Three special artists were chosen to open on select dates of Beyoncé’s Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. The Pepsi Pulse Opening Acts Series offers a premiere, inside view of the international music scene through their eyes. Each featured artist gives a unique portrait of the triumphs, challenges and creative processes that made them the ideal opening acts for the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.
Eva Simons’ infectious energy and razor-sharp ear for the perfect hook have made her one of the most sought after singer/songwriters in dance music today. The Dutch musician spent the better part of last year touring with LMFAO. She is known for working with artists like Afrojack and will.i.am. and has Kanye West in her fan base. One year after releasing the chart-topping single “I Don’t Like You,” off her debut studio album EVA-LUTION, Simons joined Beyoncé on stage during Mrs. Carter Show World Tour at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.
We had a chance to sit down with Simons and discuss her experience working with Beyoncé, life on the road and what she has planned in the coming year. Read the full interview below.
You just had the opportunity to open for Beyoncé’s Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Take us back to the moment you performed with her, what was on your mind right before the curtains rose to thousands of screaming fans in Amsterdam?
It was very exciting. You could tell the people were ready for some good entertainment, and to open up for Beyoncé is of course extremely cool. I felt the energy of crowd. Man, I had such a good time throughout my whole performance. Yes, it was a great experience!
How did opening for someone like Beyoncé compare to shows you’ve done in the past? What part of the experience surprised you the most?
Every show is different. But one thing stays the same and that is that I am always very excited to give a good show with lots of energy and positivity. What surprised me the most is that a lot of people knew my songs and were having a great time! Even though I am an up and coming artist, I feel like they get me and it feels great to be so supported by the people and fans.
Tell us about the ways you prepare for a show like that, there must be a lot of energy that goes into getting yourself ready physically, mentally and emotionally?
It’s a lot that you don’t see that goes on behind the scenes. Dance rehearsals, picking out the songs, changing the songs from remixing them or changing bits and pieces. Making the visuals for my show which I do all myself, also I have to be in shape to sing and dance and run that stage. My schedule can be crazy sometimes, but it is very satisfying to see that those bits make a great show and make me a better artist.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from Beyoncé, either directly or by virtue of the experience itself?
I think Beyoncé is a great artist. She works really hard and shows that when you have a winner’s mentality and believe in yourself that you can achieve great things. Besides a hard working person, she is also very kind and very humble. I love that about her.
You’re no stranger to life on the road—you also toured with LMFAO last year and have performed all over the world. What do you miss the most about home while you’re on the road? What’s the first thing you do when you get back?
I miss my Mom and Sidney [Samson] and my doggy that is 8 years old. So happy that there are things like Skype and WhatsApp to keep me connected to them. I love technology. The first thing I do when I get back is wash my clothes and clean up my suitcases. I want everything to be clean ASAP, I really dislike mess.
Beyond the immediate purpose of fueling a crowded floor, what does dance music mean to you? Why is it important to make the kind of music you do?
It’s not important. It’s fun. It makes me feel good, and when I feel good, that energy will connect to the crowd and make them feel good. I really just do what I want to do.
You have a very diverse musical background, your father was a pianist, your mother a vocalist and your grandfather a noted accordion player—what was it like growing up in a household filled with so many different kinds of music? How did it shape you as an artist in the early stages and how does it play into the musician you’ve become?
It was great! But it wasn’t like we were all making music in the house all the time hahaha. My parents were and are very successful musicians who had great projects. They were working most of the time, so when they came home, it was time to relax for them. I also saw that side as well. That hard work will get you somewhere and that it isn’t always fun and pleasure. Most of the time it is focus, eat well, sleep well, practice your instrument, believe, and GO AND GET IT!
We know you’re an accomplished pianist as well, do you play any other instruments, the accordion perhaps? How do those skills affect your composition process?
When I was young I was always very interested in playing instruments. I played the bass, drums, conga, trumpet and piano, but piano was my first love and I started to really practice the piano so that I could become really good at playing it. And so I did. When I write a song, sometimes I will start writing on a beat I get from producers all over the world, and sometimes I start writing on the piano. It is nice to be able to play any chord progression I want or melody on the piano to make my song more interesting. I wrote one of my most beautiful ballads on the piano.
Do you remember the first song you ever sang on stage? Tell us about the memory?
I think the first song I performed in front of a crowd was “Lambada.” I think I was 5 years old. My mom got me this cute Hawaiian outfit which I loved, loved, loved. It was an open night at my dance school and everybody was excited to sing their song. When it was my time to get on stage I remember not being nervous at all. All I wanted to do is get on that stage and entertain. I still remember all the smiling faces and the applause I got. Magical.
What can we expect in the coming year? An album, more tours, more collaborations?
I am touring all the time, all over the world and I love it. Every day I have to pinch myself that I am able to do what I do everyday. Right now I am working on new material. Even when I am on the road. I have more than a hundred songs right now that I wrote this year together with my team. It’s time to make a pick and release my album. It is time.