Evangeline Elder on Amplifying Small Biz, BIPOC Efforts in Music

Plus, what musicians should ask themselves before working with brands

Evangeline Elder leads with integrity and continues to do game-changing work for rising and global acts, with inclusivity at the helm of her work. As the co-founder of Women Sound Off, senior director of brand partnerships at Roc Nation and founder of All Angles Agency, she's building safe spaces for creatives across sectors within and outside music.

The Oakland native got her start as the founder of Rehab Online Magazine in the early to mid-2010s. After establishing an ear for emerging talent, she moved onto artist management and formed All Angles. Evangeline just finished a three-year role as director of brand partnerships at global indie label Empire. She's also mentored over 100 women personally under her organization and festival Women Sound Off and brings out 1,400 plus women/creatives every April for WSO Fest.

We caught up with Evangeline for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.

Evangeline, tell us...

Your earliest musical memory.

I grew up on everything my parents played and that's what I remember the most—the Spinners, Rick James, Teena Marie, Jackson 5, the Temptations and more). My mom and dad forced my siblings and me to go to garage sales and sort through crates with them—we had over 1,000 vinyls at some point all stacked and displayed in our den. My earliest musical memory was really my parents' constant curation of classic Black music.

Your first concert.

The Scream tour. And I honestly screamed so much. I was so excited to be there and I felt like a real teenager. I don't even remember the performances—I just remember how excited my friends and I were.

Your favorite bands/musicians.

Robert Glasper. I can listen to his music all day. His work is so soothing and he's very collaborative across his catalog.

SiR. His music is so candid yet open to complete interpretation. He talks a lot about his needs and the nuances of relationships as well. I still relate to almost every song off his 2019 Chasing Summer album—and it's literally 2022.

Cleo Sol. Her music is so damn honest and her vulnerability in her actual vocal performance is stunning. Not to mention her lyrics feel different than most.

Mereba. Her music is incredibly strong, yet incredibly soft. She brings duality, vulnerability and grit to anything she touches.

How you get your music these days.

I largely surf through related artists on Apple Music and Spotify and I browse catalogs. I love doing my own deep dives and searching the related artists of obscure artists as well. I update and create my own playlists on a weekly basis.

Your favorite place to see a concert.

I'm based in NYC currently, but I grew up and lived in Oakland most of my life. I love the New Parish in Oakland and Cafe Du Nord or Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. I like small and intimate venues with easy bar access.

Your favorite music video.

I don't have a favorite music video right now but I have been playing the hell out of Jazmine Sullivan's Tiny Desk concert from 2021.

A recent project you're proud of.

I recently worked on the Alicia Keys KEYS rollout and did a partnership with DoorDash to support six local LA womxn/Black-owned businesses in honor of her album release. I love supporting small biz efforts and amplifying work from BIPOC communities. This is something I prioritize on a daily basis.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

I loved the Naomi Osaka and GoDaddy campaign that rolled out a few months ago. I was also a fan of the Lil Nas X & Elton John campaign that Uber Eats did. Lastly, I really enjoy everything that Jaden Smith and New Balance are doing together—the creative is awesome on that entire product rollout. I'm loving the unexpected collabs and themes with talent overall in the industry right now.

How musicians should approach working with brands.

I strongly believe musicians should first decide if they want to have a brand outside of creating music. If the answer is yes, they should start sharing the non-music things that inspire them across digital platforms and showing more of their hobbies/life. They should start building community with their fans outside of just sharing music by offering fan experiences and ways to connect outside of music. That is the first step and essential to positioning yourself to work with brands. I strongly believe in attracting brands, in addition to artists and management reaching out to brands.

How brands should approach working with musicians.

Brands must deeply understand the power and essence of music, and why it moves consumers. Musicians have influence, but they're not necessarily traditional influencers or content creators. I suggest brands work with artists to identify mutual areas of interest—which will move the musician far more than a pre-made list of deliverables that the brand may need. The best artist-brand partnerships come from joint brainstorms and really being open to ways the artist wants to interact with the brand.

What music can do that nothing else can.

Music transports you to a different place. A song or sound can take you back to a specific memory immediately. The ability to zone out, go somewhere else mentally and travel to a moment is something that belongs to music.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.

I'd be somewhere remote writing books. I love to write and have plans to be an author when the time feels right. I am constantly in conversation with myself. Sometimes I feel like a crazy lady but I have so many books already written in my head.

Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder and a contributor to Muse by Clio.

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