Meet the queer, teary-eyed “This Is Me” drummer from the 2018 Oscars: Eva Friedman of Staircase Spirits

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 5 Min Read

Pop-rock duo Staircase Spirits garnered national attention after Eva Friedman (drums) performed “This Is Me” at the 90th Academy Awards alongside Keala Settle of 2017’s “TheGreatest Showman”, nominated for best song.  

The 2018 Oscars averaged 26.5 million viewership this year and the “This Is Me” performance, in particular, was praised for its powerful emotionality. Queer comedian Cameron Esposito was one of those watching and drew attention to Friedman, tweeting “i see u, tiny asymmetrically haired drummer” with a screenshot of Friedman onstage, the tweet receiving over 3,000 likes. Autostraddle introduced the world to Friedman on Twitter and pulled in nationwide fans and The New York Times named the performance as “The Most Electrifying Number” while Brooks Barnes states the song “should have opened the show”. An MTV article stated, “Backed by a diverse group of singers — and two very spirited drummers — Settle’s powerhouse vocals and spirited choreography shook the Dolby Theatre.”

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Friedman on the performance

“As a musician, if anything you think of dreaming to perform at the Grammy’s or any of the various music awards shows so this was an incredible surprise. The main intention of the performance was that everyone on stage gets to show the world who they are. So often butch/androgynous women are shown on television as predatory or thepunchline to a tasteless joke. Since Sunday night, I’ve received so many messages from people telling me how much it meant to them to see someone they look like on TV being celebrated instead of being put down and shamed. I’m so grateful I was able to bring joy not only to my family and friends but a community of people that I care so deeply about. 

On a final note, I am so grateful to my new and wonderful This Is Me Family. I’m so glad that everyone watching was able to see how much we all enjoyed being together and much support was on that stage. It’s hard to put 50 people in a room and have everyone get along and I’m still amazed at how much love we created over thecourse of a few days. We created 4 minutes of magic and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it.”

“…among the few moments of the nearly four-hour telecast when the audience seemed to come alive.” – TheNew York Times on performance

“Against a wall of solid rock goodness vocalist Anna Maria Acosta details one of those nights you wish will never end…” – Substream Magazine

“Love Stories has a remarkable sense of closure, letting the words propel and breathe amongst the music rather than the other way around, and it lends this EP a weight that, again, is a rarity in pop-rock.”   – TheSoundboard Reviews


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About Staircase Spirits

Staircase Spirits, fearlessly led by Anna Acosta (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Eva Friedman (drums), is a pop-rock minority duo of Los Angeles, CA that delivers a haunting narrative of life’s trials. Last in their “Stories” collection released December 8, the Love Stories EP evokes a wide range of deep emotions and continues their autobiographical narrative. After releasing the EP’s second single “California Winter” via Substream Magazine, Love Stories is available on all streaming and purchasing platforms including iTunes and Spotify. 
The female duo recorded with Jonas Vece of band Safely and Staircase Spirits members Acosta and Friedman are actively involved in the empathetic movement the pop-rock and pop-punk music scene has recently encompassed. As both queer and female musicians, these two talents aim (and succeed) for their music to lead in inspiration.

Vocalist Anna Acosta on the band’s lyrics:

“Our hope as a band is that we can continue to grow and to challenge ourselves and each other to be better than we were when we met – and to reach people beyond ourselves at the same time. Once we put the songs out there, they stop belonging to us. Our hope is that people can get whatever it is they need from each song when they listen to it – whatever that might be. If you can make a difference for even one person, then all the struggles were worth it.”


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