cover story Almost Famous July 9, 2019

Evie Irie: The Aussie teen signed by Troy Carter & Republic Records

Evie Irie: The Aussie teen signed by Troy Carter & Republic Records
Image: Supplied / Catie Laffoon

Australian artist Evie Irie has entered the music business surrounded by industry hype.

After signing a worldwide deal with major label , the 16-year-old last week released her debut EP 5 Weeks In LA.

From a young age, the Sydney singer-songwriter started to fall in love with the idea of music and began to play at cafes and restaurants to get stage time.

She also started to write her own material at the age of 12, but being so young meant she was lacking emotional inspiration and experience.

Turning to her older sister as an emotional anchor, she found the stories she needed to draw from.

“My sister was having a really hard time after my family moved with the boys, the bitches, the drama, the teachers and the parties,” Irie tells TMN.

“I had a guitar and she had the stories, so I started writing songs to represent that.”

After getting complacent with school, Irie’s parents encouraged her to follow her heart and take a chance with music.

“All my friends in grade 10 were doing an exchange program and I didn’t want to do that as I didn’t see myself doing anything else in life other than music,” she recalls.

“I wanted to get out of school and do something I enjoyed, so my parents suggested going to Los Angeles for six months instead of doing the exchange.

“Of course, I said yes and that was the beginning of it and we haven’t moved back since.”

Shopping her material around to labels, Irie was able to generate a lot of interest with her mature songwriting and smooth pop vocals. But she was looking for sincerity instead of false promises that cloud the signing process.

Showing the different labels the songs from her debut EP, as well as some unreleased material, Irie says she was hearing “yes” from a lot of executives but was still waiting for the moment her gut and intuition took over.

TMN understands there was a competitive bid between multiple US-based major labels resulting in a sizeable advance, according to sources familiar with the terms.

Choosing to sign with Republic Records, Irie explains that it was CEO Monty Lipman’s sincerity that really resonated with her when compared to the other meetings she took.

“At the end of my meeting with Monty I asked him ‘what will you do for me?’, and he was like ‘I believe in you 100%’ and that’s what I was waiting for.

“I needed someone to just understand the project and understand me, and he did.”

Helping orchestrate a major label signing was her famed mogul-manager who has worked with Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor and Eve.

With only a lawyer and her father on the team at the time, they collectively realised they needed to get someone on board to help guide them.

After meeting with the ecstatic Jeremy Zimmer from United Talent Agency, he introduced Carter to provide some industry advice and try to encourage them to do this project without a record label.

But after meeting Irie, he quickly realised this project was a lot bigger than he imagined and disagreed with Zimmerman, insisting they scout for a label.

At first, Carter went into the meeting and had no intentions on managing Irie. Showing enthusiasm to help get the best deal possible and help find a suitable manager, they instantly had a strong connection.

“I had no idea what he had done in the past, what his role was in any way shape or form and who his connections were. I don’t obsess over that stuff,” she admits.

“I just go into those situations like ‘Hi, I’m here!’. But after he left I was so amazed by him that I searched who he was and instantly freaked out.”

Calling Irie the next day, Carter asked if he could, in fact, manage her.

After the management and label signing to Republic Record, she started to put the final pieces together on her EP and start searching for the right producers to enhance her vision.

Writing her debut single ‘Bitter’ on the piano, she then engaged Andy Seltzer and Casey Smith who produced and co-wrote the song, pushing Irie to get out of her comfort zone and sing in a higher register.

“Putting the outcome of the song aside, I left that session in shock of how confident I felt because I didn’t believe that I could even sing like that,” she says.

Luckily the risk paid off. The song has already received high praise and has gained over 460,000 streams on Spotify in less than two weeks.

With her career in full momentum, Irie is learning to find the balance between being a kid and working in a fast-paced industry. After all, she’s only 16-years-old.

On her days off, Irie spends her time with friends in LA and is constantly on FaceTime with her mates back in Australia.

She notes that she is a very mature person for her age, which is well represented in her lyrics, but she’s trying to find that healthy in-between where she can live a normal kid life.

“Age to me is so confusing because I feel much older than 16. Age is just a number. It’s more about finding and looking after your soul.

“I don’t even know what the term ‘act your age’ means now,” says Irie.

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