With down-to-earth commentary, a nostalgic setlist, and soothing vocals accompanying her tiny brown ukulele, Evie Tansley, ArtSci ’25, was a breath of fresh air.
On Nov. 13, The Journal hosted its first female performer for Live at the Journal in the newsroom. While only a hobbyist musician, Tansley performed like a professional. She sang four songs, all of which showcased her immense musical capability.
In crafting her setlist, Tansley worked with her friends and housemates to ensure the song selections would bring nostalgia when reflecting on her performance.
“The theme of nostalgia played a really big role in all of my songs. We had a lot of fun developing [the setlist] and choosing the songs and that’s nostalgic. [It’s] something we can look back on,” Tansley said in an interview with The Journal.
To set the stage, Tansley sang “I Don’t Know You Like I Used To” by mercury. To justify her choice in opener, Tansley offered relatability for audiences, saying she picked this song because she’s “in a bit of a man-hater phase right now.”
In this piece, Tansley showcased her upper register with a song that spoke to introspection in a romantic relationship.
Making her wholesome demeanor evident during a round of applause, Tansley shyly looked into the audience as she finished the last few strums of the ukulele to complete the song.
In between songs, Tansley told the audience she was completely self-taught ukulele player. “Riptide” by Vance Joy was a memorable song for Tansley because she played the song while learning how to play.
“I mostly played ‘Riptide’ and any other four chord songs for the first two years and slowly I was able to build on it,” she said. “I’ll do open mic nights sometimes; I’ll do that occasionally but it’s not a regular thing. I do music entirely as a hobby, so family events I’ll be singing and playing stuff but not normally at school.”
Next, Tansley performed “I Used To Be Fun” by Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers.
Known among Tansley’s friends as “the car song,” Tansley picked up the pace with this song. Though the ukulele, which turns nearly every song regardless of genre, into a soft beautiful indie piece, Tansley made her performance feel energetic.
Tansley spoke to the importance of music as a language, and the relationship she has with music in her life.
“People use music to communicate and speak and you know, show their feelings. It’s so important. Specifically for me, my whole family has been into music, we’re very musical and we use it as a method to create community in the family.”
To set the mood, Tansley prompted audience members to imagine themselves at a dinner party on a cruise. She then began to sing “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” by Frankie Valli.
Tansley opted for a slowed version of the song, turning it into a softer, more beautiful ballad than it already was. While Tansley’s performance didn’t offer Heath Ledger dancing on bleachers, which I often associate with this song, it had audience members with their jaws agape. Her cover was mesmerizing.
When Tansley performed “Fault Line” by Sophia Holohan as her last song, she told the audience she couldn’t get out of her head.
The acoustic song brings autumn stylings with lyrics about “finding solace in the place between.” The song explores themes of self-discovery and acceptance.
Following the song, Tansley said live music is important in creating a feeling of togetherness while coexisting and experiencing the same song with others.
“I’m playing a song, but everyone has their own connection to that song, it makes them all feel their own individual way. Live music creates the opportunity for that, whereas when you’re alone you can’t experience it with people.”
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