Interview with Multi-Talented and Rising Star EMM
Emm is a powerful singer-songwriter, producer, performer and women’s advocate. Her infallible vocal prowess and edgy lyrical voice compete with the greatest pop divas topping the charts today. However, her unique perspective as a producer, classically trained multi-instrumentalist, and life-long songwriter has given her an authentic blend of sonics and stories that make every song identifiably “Emm”.
As an incredible female producer, Emm is helping to change the saddening statistics of women in music. About 5 percent of music producers in the industry today are female. Emm is distinct to most pop music today in that she has a hand in every instrument in the track, every word, and every melody you hear.
In an era where female pop artists are taught to “stay in the box” and be agreeable, Emm stands out as a true artist – bold, risky, and unapologetically controversial. She is willing to take risks, both musically and lyrically, covering topics like religion, politics, and gender inequality.
Beyond that, perhaps the most incredible thing about Emm’s music is even greater than the music itself (which is pretty damn good) – it is the message. Emm identifies with her fans more authentically then most artists could ever hope to, and that’s because she cares more deeply about the people she is singing to.
Having faced a challenging past of eating disorders, mental health issues, industry evils, and moving away from her hometown of 14,000 to face New York City at the tender age of 16, Emm has overcome so much. It only takes one conversation to see that she is deeply passionate about creating a voice for people just like her – people that never felt they were enough and never quite fully fit in.
Emm is an artist that spends all night after a show talking to her fans, asking them questions, encouraging them and appreciating who they are. She shines in the most important area, and that’s a genuine heart. Most artists are eager to get back on the bus or head to the next party. But Emm isn’t most artists.
EMM has performed at the largest arenas across Los Angeles to the smallest clubs. She is a passionate performer, once called a mix “between Beyonce and Janis Joplin.” She was raised and classically trained by two full-time classical musicians. Her social presence is growing daily and she currently boasts over 15 million views and 200,000 followers across her channels.
What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I started piano lessons when I was 5 or 6 years old and wrote my first piano/vocal song on a bright orange piece of paper about light vs. darkness the same week (haha!). So as far back as I can remember, writing songs has been the safest space in my life where I am the freest to be my truest self. I started a girl group at 7.
I had the first recording session that I paid for with my babysitting money at 11 or 12 and kept recording all through middle school. I moved to NYC to pursue music at 16. And the rest is history. So it’s never really been a “decision” as much as it has been my way of life. It’s why I’m here.
Would you prefer to be independent or signed to a major?
For now, independent. Until a label can guarantee me a better life then I’m currently creating for myself, I don’t see a reason to take that risk of signing to someone other than myself.
What musical influences did you listen to growing up that helped to mold you into the artist you are today?
I was raised in a household of professional classical musicians, and our whole community growing up was classical musicians. And my parents both teach at a school called Interlochen Center for The Arts, which is full of the most incredibly talented musicians from around the world.
So I grew up watching insanely talented prodigy kids, and seeing their work ethic, and going to my dad’s operas and my mom’s orchestras, and watching their rehearsals. I think that comes through with a lot of my sound choices. I really lean toward cinematic tendencies.
I also just grew up loving the divas. I am obsessed with powerful women that can sing and perform their asses off. And I spent hours every day growing up studying their performances and just trying to soak up all the greatness that I could. I still love doing that!
What are your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic in the studio?
I’m a weird artist because I handle the majority of my business myself, which has been a huge learning curve for me. Stuff like learning to delegate, learning how to handle money, learning how to be okay with making mistakes, etc., has been really challenging.
It’s challenging to wear the business hat and the artist hat and to still make time to keep growing as an artist and a human. But I LOVE being challenged and I get bored really easily, so I think I’m in exactly the right place. I think my greatest attribute when it comes to the studio is that I know I can produce and play and write and engineer and mix and master if I want or need to.
And that gives me so much appreciation for my team because I know how much time I save by having 3 or 4 of us to do all those jobs instead of doing everything myself. And it allows me to communicate really clearly and build sonic cohesion — it’s to the point now where Taylor (my main production partner) and I will always say the same thing at the same time because he is so in sync with what I like.
And if someone I’m working with can’t create what I have in my head, I can just sit down and do it myself. Which makes things so fast and simple. And it gives me so much security to know in the back of my head that if I need to, I can create a song start to finish on my own and love the music.
What do you feel distinguishes you “an artist” from just a musician?
Both of my parents are full-time musicians, and being a musician means that you’re interpreting other people’s music in a unique and individual way. I think that is definitely artistry.
If we’re talking “artist” in the music industry sense, I think the battle is a little different for us. We are musicians, but we are also businessmen and women, we are also often songwriters, and producers, and communicators.
But our job is the same as traditional musicians in that we bear our soul in hopes of relieving suffering in the world and reminding people how much we are all the same.
I think where “artists” are a little different is that some of us are also called to push boundaries, make people ask hard questions, make people uncomfortable, and bring awareness to issues that matter.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry what would it be?
More female producers, more female writers, more women on the radio, 50-50 women at the labels and in the offices. More women winning Grammys.
More women owning their catalogs. More women keeping their profit. More women taking creative control and control over their money. Just more women, period.
And artists making a living wage from streaming and shows instead of the way it’s set up now, which is to make everyone rich except the artist.
What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music?
I think my music doesn’t fit into a genre box or any real rule book. The way I’m running my business also doesn’t fit any “traditional” route. I change my image up all the time and go through 10 different hair colors in a month, or vibes, or looks, and I play with my sound all the time.
I do that because I don’t think my look or sound or personality should have to fit into a box. Women are constantly told that they have to be palpable and sweet and interesting but not too interesting, and exciting but not too exciting, and sexy or smart but not too sexy and smart. And on and on and on.
I just am over following all the invisible rules put on us. I think it’s bullshit. So I do whatever I want and I pay for everything myself so that no one can tell me what to do or put me in any boxes. And I hope the biggest message I send to people with my vibe is that you are enough, and you don’t have to shrink yourself to make small-minded people more comfortable with you.
What projects do you have in the making currently and what are your plans for the near future?
I’m finishing RUBY now. It’s my second mixtape of 3 that are dropping sort of as a set. We’re just wrapping up the last song today. I’m dropping songs off RUBY every single Friday in January and the last song comes out February 7th.
I’m so excited for all the visuals and all the cinematic anthems on RUBY. I’ve got some really cool video ideas too that I’m playing with and of course I’m always brainstorming how best to improve my show because I’m insanely passionate about live performance.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
I think if you are a female in the music industry, the most challenging thing for most of us is to know our worth and power and to have tunnel vision. So often there are tons of people around us with opinions about who we should be and how we should present our artistry to the world. And when you are a natural empath or nurturer like most artists are, it’s easy to want to please everyone else.
But the problem with that is that it’s so easy to lose yourself when you’re trying to make everyone else happy. And the thing is, not everyone will love you, no matter what you do. So I think the most important lesson for an artist similar to myself to master is to have tunnel vision and not give a fuck what anyone thinks about what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and just go for it.
Follow YOUR vision, not someone else’s. You own your life. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the victories. Your art should be exactly what YOU want it to be because YOU are worthy and you are absolutely good enough to think for yourself and make your own decisions and win. Don’t give away your power to anyone.
How can potential fans find you?
You can reach me on any of my social media @EMMinRealLife. Send me a DM! I love getting to know new fans.
Socials: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Instagram| Spotify
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
You! Thank you so much for your love and support and for taking the time to interview me!
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