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 The Greatest 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 stateed 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.”
Friedman said, “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 the punchline 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,” continued Friedman. “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 the course of a few days. We created 4 minutes of magic and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it.”
Watch the performance here: