Eva Ullmann reflects on transition from youth to adulthood through her new album

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Photo courtesy of Eva Ullmann

‘Youth’ is Ullmann’s most recent album.

Lily Elwood, news correspondent

A six-song EP, an album on the way, over 30,000 followers on TikTok — and she’s only 20 years old. 

Eva Ullmann, a second-year music industry major from a small town in Florida, has goals of becoming a household name in the music industry.

“I write songs as my escape and to make me feel better. And if I can make other people feel better too, how cool is that?” Ullmann said. “If people can listen to my song enough to love it and relate to it and want to come see me perform, that’d be my dream.”

Ullmann’s passion for singing grew and turned into a professional aspiration as she entered high school. At 17 years old, she began writing the songs for her EP “Youth” shortly after a breakup and at the beginning of a new relationship. The first song she wrote for the EP was “The River,” which was about being “young and stupid in love,” she said. 

“I think it’s the coolest one. The beat and the drums used for this one were so cool,” said Ullmann about her Taylor Swift-esque song. “I don’t even live near a river. I don’t know why I wrote it, but it’s catchy.”

Ullmann said the title track “Youth” was the most difficult one for her to write. For a while, she found herself coming up with nothing as she attempted to write the title track. But when she finally did, the lyrics came to her quickly. 

“Sometimes, like, I feel like when I write a song, it doesn’t even come from me and that’s like the best type of song,” she said. “It funnels through me.” 

The song perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be in high school and in love, and it is one of those songs that an audience can’t help but clap along to.

Ullmann said one of the most emotionally challenging songs she has ever written is “Devil’s Blood,” which talks about her mother’s alcoholism. 

“There were a lot of times where I would be the parent in the household,” Ullmann said. “I was alone for all of high school, and I had to take care of [my mom] a lot.” 

Her parents divorced when she was eight. As the youngest of three children, she was left to her own devices when her brother and sister left for college. 

“Devil’s Blood” was something she said she played one day at her stepmother’s piano, with just three short verses. After she was done, she closed her notebook and didn’t open it again until she decided that the EP needed a more vulnerable piano song. 

Ullmann’s friend, fellow music industry major and second-year Sadie Parker finds that Ullmann’s personality shines through her music.

“Eva is such a sweetheart. She’s super genuine. I think that shows in her music,” Parker said. “She’s able to be fun and vulnerable, which is an amazing duality that not all artists can accomplish. I really think she’s Ariana Grande 2.0.” 

The summer she turned 18, Ullmann flew to Los Angeles to record her first EP. Tim Kobza,  who taught her sister’s pop music class at the University of Southern California, heard Ullmann sing at her sister’s request, loved her voice and offered to help her record the mini-album. A year later, he sent her the finished songs, and she uploaded them through Distrokid to streaming services. From that moment on, her career as a musician was officially born. 

As she works towards bigger goals, Ullmann said being at Northeastern has helped her to learn that “collaboration is key.” 

“Having so many like-minded people around me … was a little bit intimidating,” Ullmann said. “Everyone has different talents. But you can be like, ‘I don’t know how to do this,’ and someone is always like, ‘Hey, you want to collab together?’ It’s just like such a creative environment.”

Ciara McKay, a second-year music industry major and another of Ullmann’s friends, said she loves collaborating with Eva. 

“I’ve written with Eva before and she has such a natural talent for catchy melodies and powerful lyrics,” McKay said. “Her voice is so insane and I know she’s going to be successful because of how honest and personal her music is, and she’s so passionate about her career.” 

Along with her parents as her biggest supporters, Ullmann said her support system of friends has helped her build confidence about her work and pushes her to be better every day. At the same time, her roommate and fellow music industry major, second-year Andrea Guzman, said that Ullmann inspires her. 

Originally intimidated by Ullmann, who had already released her pop EP in 2019, Guzman said, “She knew what she wanted, and she did it. And that’s something I’ve always struggled with — fear of failure… I thought what she did was really cool.” 

This past summer, Ullmann found a platform for herself on the video-sharing app TikTok, gaining about 25,000 followers in July. She now has around 31,000 followers total. 

She started posting videos of herself on TikTok as part of a series where she planned to sing a cover of a song each day until she got discovered for her talents.

In her first viral video in July, she sang “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera. The video racked up about 38,600 likes and 304,500 views.

On day five of her series, she posted a video of her singing “Rise Up” by Andra Day which got a whopping 97,700 likes and 630,300 views, her most popular video to date. The video ended up on many of her friends’ “For You” pages on TikTok, which features curated videos for users based on their interests.

Things have slowed down since the summer, but Ullmann hopes to get more attention on her TikTok page once she starts teasing songs for her next project, “Woman,” a 10-to-14-song album. 

“I liked the idea of it going from ‘Youth’ to ‘Woman,’” she said. 

When she returned home from her semester in Italy last fall, she wrote the first song for the album, title track “Woman.” She has also written a second song containing themes of social justice. Although she said she was initially nervous about publishing a politically-oriented composition, Ullmann posted a teaser for the new piece which she hopes to release in January as President Trump leaves office.

“I’d rather be on the right side of history in my eyes than worry about losing a couple hundred followers over it,” she said.

Though many of the songs off her 2019 EP deal with love and relationships, she plans to stray away from the topic on her upcoming album.

“I want the only love song on my album to be a love song to myself, because I’m finally learning to love myself,” she said. 

Despite the heavy competition in the music industry and the myriad of challenges artists face, Ullmann said she is determined to persevere.

“I’m pretty sure I was put on this planet to do music,” Ullmann said. “I think I would be letting myself down if I didn’t even try.” 

This story was updated at 10:36 p.m. Dec. 9 to better reflect Ullmann’s relationship with her family.