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Evin Gibson reaches toward masses through MySpace

by Jordan Green

Below the radar of ‘“American Idol,’” Britney and R. Kelly, multitudes of artists struggle in the rich loam of the substrata to break out of obscurity. Before most people have ever heard of them these prospective stars must navigate a thicket of independent producers and promoters, who are also striving to come into their own by attaching themselves to the right talent.

Such a one is Evin Gibson, a Greensboro call center employee for Cingular Wireless. On top of the demands of a full-time job and his responsibilities as the father of an 11-month-old son, Gibson records, writes songs, rehearses with a band and performs. His music and media package emanates from a MySpace account, but he’s still wrangling the nettlesome details of how to effectively deliver a full-length recording to his listening public.

By dint of talent, hard work and sheer force of personality he hopes to prevail.

‘“I used to have a really hard time believing in myself,’” he says, cradling a cup of lemon zinger tea at Tate Street Coffee House recently. ‘“It’s when I realized that’s what makes me good’… when I go home and hear my nieces and nephews singing my songs’… people tell me, ‘You can really do this.’ I notice that all the artists that are really big are the ones that stand out.’”

Gibson stands out too.

The silky voice that propels the new MySpace single ‘“You Worked It Out’” over ‘“What’s Going On’”-era Marvin Gaye-style instrumentation is embodied in the person of this 25-year-old man, slight of stature, with boundless optimism and a positive attitude. He’s dressed modestly in a denim jacket and plain red T-shirt with cornrows laid neatly back on his head that frame a freckled face with a light beard. He speaks in an impossibly soft and delicate voice.

On this rainy morning he’s talking about getting ready for an afternoon drive up to Richmond, Va. to tape a cable television show. Gibson is currently working with Greensboro-based Doggeye Entertainment, a music promotion company that also represents Gate City Boyz and Rawdeezel, to get his name out. He has completed a full album, called Life in E-Vision.

‘“The release has been pushed back,’” Gibson says, shrugging. ‘“It was going to be released this summer, but it was pushed back to September.’”

The logistics of the planned release remain somewhat vague, with roles and expectations left in an ambiguous gray zone.

‘“I’m working with Doggeye Entertainment,’” Gibson says. ‘“Several labels are interested in me. Some investors have expressed interest.’”

He says he might sign with a label, but probably won’t.

‘“I prefer to do it independently,’” he says. ‘“It makes you work harder.’”

Some of the tracks were produced by Track Force Productions, an entity propelled by a man Gibson knows only as ‘“Q.’”

The themes of the embattled record are somewhat clearer than the production process.

‘“I think love is life,’” Gibson says. ‘“I’m going through different looks in life. In the album I play a guy that’s hurt someone, someone that’s been hurt, and a guy that just wants to have fun. I didn’t really write it about my life. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s me.’”

Later, he’ll say, ‘“When you deal with love and life you can’t go wrong if you come correctly. I have a song called ‘Secret Lover’ about this lady that’s having an affair with me. There’s a song called ‘Only Want to Be With You’ that’s actually dealing with addiction. They’re intimate songs. There’s a song called ‘Magic Ride to Heaven’ that’s about’…’” ‘— he smiles and winks ‘— ‘“very nice. I’ve got a song about just having a cool day by myself.’”

It’s been a long journey up from Manning, SC, where Gibson started out singing in the church with his sister. He was studying computers at Central Carolina Technical College when he got the itch to seek his destiny.

‘“I used to always make recordings at home,’” he says. ‘“One of my friends invited me to move to Gary [Ind.] and make some music. And that didn’t work out so well.’” He looks away, as if privately reliving the details of the unfruitful detour.

Then he moved to Durham and started hitting the open mic events. It was there that he got involved with Raleigh’s Dr. Love Theater Group, leading to a role as Temptations singer Eddie Kendrick in ‘“Legends of Motown.’” He also started writing songs for other artists at Dymond Productions, most of which, he says, have been recorded as demos.

These days Gibson is nurturing his music career in its infancy by seizing small opportunities.

‘“I’m going to be headlining the Beautiful Black Woman Festival,’” he says. ‘“I’m working out some covers, from ‘Never Too Much’ by Luther Vandross, to Earth Wind and Fire, and even some John Legend. I’ve got a full band and dancers. Everybody’s so nervous, but I’m pulling it together so it will be great for everybody.’”

To comment on this story, e-mail Jordan Green at jordan@yesweekly.com

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