Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Grammy Award-Winning Artist evrYwhr Explores Culture Through Music In KevOnStage Studios Docuseries

evrYwhr is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer, producer, and spoken wordsmith. As a purveyor of Psychedelic Afro-R&B, evrYwhr’s music is an eclectic blend of R&B, Afropop, Afrobeats, reggae, and soul. The multi-talented artist is also exercising his love of travel as the host of an Anthony Bourdain-styled show on the KevOnStage platform called Destination evrYwhr.

Destination evrYwhr is a docu-series, which currently has four episodes out now, that beautifully highlights the intersection between culture and music. evrYwhr couples his passion for travel and discovering culture through music to create a sensory-filled, inspirational view of destinations around the world. 

evrYwhr, who is originally from Port Huron, Michigan, travels the world connecting with local musicians to learn about their culture through the sounds that call their region home. 

In addition to his world travels, evrYwhr is still creating vibes on the music front. His latest single, “Roll On Me,” featuring Afrobeats superstar, Patoranking, is a melodic R&B single with 600k views on YouTube. The video was recently filmed in Nigeria.

Travel Noire spoke with evrYwhr to learn about his relationship with travel and the inspiration behind exploring the world through a musical lens.

Grammy award-winning artist evrYwhr on motorbike with beautiful African - evrYwhr is the host of KevOnStage Studio's docuseries, Destination evrYwhr
Photo Credit: Sammy Oguejiofor

Travel Noire: Before we jump into all things travel, can you share a little bit about your background in music?

evrYwhr: I’ve been in music essentially my entire life. I’ve been exposed to music and singing, pretty much, since I came out of the womb, singing songs like ‘Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.’

That kind of speaks to where my foundation comes from. It comes from a God space. It comes from a love space. 

My dad [and I] used to sit on the couch and listen to records. So I was exposed to soul; I was exposed to R&B. 

As I began to explore, because I also grew up playing hockey, I heard different things. I started listening to Nirvana, Bush, rock, and different things along those lines. 

One of the things that started calling out to me – I was doing poetry and singing – so I started writing my own songs.

Writing my own songs allowed me to be able to express not only love and things that I didn’t even know about because I was singing about them in songs that were way beyond my years. I’d start reciting and singing songs like that. But I also got an opportunity to find that it was therapeutic for me to be able to express [myself]. 

It just became something that was a part of me.

What I’ve found out is music connects people.

I got an opportunity to get a Grammy win, and a Dove Award win, with Lecrae, which was impactful. I also worked with Leona Lewis.

I’ve done some television and film. I’ve had the opportunity to work for Kevin Hart, The Wonder Years, and different television, film, and word shows.

I’ve had a really diverse career. I’ve even worked with Dustin Lynch on the country side [of music]. 

I’ve had an opportunity to really spread myself out everywhere, and that kind of brings us back to the name as well. 

TN: That’s a perfect segway into our next question. How did you get to the stage name evrYwhr?

evrYwhr: I’ve always had this desire to seek out culture, to deepen culture, to travel the world, and evrYwhr was a great way to be able to speak those things into existence.

I’m still, now, traveling the world, and instead of pulling my inspiration from everywhere, [such as] somebody’s conversation, I can go to Cambodia. I can go to Al Ain, Dubai, or Trinidad and Tobago.

It’s everywhere. 

TN: You’ve been doing your music artistry for a while but now you have Destination evrYwhr. What was the inspiration for the show? 

evrYwhr: Destination evrYwhr was [initially] filmed in 2015. The inspiration for the film was being able to communicate globally, and have an artist essentially like the Anthony Bourdain of music, right? 

I had the opportunity to experience culture through the universal language of music. As you travel in different spaces, you’re able to speak through music.

I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to a Latin song or a song from somewhere else in the world where maybe you don’t even know the lyrics because it’s a different language, but you can feel it, right?

So, that is a project that Transit Pictures and I put together to bring to life a vision where people are interconnected and it makes the globe a little bit smaller.

TN: Where can people tune in to episodes that are currently available? 

evrYwhr: You’re gonna find Destination evrYwhr exclusively on KevOnStage Studios.

You’ll get a subscription to KevOnStage Studios and you’ll be able to find it there. 

TN: Of the adventures you’ve had on the show so far, what have been some of your favorite moments or destinations that stick with you?

evrYwhr: It was traveling the entire country of Cambodia, knowing the history, which not many people understand. And I’ll give you a brief story.

In the 70s, there was a ruling regime that took the people of Cambodia and separated them. And if you had any influence, whether you were a doctor, a teacher, [or] an artist, you were murdered because you were going to have influence enough to pull people away from the vision of the regime. 

So, I think, two million people lost their lives in that space. 

But [this] left fear in the heart of the people. Battambang was like the Motown of Cambodia, and it was heavily hit. 

Now there’s this resurgence of music coming back and they’re getting a chance to express themselves. Even in the fear of the generations that are before them, they’re expressing themselves.

So now, where are they pulling their inspiration from? 

Being that so many were murdered before them, where are they pulling their strength from? 

Their resilience and all the inspiration that they have. Just the deepening of that, getting the stories of the people, the one-on-ones. 

That was powerful for me.

TN: Throughout your travels, what has been your favorite destination to visit? And why?

evrYwhr: My favorite destination has been Al Ain in Dubai. The reason why is that was the first time my family – me, my mom, my dad, and my sister – traveled abroad. 

That was one of the most monumental moments in my life because I wasn’t raised around people who traveled abroad. That’s one of the reasons why I was so inspired to do it because I hadn’t seen it much. To be able to have my family there was beautiful.

We also got an opportunity to take this safari trail through the desert. Out in the middle of the desert, miles away from any civilization, they had these tents set up.

They turned off all the lights and all you see are the stars and God. You’re just there, it’s vastness. There’s not a light for miles, and it was beautiful. And the only other time I’ve ever experienced something that powerful was going to Joshua Tree, California.

That was just something that was special to me. In the moments when I’m traveling, I’m in search of God. However God wants to show up in that space.

Music artists evrYwhr and Patoranking on the set of the music video Roll on Me
Photo Credit: Sammy Oguejiofor

TN: Can you speak on the influence travel has had on your music career or vice versa?

evrYwhr: A very important thing is, at this moment in time, I’ve had an opportunity to uncover my ancestry. That’s been key in the travel that I’ve been doing and the music that I’ve been creating because it’s allowed me to get to where I stand in the diaspora. 

A lot of the people around me didn’t know where we come from. We just knew back as far as my grandmama comes from Alabama, [but] my ancestry led me to Nigeria. 

[For] my latest creation, I got an opportunity to travel to Lagos, Nigeria. I worked with one of the superstars of Nigeria, Patoranking, and I did a song called Roll On Me. I got an opportunity to work with an extraordinary film crew, Prior Gold Pictures, and it was incredible. 

The five days that I got an opportunity to touch soil on the continent of Africa were so powerful for me. It also made me realize how much I get an opportunity to travel more and deepen my knowledge. 

I visited Victoria Island, Lagos Island, and Lekki, but when you think that those are just cities inside of the state of Lagos, and there are so many other states inside of the country of Nigeria. Then you have all of these other countries, and there are so many people who still haven’t experienced that. 

The music that’s coming out of Africa right now and the music that’s happening where Black American artists are tapping into our heritage and tapping into the sound that’s coming out of Africa. It’s rooted in love.

You hear anybody from Pheelz to Rema to Burna Boy speak about it; they’re creating a bridge across the Atlantic for us to be able to understand the culture and make a connection. 

There’s a welcoming back to the soil of Africa and that’s the most beautiful thing. There’s a lot unfolding right now and I’m excited to see it.

It’s also led me into the Afro-Latin [music scene] because we’re all part of the diaspora. So you’ve got Black people in Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, and all over the place.

We’re tied together, and we get an opportunity to learn. It’s been beautiful to see.

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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