Geelong, Victoria, Australia
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Genres||Adult contemporary, folk, pop rock|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer|
|Labels||Trafalgar, Warner Australia, Universal, Museagency|
Gyan Evans (born ca. 1960, Geelong), who performs as Gyan (pronounced 'Ghee-ahn') is an Australian singer-songwriter and record producer. She began her musical career in the Sydney band Haiku before winning the 1986 grand final in the local version of the TV talent quest, Star Search. This led to a recording contract with Warner, which resulted in her October 1989 debut self-titled album. It peaked in the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart and provided, "Wait" (August), which reached the top 20 on the ARIA Singles Chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1990 she won the Best New Talent category.
Gyan Evans was born in about 1960 and was raised in Geelong. Both her parents were English migrants and Gyan is the youngest of their four children. Her older sister Asakti Evans is also a singer. For secondary education Gyan attended Matthew Flinders Girls High School and, at the age of 17, changed her first name to Gyan: "I went to India ... I joined a weird religious cult and I was given that name by an old man with a long beard". By 1982 Gyan was working in Sydney in a group with musician-composer Anando Bharti and musician-manager Robbie Cameron; they were recording tracks with Geoffrey Stapleton (ex-The Aliens) producing but these were not released. In 1986 Gyan was in a pop group, Haiku, and dropped her last name when competing on the Australian TV version of Star Search, to avoid confusion with the talent quest's host, Greg Evans (no relation). By 1997 both her parents were dead.
After having "struggled for years to notch any attention from record companies" Gyan signed with the Trafalgar Productions label, which was distributed by Warner Australia. By October 1989 she had released her debut self-titled album, which peaked at No. 27 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It was produced by Charles Fisher (1927, Midnight Oil, Hoodoo Gurus, Olivia Newton-John, Radio Birdman). Fisher had seen Gyan's performance on Star Search and they recorded the album at Trafalgar Studios in Annandale. The Canberra Times' Penelope Layland described the album as "patchy but reasonably successful ... [she] has an excellent voice. However, she also has what some of her contemporaries lack and that is a true sense of musical style and an already well-developed song-writing ability".
Ahead of the album in August she released a single, "Wait", which peaked at No. 14 on the ARIA Singles Chart and remained in the top 100 for 25 weeks. It was co-written by Gyan with Stapleton (by then ex-GANGgajang) and Gary Frost of 1927. The single was certified platinum by ARIA. A second single, "It's Alright", was written by Gyan. It reached the top 50 in November. A third single, "Black Wedding Ring" was released in March 1990.
From October 1989 to January the next year Gyan toured Australia to promote the album backed by The Dearly Beloved with Stapleton on guitar and keyboards, Asakti (Gyan's sister) on backing vocals, Hanuman Das on drums, Mark O'Connor on keyboards, Jackie Orszaczky on bass guitar and David Sparks on guitar. Later Peter Willersdorf (ex-Tim Gaze Band) replaced Orszaczky on bass guitar. O'Connor had also worked on the album, co-writing tracks with Gyan. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1990 Gyan was awarded the Best New Talent for the previous year's work. In April that year she toured Europe, where she was popular in the Soviet Union despite her "fans not understanding the words of her songs".
Gyan took two more years to write and prepare her second album, Reddest Red (1992), which was again produced by Fisher. New Zealand musician, Dave Dobbyn, supplied guitar and backing vocals. In August 1992 the album's lead single, "Something's Gotta Give", which had been co-written with Gaze, reached the top 100. A second single, "Visualize" was released in December. A track "Will I with You" from Reddest Red was used on the soundtrack for the Russell Crowe film The Sum of Us (July 1994). Some of her songwriting occurred when staying in "a pretty sleazy hotel – in London and it was good for writing because it was a kind of depressed place. It was interesting because it had this sort of contrast – a city falling down yet an energy with such large amounts of people".
Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, noted that Reddest Red "made less use of the synthesised textures of [her] debut". Jan Borrie of The Canberra Times felt it was "more cohesive and well-rounded than the first and marks a more mature style of song writing for the singer". To promote the album Gyan toured with a backing band of Ian Belton on bass guitar (ex-QED, Dave Dobbyn), Tony Deveaux on guitar, and Chris Sweeney on drums. From February to August 1993, for solo shows, Gyan was backed by Tim Gaze on acoustic guitar (ex-Tamam Shud, Kahvas Jute, Rose Tattoo). Gyan was not worried by Gaze's previous bands "You can't go by what people have done before. I find that interesting chemistry often works". In 1995 Gyan relocated to London to work.
In 1998 Gyan travelled to the United States to start work on a third album, tentatively titled Suburban Opera, with producer Desmond Child. It was not released in its entirety: a promo-only single, "Don't Hide Your Wild Away" was issued in 2001, and in 2003 most of its tracks appeared on The Invisible Bird, via Gyan's website. Meanwhile she sang backing vocals on Ricky Martin's track "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" from his album, Sound Loaded (November 2000). She signed to Universal Records and worked as a songwriter for US country music singer, LeAnn Rimes. Rimes, who covered Gyan's song "Love Is an Army" on her album Twisted Angel (October 2002), recalled:
Of all the songs I have recorded in my career, this is my favorite. It's so beautiful and emotional that you really have to feel it to sing it; you can't just go through the motions. I think the meaning of this song is open for everyone's interpretation, but for me it's about the fighting she's done for love and how in the end, love conquers all. The song is so natural, so simple. Basically, it's just my voice and strings. This song has some country elements in it, like my yodel at the end, but I wouldn't consider it a country song.—LeAnn Rimes, RAM Entertainment
Collaboration with Leunig
By 2005 Gyan had returned to Australia and lived near Byron Bay. The following year Gyan collaborated with Michael Leunig and released the album Billy the Rabbit which was based on Leunig's poetry. According to Gyan:
- "It came about through a complete labour of love. I set a lot of his poetry to music over the space of a year without really knowing what I was doing. I had no motive, no plan. A friend of mine knew him and I contacted him at The Age and sent it to him, he fell madly in love with it." 
The album contained a duet with Paul Kelly on the track "The Path to Your Door". Released to glowing reviews; Gyan and Leunig launched the album at the Melbourne Writers Festival where Gyan sang and Leunig accompanied her whilst illustrating. The two artists' also performed together at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and performed four shows at the Sydney Opera House in March 2007. The performance won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Cabaret of 2007. The album of Billy the Rabbit was produced by Gyan and Simon Greaves.
Superfragilistically is the fifth album by Australian singer-songwriter Gyan that was released as a vinyl LP and CD by Museagency/Vitamin in 2010. It was runner-up Best Adult-Themed Album of 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald which previously gave the album a four-star review, calling it "intensely beautiful, emotionally honest, sensitive and seductive". The Brisbane Courier called it a "staggeringly beautiful record". It was Album of the Week on ABC Radio National's Daily Planet and featured on ABC Triple J's Sunday Night Safran.
In 2002, Gyan contributed the song "Life's Great If You Don't Weaken" to the soundtrack of the Australian film The Nugget and co-wrote Paul Kelly's "Nobody She Knows". She also appears on the album Hymn for Her from James Cruickshank of The Cruel Sea.
2008 saw the publication of Gyan's children's book, How Weird Is That? which features illustrations by Michelle Dawson. The book was shortlisted for the Crichton Award for Children's Book Illustration by the Children's Book Council of Australia. She also published a collection of poetry entitled Bear in Mind in 2012.
- 1989 – "Wait" (B-side: "Love in Question") AUS #14
- 1989 – "It's Alright" (B-side: "Don't Touch (What You Can't Afford)") AUS #49
- 1990 – "Black Wedding Ring" (B-side: "Head Over Heels") AUS #93
- 1992 – "Something's Gotta Give" (B-sides: "Rooms by the Sea" and "Wait") AUS #80
- 1992 – "Visualize" (B-sides: "Shortest Day" and "Take from Me")
- 2001 – "Don't Hide Your Wild Away" (Promo-only single; no B-side)
- 1989 – Gyan AUS #27 (gold)
- 1992 – Reddest Red
- 2003 – The Invisible Bird (aka Suburban Opera)
- 2006 – Billy the Rabbit
- 2010 – Superfragilistically
- Mathieson, Andrew (15 February 2007). "Many Stages of Gyan". Geelong Independent (Star News Group). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Stapleton, Geoffrey. "Gyan and The Dearly Beloved". GANGgajang Official Website. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- "Moss Scoops the Pool at Record Industry Awards". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). 27 March 1990. p. 2. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Gyan'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 6 July 2004. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Hung, Steffen. "Discography Gyan". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "Charles Fisher". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Layland, Penelope (23 November 1989). "'Automatic' Angst". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 9 Section: Good Times. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Ryan (bulion), Gary (3 April 2010). "1989 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 22 December 2013. Note: Shows peak positions in 1989 according to the Australian Kent Music Report, which are "Wait" at No. 13, and "It's Alright" at No. 64.
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- "'It's Alright' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 23 December 2013. Note: User may have to add Performer: Gyan, to limit search
- "Winners by Year 1990". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Australia 1990 ARIA Awards". ALLdownunder.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Borrie, Jan (22 October 1992). "Gyan Burdened by 'Wait'". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 17. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Sibley, David (11 October 1990). "Heard the one About the Minister and the Singer? Just Grin and Bear It...". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 1. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Gyan; Dobbyn, Dave (1992), Reddest Red, Trafalgar Records. National Library of Australia, retrieved 23 December 2013
- "'Something's Gotta Give' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- Faulkner, David; Urlich, Margaret; Gyan; Barnes, Jimmy; Harrod, Tina; Diesel; Maxwell, Lisa; Crowded House; Formula One; Ol' 55; Bass Culture; Hunters & Collectors (1994), The Sum of Us Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Picture This Records. National Library of Australia, retrieved 23 December 2013
- Holmgren, Magnus. "Tim Gaze". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Leedham, Nicole (12 August 1993). "Gyan's Taming of the Tattooist". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 25. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- "Sound Loaded – Ricky Martin | Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Sound Loaded (album notes). Ricky Martin. Columbia. 2000. COL 497769.
- "Twisted Angel – LeAnn Rimes | Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Twisted Angel (album notes). LeAnn Rimes. Curb Records. 2002. 5050466-0931-2-7.
- "LeAnn Rimes". RAM Entertainment & Special Event Services. Retrieved 24 December 2013.