Today I have the absolute honor of talking with Eva Marie, the creator of Reverie: The Album, a work of fannish love that’s currently taking backers over on Kickstarter! I absolutely adore Eva Marie as a creator, a fellow fan, and someone who makes absolutely gorgeous music so if you’re looking for a new and cool opportunity to get fannish, check out our interview and then go head on over to her Kickstarter to become a backer!
Stitch: Eva Marie! Would you mind introducing yourself for my readers?
Eva Marie: Hi everyone, thanks for having me! I’m Eva, a singer-songwriter and composer in my mid-20s. I listen to almost every genre of music, but my specialty is R&B pop with hip hop vibes. When I’m not working, I’m watching anime, golden age Disney films, or old cartoons. I’ve been in online fandom since I was 14 years old. Over ten years later, I’m still a huge nerd! Nice to meet you.
S: We love a good origin story here at Stitch’s Media Mix so do you think you could walk my readers through your origin story for Reverie: The Album? What was thing that made you go “wait, I want to do this”?
EM: Bubbline. The Adventure Time finale was September 3, 2018, so that’s the exact day I came up with the concept for Reverie. Leading up to the finale, fandom was unbelievably excited for this ship to be canon. I was on the fence, thinking it would be phenomenal but questioning if the show would commit or not. When it was confirmed, I saw everyone celebrate, posting fanart and screenshots of the kiss, and it’s amazing. It was a beautiful day.
But as a musician, I can’t make music fast enough to participate in that wave of excitement. Knowing that, how can I utilize my passion to contribute to fandom? That’s when I knew I needed to just make a standalone project dedicated to incredible characters and romances we all love.
S: Here’s a tough question for you, I’m sure. Back in August 2020, Noelle Stevenson and the staff of Netflix and Dreamworks’ She-Ra reboot came under fire for a staff joke about Bow’s family and a character named “Sow”. You have music on Reverie inspired by She-Ra’s Catradora and I was wondering if that controversial moment impacted how you approached the song and ship in the rest of your work on the album.
EM: It did. As a Black woman, I was upset for a minute. It’s not often that shows are diverse out of a genuine desire to do right by marginalized folks. To have a racist staff joke they felt comfortable sharing publicly from that particular show sucked, not going to lie. However, they made an apology that wasn’t a mere acknowledgement of what went wrong, they also outlined how they’re going to combat antiblackness in their professional spaces moving forward.
It wasn’t like, “Oh, I messed up! I better start caring about racism now!” Noelle and their wife had gone to a BLM protest earlier that year, so this situation felt less like saving face when they had shown they cared prior to.
No one has to accept their apology based on those factors. Forgiveness is intensely personal, and anyone who is still hurt has every right to be. But for me, it’s enough to stick around and see if they make good on their promises, and to forgive them if they do.
My Catradora song remains the same, an in-depth look at Catra’s anger from what she feels is Adora’s betrayal. I mainly asked myself if it was worth keeping the song, and decided it is.
S: Following up on the She-Ra question, how have your experiences in fandom as a Black fan shaped the songs on Reverie: The Album and how you chose what fandoms or ships you wanted to represent?
EM: Not very much, surprisingly. Since I style my vocals after R&B and love hip hop influences, along with having ballads, the songs have an undeniable Blackness to them. Cartoons are getting more diverse, but Reverie mainly pulls from anime, and anime doesn’t have too many Black characters. The way I would like to add this personal touch is through the visuals, once I have the resources for that.
Blacktober (a month-long event interpreting non-Black characters through a Black lens) got me thinking. It would be so fun to do something similar for any art or animations. I’ve even thought of doing street fashion cosplays for some of the characters. Have you seen artists draw Goku and Vegeta in Nikes, styled in fashion that Black folks pioneered? Something like that. As long as I’m not working with Black characters, I want to add that part of myself to my work somehow. Bubbline and Rupphire are on the album though, so there’s that!
S: I know you’re clearly a passionate musician and I’d love to know: what’s your earliest music memory?
EM: The first time I ever sang! For some reason, as a toddler I wouldn’t talk to my mom very much. It’s hilarious to think about because we have a great relationship now. So, my mom had barely heard me talk. Then one day, my cousins and a few other family members come over, and we’re listening to “I Believe I Can Fly” from Space Jam.
According to my mom, I started belting the song in front of everyone, which shocked her because I was generally quiet. From that day onward, she taught me how to sing (later on, I had professional vocal lessons). No idea how she pulled that off when she’s not a singer herself, but everything she taught me is still relevant.
S: Having favorites as a creator has to be hard, but if you had to choose one song from Reverie: The Album that you feel is your baby and that you feel best represents your work, which song is it and why?
EM: I love this question! There’s a song I wrote for Ash & Eiji (Banana Fish) called “Love Like This.” It’s hard to choose a favorite anime, but Banana Fish moved me in a way that nothing else has. I wanted a song to honor how beautiful their relationship is to me, so I was meticulous over the lyrics and melody.
I even rewrote the entire song until it was just right, which resulted in one of the best songs I’ve ever written. It has my favorite lyric on the album: “You are my starlight when my universe is vague / Can I be your night sky, the hollow you illuminate?” Every aspect of “Love Like This” embodies hope in the midst of darkness. That’s a major driving force in my personal life, especially during this pandemic. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
S: What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned from working on Reverie so far?
EM: Perfection kills creativity. Just do it. Put your work out there, with all its flaws and things you wish you could change. Finish it, and love it for what it is. Everyone else will, too.
S: Can you describe Reverie: The Album in three words?
EM: Enchanting. Devastating. Human.
S: 2020 has been tough for everyone, duh. Aside from making music, what have you turned to keep yourself busy and your head afloat this year?
EM: I like to draw digitally and create original characters! Maybe someday, my music will bring them to life alongside my fandom-focused album (or albums, who knows). Also, I take too many naps.
If, like me, you’re a huge fan of supporting folks just doing their best to show how much fandom has inspired and influenced them, check out the Kickstarter for Eva Marie’s Reverie: The Album! Don’t forget to share her Kickstarter and support!!