Evann McIntosh is only 16 years old, but she’s ready to take over the world. In a short time, the singer/songwriter has already built up a loyal fanbase and tons of buzz with her soulful and in-the-now take on modern pop and R&B sounds. With a colorful and impressive debut album already to her name – 2019’s MOJO – all eyes are on McIntosh as she hits the studio to work on her next project,
Though now based in Kansas, because of her father’s military career, Evann moved around the country (and for 5 years, to Germany) throughout her childhood. Regardless of where she was, her creative spirit was ever blossoming. “Music was always in the air, and in my brain,” she recalls. “Even before I could write anything down, I’d be making up songs in my head. I was a creative kid, and music was something that really stuck with me.”
Evann’s parents kept the sounds of ’90s hip-hop and R&B, as well as the rock music of the 1970s, in the air but McIntosh counts Prince as her biggest influence. “I discovered Prince in sixth grade, the year that he passed, which was tough. It totally changed my creative process. He’s my idol.”
MOJO was practically in the works since she was nine years old when she picked up a guitar. At that time she was also starting to put the ideas in her head to paper, spending hours recording rough drafts of songs through a USB Yeti microphone in the living room after her family had gone to bed. But it wasn’t until she met producer and now-frequent collaborator Jesty Beatz through Instagram that she figured out how to take her music out of the family room and to the rest of the world: “From there I had somewhere to record the music and take it to the internet,” she states. “I had no idea how to do that stuff coming out of eighth grade.” After the pair collaborated on a string of heat-seeking singles, they moved on to making MOJO a reality, with initial recording taking place during the last three months of the school year and the project wrapped just before its release late last year.
In McIntosh’s words, MOJO is a fully realized expression of youthful perspective that breaks the mold of modern pop: “The whole album has feminine pronouns being used in the place of a love interest.
I wanted to write those songs for the younger audiences to hear, because I think it should be normalized in the pop music you hear today. There’s the skyscraping synths of “Wasting Feelings” and the splashy R&B of “Cumulonimbus,” a personal favorite of McIntosh’s: “It was fun to record, and that’s how I knew it would be great to listen to. It makes you want to dance, even when it’s just me and an acoustic guitar. It slaps.”
Since the release of MOJO, McIntosh has conquered TikTok and streaming services, and she’s already hard at work on her next project—but ultimately, she wants to stay true to herself through her music and make the world a better, more empathetic place. “We’re moving towards a more open-minded society,” she ruminates, “but it’s still really hard to do that due to the world that we live in and all the restrictions that we have. There’s so many tendencies that push away creativity. It’s completely okay to be yourself.”