Kellylee Evans has tackled everything from jazz to R&B and pop. Evans enters the soulful pop territory with Come On, an album about love and life that speaks on two (nearly career-ending) accidents. It combines an effervescent Motown feel with traces of psychedelia. Evans will be performing for free at Harbourfront Centre’s multidisciplinary arts festival BRAVE: Secret Lives, Second Chances on Saturday, July 20. The festival is a fresh and daring examination on what it means to be “brave” and to push boundaries. See the full schedule here.

We chatted with her this week.

SDTC: Describe your dream vacation scenario.

KE: I grew with a mom who didn’t vacation. She’d have “time off.” We would hang around Toronto and go to the park, the Ex, shopping, watch TV. When she didn’t work, she did things you do when you’re not working. So the concept of a vacation for me is something that I definitely live vicariously through others. And the dream vacation that I have come up with in my head definitely involves a trip to Maui. I have been dreaming about going to Hawaii since I was little, watching those Elvis in Hawaii movies. I don’t even have a plan of what to do when I get there. I have a sense I’ll hang around, go to the beach or a park, go to a fair, shop, and watch TV.

What is commanding a lot of attention in your life lately?

I am trying to disengage from my basketball obsession, which has captured me for the last eighteen months. I went from not knowing anything at all to knowing a bit too much.

What have you learned about yourself in the past year?

I’ve learnt that I need and crave structure. I used to think that I wanted to just be free to create and be, but the structure of a good plan, a schedule, an itinerary, a program of study, really helps give me the framework within which to create. It’s a beautiful thing.

What is a fun little-known fact about you?

I love to learn languages. I don’t know if that’s a “fun” fact for someone who isn’t into that, or if it’s little-known, as I will talk anyone’s ear off about adult language learning. But it is a fact.

What book/film/show have you connected with recently, and what about it appeals to you?

My complete basketball obsession has displaced all memory of any other entertainment in which I have partaken within the last eighteen months. I can’t remember anything that moved me more than watching the Raptors this past season. Is that wrong?

What’s the worst piece of career/life advice you’ve been given?

“You’re interested in too many different things. You should focus. Pick one thing.” Nope.

What is your motto at the moment?

Is it okay to steal someone else’s? If so, then I’ll take the motto of this week for me, a callout to other procrastinators, wherever you may be: JUST DO IT.

Any plans for the summer?

I plan to take the month of August OFF (shoutout to my mom). Gonna see what this vacation business is all about. There will be lots of hanging out, parks, fairs, and watching TV.

What are the qualities you like most about your parents?

I like that my mom was such a laugher and a smiler. I like that my dad is such a dreamer. (P.S. Thanks for this question. I love looking for positive attributes, and I don’t often do that for my parents).

Rewind five years. What advice would you give yourself?

DON’T FOCUS. Live and love everything!

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I’m still here. I keep choosing to be here every day.

What childhood memory makes you laugh out loud?

I get a chuckle out of memories of my mom calling me Pepe. I think it stood for Pepé Le Pew from the Looney Tunes cartoons, but she never did explain the connection. She was, however, the single mom who changed all my diapers, so that could have been the inspiration.

What unnecessary object would you love to own?

A Dodge Challenger.

What tip, technique or hack has made your life better in the past year?

No sugar.

What issue do you wish people took more seriously?


What outfit makes you feel the most you?

Anything machine-washable, comfy and in black.

Who/what has surprised you lately, and how?

The growth of my three children (ages twelve, fifteen and eighteen) surprises me. Every so often, I focus in on them and it seems like so many changes have happened. It’s amazing.

When you look back on your life, are you at where you thought you’d be by now? Why or why not?

When I think on this question, I realize that I didn’t really have a plan for this particular stage in my life. I feel content with where I am and how things are going. I’m happy to be moving forward, wherever that movement will lead.