When Evann McIntosh was nine years old, she picked up a guitar and started working on her debut album. Sure, it would take some years before it would actually get recorded, but she was already coordinating the arrangements in her head and putting pen to paper long after her family went to bed.
After connecting with producer Jesty Beatz via Instagram years later, McIntosh had an outlet out of her DIY-family studio and into the real world of music. “From there I had somewhere to record the music and take it to the internet,” shares McIntosh. “I had no idea how to do that stuff coming out of eighth grade.”
Still making up songs in her head, McIntosh’s ambition eventually spilled out into her 2019 debut MOJO, and latest single, the empowered “WIYULD.” Originally recorded in McIntosh’s bedroom using GarageBand, the sixteen-year-old Kansas-based artist says “WIYULD” was a response to grown women feeling intimidated by younger feminine energy with lyrics like “I just can’t be modest / I’m a goddess draped in velvet / It’s not my fault I’m super duper fly / I just can’t help it.”
“‘WIYULD’ is a song that I made because I thought this idea that old folks have of who I am was a brilliant character,” shares McIntosh, “so I had to make a song in that narrative.” The animated video, directed by the Cartoon Network’s Janice Chun, is a Flintstones-inspired, pastel-colored world with McIntosh as Pebbles with her very own Dino. Featuring rapper Lil Mop, “WIYULD” showcases McIntosh’s loner-like mentality, roaming on her own.
Steadily drifting through hip-hop beats and McIntosh’s melting vocals, “WIYULD” is a confident anthem encouraging women with big brains, closing out on “You’re so overconfident and I’m intimated / Well, How else would you expect my big, fat, juicy brain to fit into my skull? / I have to have a bit of a nugget as you can understand.”
Raised on ’90s hip-hop and ’70s classic rock, McIntosh says she always gravitated toward Prince. “I discovered Prince in sixth grade, the year that he passed, which was tough,” she says. “It totally changed my creative process. He’s my idol.”
McIntosh’s honest, raw songwriting is getting attention. Earlier this year, Mom + Pop Records—home of Sleater-Kinney, Courtney Barnett, and Sleigh Bells—added her to their roster after the teen amassed more than twenty million streams of her R&B lovelorn tale,“What Dreams Are Made Of.” (She’s even tapped into TikTok with one-and-a-half million likes and fifty million views.)
Working with Beatz, McIntosh recorded MOJO during her last three months of school before its release in late 2019. MOJO is full of feminine pronouns used in the place of a love interest, says McIntosh.
“I wanted to write those songs for the younger audiences to hear, because I think it should be normalized in the pop music you hear today,” says McIntosh.” It makes you want to dance, even when it’s just me and an acoustic guitar. It slaps.”