The Girls Behind ‘Evelia’ on Family, Songwriting, and More

Filed under Music Your World on Nov 15 12 by

The talented siblings behind Evelia, from left to right: Caleigh, Shaina, and Zach

Evelia is a band started by three singer-songwriter siblings, Zach, Shaina and Caleigh Williams. These talented musicians were taught by their father, and have been making music together since they were young.

Today, sisters Shaina and Caleigh give You Are readers a sneak peak into their songwriting process, what it’s like to work with siblings, and their favorite songs to perform.

YOU ARE: Tell us about Evelia and how you got your start in the music world.

Shaina: Zach, Caleigh, and I have grown up singing and playing music together. We started singing in church, and our dad was our “coach.” He taught us to harmonize before we could really even read. It was our favorite thing to do—sing together. As we got older, we started writing songs, too. Zach and I went to Greenville College in Illinois, where we got to expand ourselves and perform even more. When we graduated, we were finally able to reunite with our third and necessary member, our sister Caleigh.

Caleigh: As Shaina said, we grew up singing together. The first song I remember all of us singing together was called, “Child of the Father.” I was about 7-years-old. From then on, my dad would help us learn and arrange songs into different parts and harmonies for each of us to sing. We continued to sing together, even when Zach thought it was too embarrassing to sing with his sisters. Eventually that changed, and it’s his favorite thing to do now!

YOU ARE: What is it like working together with your siblings to reach your dream? What challenges and blessings come from that?

Caleigh: Well for one thing, we are definitely not afraid to offend each other! We’re able to be very blunt and honest with each other, which can be a good thing while writing together, because the final product of a song will typically be something we all like. Being the youngest out of the three of us, I’ve always looked up to Zach and Shaina while growing up—as any younger sister would—so I absolutely count it a blessing getting to work with them. We may get in fights or disagreements, but they’re some of my best friends.

Shaina: It’s really an amazing thing. We all pray together when we write and perform. It’s just home as far as comfort goes, too. There’s no one who knows you the way your siblings know you—which can also lend itself to hilarious fights and frustrations with each other. But hey, good songs come from someone saying the wrong thing at the right time!

YOU ARE: Tell us a bit about your songwriting process.

Caleigh: Shaina is insanely talented with her words. She always knows the right thing to say and can write the best lyrics right on the spot. Zach is our guitar-hero—he will compose most of the music. And I’m usually the one coming up with the melodies. To sum it all up, we all basically fill in each other’s weaknesses.

Shaina: I tend to be the lyricist between the three of us. Zach is the music master. He takes our music and makes it beautiful. Sometimes he completely rewrites it. If Caleigh or I finish a song, we simply have to hand it over to Zach to pull the right strings, and within moments, it’s perfect. Caleigh is an incredible melodicist. She rewrites melodies when they’re not quite right. As far as what comes first, the melody, the music or the words, [it] depends on the day, and who’s inspired. We all trade what we do, too. Sometimes I’ll be the one with a melody, and Caleigh has words. Sometimes Zach has the hook, and Caleigh writes the music. It’s give and take, and we all trade around.

YOU ARE: What do you draw inspiration from when creating your music?

Caleigh: We draw inspiration from a variety of artists, ranging from R&B, to folk or country. Usually, the writing of a song will stem from a specific experience or frustration we are having—just life!

Shaina: We draw inspiration from so many things. I love rap and hip hop. Caleigh loves indie music. Zach loves the masters like Coldplay and U2, and he also likes country. When you hear our music, there are times you can hear several different influences.

We grab inspiration from life. Evelia means, “life”, and we write about life. For me personally, I feel like a life event can’t be official until I wrote something about it. Our songs are our journals, but there’s no punishment for someone to take a peek.

YOU ARE: What is your favorite song to perform and why?

Caleigh: My favorite would have to be one that we just finished called, “Moment in Time”. It’s fun because, unlike some of our other songs, Shaina and I share the lead vocals. The song has so much emotion and just a groovin’ feel. I have to use that word cause it’s the only one that truly describes it! You just have to dance to it.

Shaina: My favorite song to perform is, “Too Much.” I remember writing this song when I was just fuming. I was at Greenville College, and I just liked this guy so much. It was the most satisfying song to write, right in the perfect part of my range that felt like I was screaming, but still singing. When I was finished writing it, it felt like I had a good long cry, but all I’d been doing was singing. Now that the same guy is my fiancé, it’s just a fun song to sing. It just feels good to sing, and is so much fun to play.

YOU ARE: What are a few of your personal favorite bands/musicians and why?

Caleigh: Gotye—to put it simply, he’s just a genius. Tristan Prettyman and Missy Higgins—a couple of my vocal influences. My latest obsessions include Foster The People, Chairlift, and Mumford and Sons.

Shaina: I love the singer-songwriter people like Colbie Calliat and Taylor Swift. I love when people can recreate themselves musically. To me that’s a true artist. I also love Usher and Chris Brown and Jay Sean, Ne yo, Akon—I love groovin. In short, if it sounds good, I love it.

YOU ARE: What makes you feel the most in love with God?

Caleigh: I think when I’m sitting at the piano having my own worship time with God is when I feel the most in love with Him. As a songwriter/musician, there are some things that can only be communicated through music – when I’m at a loss for words and don’t know what to say, a melody line can hold just the right amount of emotion that I need to get out.

Shaina: I feel most in love with God when I remember to share every moment with Him. I love communicating with Him through music. I strongly believe any and every gift or skill God gives someone is to benefit our relationships with Him. Music is a way to communicate. I can’t tell you how many times I set out to write a song, but it just doesn’t come together until God basically turns the song around like He’s the one singing to me. I’m always left at my piano with teary eyes, and a heart so content and in love with Him–the One who would rather write songs to me, than even inspire me to write another one inspired by Him.

Keep up with Evelia

Stay tuned to their Facebook page for upcoming shows!

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Lauren D'Alessandro
As the founder of The You Are Project’s print magazine and blog, Lauren is passionate about developing publications that inspire creativity and action. Lauren is the Editor-in-Chief of You Are REAL and the creator and manager of our website. Her dream is to continue using writing and publications as tools for communicating God’s love to the world. Keep up with her latest endeavors at