Nic Evennett-Waiting For The Leaves

 It's a slightly longer article this time for reasons that will become clear,  as well as giving artists/bands a music platform in the form of an interview/ review, there's also a  human element  and in some cases subjects that deserve the time and space, so grab a cuppa or something stronger and I'll begin? 

As  "Birds"  taken from the folky roots based   "Waiting For Leaves"  album scrolled by on my Twitter feed, I hit play and went from slouched to instant upright, mouth open and  a little intake of breath, also known as a gasp, not even a coffee has me moving that quickly, I  could've sworn I'd stumbled across the captivating  angelic vocals of  Lucinda Drayton, she of  "A hundred thousand angels" toonage?  Turns out I was wrong, which as you know, as a woman, doesn't happen very often?  

This  celestial sound was coming from an artist called Nic Evennett and from the moment the album starts it  feels like you're entering spiritual realms, with her poetic performance enveloped in heavenly  musicianship, my senses were pleasantly overwhelmed, I contacted Nic  "Who's Lucinda Drayton?"  she  said in reply  to my comparison, which somehow made interviewing her even more refreshing .

What makes the album even more remarkable is that Nic suffers with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E) and Fibromyalgia and Mental health problems.  She caught a particularly nasty virus  whilst teaching back in 2004 and never fully recovered again, but because she was also struggling with Bipolar that wasn't being  controlled by medication  and PMDD ( premenstrual dysphoric disorder which is a very severe version of premenstrual syndrome)  GP's were reluctant to diagnose the M.E. 

she said: 

"This is often the case when someone is suffering with mental health, and this in my opinion is nonsense. I don't doubt for a moment that my mental health impacts and triggers flares, but the complex physical symptoms of M.E are still very much there alive and kicking hard, and when you're feeling fairly mentally steady, do a fairly mundane activity and end up being sick, forget your own name, and it even hurts to breathe, then no, I think there is more to it than just a symptom of poor mental health? However, I think the medical profession  is slowly recognising the truth and if you can build a good relationship with your GP , and thankfully mine's a Superstar, this can really help. There's still along way to go with getting proper support but we are all continuing to fight for that

The symptoms were manageable for a number of years. I continued to teach. It was actually my mental health that got considerably worse and meant that  I had to give up teaching. It took a few years for me to learn about the condition PMDD and realise that I had all the symptoms. No mental health professional I spoke to knew about it. No GP had heard of it. And that is still the case, sadly, for so many women/afabs/transitioning folk, who can experience the most debilitating and dangerous symptoms, that they cannot get the support they need. Fortunately I found information about an amazing doctor, Dr Panay, at Chelsea and Westminster who recognised that a) I had it and b) it was serious and likely to finish me off! Meanwhile, one thing I could manage a bit more successfully was the M.E and Fibro. but that all changed overnight

I had a hysterectomy to end the PMDD, and the M.E/Fibro got, and continues to get more severe. It's not an uncommon thing but something we are only just learning about. Menopause and M.E/Fibro are not always a happy couple. It's almost like I've never recovered from the operation and at 40, it's a radical thing to happen to the body at the best of times. So at a point my life should have changed for the better, I exchanged one set of problems for another! It was always a risk and I don't regret it because I wouldn't have survived the severity of PMDD"




As for her music, "Strange Wild"  had my brain cells bouncing all over the place, it sounded original and yet familiar With it's 80's style  Tom Toms, Enya style vocals with nuances of Judie Tzuke and creative genius of Kate Dimbleby's album Songbirds. 
Hooked on artists such as Joni Mitchel, Sandy Denny, John Martyn & Paul Simon to name but a few , it's evident music has played a big part in Nics life. She studied it at University but because her mental health hadn't been good, when she left, she also left behind the music and only started recording again seven years ago, she can't gig or tour, stand for any length of time or arrange anything such as studio time, but being able to put a  positive spin even in the darkest of places, she records it all at home in small blocks of time. A worthy mention to  first class musicians Matt steady  Jon Read  Richard Brewer who all have their own projects from music to photography. I was immersed in this celtic Folk fantasy from start to finish, with a potpourri of sounds from hang drum to  violin to cello and  a multitude of others I felt I should have known but didn't.  

"Waiting For Leaves" is a collection of tracks with strong ties to the natural world which Nic says has a more ambient celtic folk vibe compared to her 2019 "For The Money" E.P. and although i'd have to agree, it's still a highly recommended listen  nonetheless , she has that rare vocal tone that could sail over any type of music  and carry you to the end of the journey. Her track "Broken boat" was also recently played on an episode of the hugely popular   Gone Fishing on the BBC2.  Although being ill means  not being able to set plans in stone, it doesn't mean Nic can't have them and she has shared that there will hopefully be  more albums on the cards, and she'd also like to get back to her love of trip hop. 

I'm always humbled to interview/review such inspirational artists and Nic is a woman whose honesty and creativity  will i'm sure help many others going through physical and mental struggles.  I'll leave you with something she says on her bandcamp page " Listen to the birdsong,kick through the leaves, you might just find something underneath?" .....  and I do believe you will ? 


You can check out her music and show support at: Bandcamp  SoundCloud  Spotify Twitter

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this interview, ROE, and for all the work you do for us folk. You're a star. X

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    1. My pleasure Nic, and I wish you all the success that you truly deserve, you're showing people that despite illness you can still have dreams and continue with things you love albeit differently, and in this digital world where how putting music out has changed so much, anything is now possible :)

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