By Gail McCarthy
---- — An aspiring singer-songwriter from Rockport has gone from Dogtown to Tuscany in pursuit of her musical inspiration.
Marina Evans, 25, is preparing to record an album abroad in Florence, Italy. She has been traveling back and forth between Cape Ann and Florence since she studied abroad there in 2008 when she was a junior in college.
Evans received her undergraduate degree in music theory and composition from Columbia University in 2009, but her music career started here when, at age 17, she started singing in a jazz duo with her older brother, Brendan Evans.
The duo performed at the Seaward Inn in Rockport and the defunct White Rainbow in Gloucester. She still plays at the latter venue — it is now the Dog Bar on Main Street — and she has performed at the Old Sloop Coffeehouse, The Rhumb Line, The Cape Ann Brewery, the Harbor Loop concert series, as well as other local venues.
Evans has combined a jazz background with her love of classic rock and traditional folk in her songwriting.
Her introduction to the Tuscan music scene came in 2008 when she performed some of her very first songs at an open mic event outside Florence, Italy. A Florentine bass player and producer heard her perform, and the pair started gigging and recording together. Evans applied for and received a grant from Columbia to return to Florence for the summer to continue working on the project.
“The musicians I met and worked with in 2008 became good friends and inspiring collaborators,” Evans says. “After that initial project, I did everything I could to return to Florence to gig, write, and record.”
In the ensuing years, Evans has been producing plenty of music. In 2012, she released two original EPs: “Dogtown,” written and recorded here in Gloucester, and “The Tuscan Sessions,” written and recorded while touring abroad in Italy last spring.
“The EPs are really two sides of the same coin,” Evans said. “They reflect this bi-continental life I’ve been living. The song ‘Dogtown’ is about home (the place and the people) and how both you and it grow and change as you leave and return. I grew up on Cape Ann, but I have been coming and going since I was 14 years old. The Dogtown woods have became a sort of metaphor for me: the history there is tangible; the landscape is unmistakable; but at the same time it is a dynamic, organic place that grows anew each spring, despite the permanence of its boulders.”
Bradley Royds, a local producer and musician, said the “Dogtown” EP showed off several aspects of Evans’ songwriting skills, and was woven with emotions.
Now, Evans is in Florence until July. She has the material, the band, the producer, the studio, and the experience to produce a full-length original album.
“All the pieces are in place, down to booking the studio time — now all I need is the support of friends and fans from my home port to make it happen,” she said.
To that end, Evans has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $8,000 to record a full-length original album. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website through which artists set a financial goal and ask for donations or pledges from fans in order to finance a creative project.
“I am very fortunate to be able to maintain this bi-continental musical lifestyle, and it means a lot to get community support from both sides of the pond,” Evans said.
The link to Evans’ Kickstarter campaign is http://kck.st/11aEYis. Here you can learn more about the project, as well as pledge money to support it.
The campaign runs until 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 7. By then, Evans needs to raise all $8,000 or she will not get any of the donations (donors will not be charged until the goal is met, or after May 7).
Royds said Evans has made great strides in a short time.
“She’s articulate, smart and funny, and she’s developing her talent at an incredibly quick rate,” he said. “She has the guts and determination and puts herself on the line to go out there and do it. She is going to go somewhere in this business. She has a lot of possibilities going forward.”
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to help Who and what: Rockport resident Marina Evans has launched a Kickstarter campaign so she can record a music album in Italy. How: You can learn more about her plans or make a donation at http://kck.st/11aEYis Deadline: If she does not meet her fundraising goal by 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, donors will not be charged.