I wish someone would have told me it takes years to become an overnight success. There are exceptions to the rule, but this is an industry of relationships and it takes authentic connection and persistence to build anything worth having. Be ready for the long haul, and don’t be sold on the overnight success story.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing evrYwhr.
Grammy award-winning songwriter, singer, spoken wordsmith, and producer are accurate nouns when touting the artist known as evrYwhr (pronounced Everywhere), but ‘music visionary’ may be a more complete and veracious term. His music is an eclectic mix of positive, uplifting R&B/Pop with a cinematic-orchestral feel.
evrYwhr (birth name Michael Jefferson) was born and raised in Port Huron, Michigan to a loving working-class family helmed by parents bonded by a 40+ year marriage. evrYwhr’s love and obsession for all things music began at the age of 5 while sitting next to his dad on the family sofa listening to old Stax and Motown records. In addition, he would engulf himself in the sounds of artists like Curtis Mayfield, Michael Jackson, and New Edition. By age 9, evrYwhr began singing, and at 14 scribed his first song.
He earned a degree in Sales & Business Marketing while attending Western Michigan University, but his true desire was to become a successful songwriter and recording artist. In 2010, he made a bold move to Los Angeles. “If you’re gonna work, you have to be at the office,” he says. “The move was the biggest decision I ever made because I knew no one in Los Angeles, and I would truly be on my own.”
evrYwhr wasted no time getting acclimated in the “City of Angels” and networking his way into collaborating with emerging pop artists like Leona Lewis, Mila J, and Aaron Carter. It wasn’t long before he co-wrote two songs entitled “Confessions” and “Violence” for Gospel rapper Lecrae’s 2013 Grammy-winning album Gravity.
LA not only brought success to his craft but the birth of his son, Zion, and Freedom Love Tribe Gang. FLTG is a posse of open-minded, high vibrating souls manifesting love and peace.
evrYwhr released his empowering single “Letter to the White House” on October 16, 2020, which received critical acclaim and support from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, iHeartRadio. The song went on to serve as an anthem for numerous voting campaigns surrounding the 2020 US Presidential Election. Additionally, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, he has partnered with the Recording Academy to donate a percentage of the song’s royalty proceeds to Music Cares’ initiative to support struggling artists affected by the pandemic.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Port Huron, MI under the care of my mom and dad; we had a lot of love in my household. I was introduced to my adoration for music as a baby being taught church songs and was exposed to the soul era of the 1960s and 70s. Music was and still is a way of connection for me.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up playing ice hockey, and at around 9 years old I remember singing songs all the way to and from our travel games to other cities; it was around that age when I started getting positive feedback from family and knew I was developing a beautiful relationship with music. Then, through my teens, friends would often ask me to pretend I was them and sing songs over the phone to girls they liked. I’ve always connected deeply with songs, and when I realized others could benefit from my relationship with music it gave me more incentive to follow my dreams.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The first time I went viral was for singing a Jonas Brothers cover of “Give Love A Try”. I remember hearing the song for the first time on a radio station my morning alarm was set to and I instantly fell in love. I recorded the cover that day and posted it to YouTube. The next morning I woke up to my phone vibrating with notifications like crazy and in less than 24 hours I had over 35,000 views with thousands of likes and comments. I later came to find out that the Jonas Brothers’ dad “Papa Jonas’ had posted my cover on his Twitter and their fans went nuts over my rendition.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I fell off of a stage while performing at an Apollo Night in college; then as I was climbing back up onto the platform, I was swiftly booed by the crowd as my friend (who was the hired sandman) shooed me back off stage. In the end, I was proud that I got back up and didn’t allow the defeat to break me at the moment, and I’ve kept the conscious heart of resilience ever since. We all fall in life, but it’s our choice to get back up.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
First; I’m working on myself as a human. I continue to nurture my habits to attract what I truly desire in this life instead of allowing my programming to dictate the reality created for me. I’m also excited by the music I’m creating for my upcoming project; the concepts have taken me on a rollercoaster ride through what it means to be liberated in different areas of life.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
- People are empowered by seeing reflections of themselves in the media; whether it be color, religion, sexual orientation, sense of humor, etc. it all has a place in nurturing the growth of society.
- Lack of representation in film and television due to conscious omission of specific people is a form of oppression and doesn’t help in contributing to greater understanding and love.
- I believe cultural inclusion and strategies to enhance diversity also contribute to more
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone would have told me it takes years to become an overnight success. There are exceptions to the rule, but this is an industry of relationships and it takes authentic connection and persistence to build anything worth having. Be ready for the long haul, and don’t be sold on the overnight success story.
- The songs you write will pave the way for your career…write from a place that resonates with your authenticity. If you’re writing songs about gang activity you’d better be about that life because that’s what you’re attracting. Your vibe attracts your tribe.
- Know your vision so you don’t lose sight as different opportunities arise. There are plenty of pathways to success, but if you’re not in alignment with your purpose you could end up at a destination that falls outside of the desires of your heart.
- Make sure to stay connected to friends and family outside of the industry. A lot of the relationships we make in this line of work can be mistaken for being deeper than what they actually are, when in some cases if you’re not useful to someone in forwarding their career they have no use for you in their life. Stay connected to the ones who love you for you.
- Show up early to be on time. Don’t let the illusion of fashionably late people make it seem like that behavior makes you cool. Show up on time for work to show integrity for yourself and respect for others’ time.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Sleep is our friend; team no sleep isn’t necessary for success like some would like you to believe. Having healthy boundaries with workloads and valuing your time (both work and personal) will allow less opportunity for burnout and will enhance creativity. Also, the power of saying ‘no’ is beautiful; be open, but also learn what opportunities are in alignment with your vision and guard your energy with strategic yes’.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I founded the Freedom Lovetribe Gang with principles of self-love, connection to God, community on a global scale and awareness of our oneness. It’s doing an amazing job of bridging the gap of connection in a world still adjusting to one another as we ride out this pandemic.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
God. I’m thankful to God for bringing the countless people in my life who assisted me in getting to where I am. It takes a village, and God is still guiding me into alignment with those meant to help grow me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Let go & receive.” At times in our life, we get caught up attempting to hold on to old traumas, relationships, materialistic things and our hands become too full to receive new. Sometimes we need to let go of what no longer serves us in order to acquire new tools for our existence in the present moment.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Barack Obama. I want to know how he prepared himself to take up such an enormous calling on his life and handled it with so much grace under the close watch of the public eye.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!