and a half years ago) I did get happier and calmer internally and that allowed for my joyful creative outbursts. I do have a ton of emotional struggles, dilemmas, and overall I keep going through this unceasing search for something within the twelve notes and the so-and-so-many letters (different alphabets, I speak and have used five languages in my songs). So minor chords are prevalent in my compositions — as an artist, I believe, I have no other choice, but to dig deep, and when you dig deep, some skeletons get to the surface, and you deal with them through minor scales and not-so-bright chords and longing melodies.
LIKA: Your music styles seem to be pretty diverse, which musicians, bands and artists would you say had influenced you the most?
EVE LESOV: Definitely Radiohead, Portishead, Massive Attack, Bjork, Depeche Mode. Oh, also: Blonde Redhead, Fiona Apple. Lately I’ve grown to love electroswing and at some point I was also very much into psychedelic trance, dubstep and Russian rock (the latter was back in Kyrgyzstan and throughout my college years, when I was being eaten up by home sickness.)
LIKA: Going back to the sad themes in your songs — how do you make it with sad music? Is it «in style» or do you find yourself as an «outcast»? Do people want to buy sad music?
EVE LESOV: Sad music is definitely harder to “make it” with. People don’t want to be bothered by a whining lady on a Friday night. Yet, once you do get in, there is a whole niche for those, who complain and ponder in their songs; and there are millions of people who want that “friend” in their headphones, who honestly shares her own doubts, fears, and longing, that a certain percentage of worldwide listeners might so easily relate to.
Next Question: Well, I suppose your track record confirms that indeed you ARE popular and your concerts always sell out. How do you manage to remain YOU?
EVE LESOV: Thank you for the flattering question, but I prefer to be honest: the concerts don’t always sell out. And I have performed and keep still performing in venues only partially full. Yet, I am not giving up and am continuing touring and organizing shows in NYC, which is the city of my current residence and where my shows are usually highly attended. Hence, remaining “Me” is not a problem from the side of being too popular. Remaining this or that in general is problematic: music, I believe, is a constant search, and the “Me” from a couple years ago is completely different from the “Me” now.
LIKA: Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed? Any signs of «star sickness”? What do you think of folks who have developed a severe diagnosis of this «illness»?
EVE LESOV: I find myself overwhelmed all the time, I operate in the mode of overwhelmedness, yet I hope no ‘star sickness’ will ever contribute to this familiar state of mine. I hate it with a passion in others and hope to never project a drop of it onto people. Besides, as I mentioned before, occasional poorly attended shows, which I keep playing, can attest to the fact that sharing my music with listeners is what I am here for, not an opportunity to raise my chin to the clouds.
LIKA: Who is your target audience today? Do your «groupies» resemble the type of people you WANT to actually perform in front of?
EVE LESOV: Good question! I still haven’t figured this one out. I have women and men in their thirties and forties following my music devotedly, I also have young women and men in their 20s, I got some teenagers, as well… I guess, fewer men and women past their 50s and fewer younger children, however I do have those among my followers, too. Here and there I’d get an rude member of my audience, who would consider it appropriate to harass me either at my shows or online. So I block them — literally, when it comes to Facebook, and figuratively, when it comes to real life. But as a majority, I cherish all of my listeners, concertgoers, and poetry-readers, and am infinitely grateful for the attention they give me.
LIKA: Just like any person who is even remotely public, you are deemed for criticism. How do you handle negative comments to your lyrics or performances? There will always be that one special person who will nag about how horrible everything was. Are you more of a delicate diplomat when it comes that that, or do you bluntly «disagree» ?:)
EVE LESOV: I have been teaching myself to accept criticism with dignity. Boy, is it hard!!:) But I encourage constructive criticism, as it means people listen carefully, read my poetry, paying attention to detail and overall, it means people give a damn. But, yeah, it comes into my head with a grain of salt… I’d say with a spoon of salt… even a tablespoon to be fair:)
LIKA: You’ve recently taken your performances to yet another level — from music to poetry. What prompted that?
EVE LESOV: Let’s say, I met my muse:)! I am a very loving person, and I keep falling in love all my life, being amazed by people, finding muses in them. My most recent muse happened to dig out the Russian Poetry from the depths I had no idea had existed in me. I hadn’t written in Russian for years prior to this past April, and now I write every day. (Knock-knock-knock on the wood not to jinx it:) At first, I was scared to death that the inspiration would leave me, but I am more secure in myself now (still knock-knock-knock on the wood). Also, I have been advised to read some classics. I already started with Tsvetaeva, whose poetry I only brushed upon in my school years back in Kyrgyzstan and she definitely planted some seeds in me that sprang out as my writings already and I am hoping will grow into many more poems of mine. However, I will always remain faithfully grateful to the person, who made me discover this within me, not even knowingly, which, I suppose adds even more purity to this creative birth.
LIKA: With most of your poetry in Russian, yet a good number of songs performed in English, do you ever find yourself «stuck» between two worlds? What drives your language of choice?
EVE LESOV: it is always uncontrollable and inspiration is the key here. Whichever way it leads — I follow.
LIKA: Where do you think the future lies for you? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years? (At some point, I do hope you will decide to reproduce and pass off those good genes;) )
EVE LESOV: I hope that in the next five years I will have enough followers to support my lifestyle without struggling, and yes, I hope to have a couple of kids, who would love mommy’s music:)
LIKA: You briefly touched upon a new album. Would you share your plans on this grand release or am I jumping the gun?
EVE LESOV: Yes, we are working on a new album, full band! We are almost done recording bass and drums. So I am hoping to release an EP or at least a single from this new album this coming January.
LIKA: We’ll definitely look forward to that release! Eve, we’re counting the days to your performance; thanks for the great interview and see you soon!
EVE: Thanks! I’m looking forward to coming back to your wonderful city!
Interview Conducted by: Lika Mogilevskaya
To order tickets, please call: 1 (917) 880-5515
($20 at the door with prior reservation or $15 via paypal)