Emma G + Tony B – Sold
Discuss your personality.
I am a singer/songwriter originally from New Zealand but moved to Washington DC in November 2015 to pursue a more serious career in music.
Despite 24 surgeries, battles with loved ones dying and/or committing suicide, struggling with depression myself, and coping with a history of sexual assault, my number one motto is smiling in the face of adversity. I am positive, empowered, strong, and resilient. I am all about love; which are some of the key messages I like to portray through my music.
Brief us about you as a musician.
A combination of Adele, Pink, Alanis Morrissette, and Tracy Chapman; Emma G describes her sound as soul pop-rock.
Musician, singer, songwriter, Emma G’s sultry tones are punctuated with a gutsy quality that hammers home her messages of empowerment, love, and respect.
After releasing eight singles and successfully charting a number 10 album on the New Zealand Top40 with her band, Static Era; Emma G moved to Washington DC from Auckland, New Zealand to pursue a solo career in music in November 2015. Working full time as a street performer, she also plays in various clubs, bars, and community events throughout the city – and often far beyond. In the last year, she has played The Whitehouse, The Kennedy Center, The National Cherry Blossom-, and Smithsonian Folklife festivals, Arena Stage, toured California twice (including iconic music venues The Mint and The Viper Room), completed an 18 date tour of New Zealand, released two solo acoustic EP’s, her studio singles “King for a Day” and “SOLD (Take a Shot), her debut studio album “Taking Flight”, and been featured three times on Fox 5, in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Best of DC” edition, and had some radio play.
“Music has always been my voice”, Emma G explains. “It’s my voice of strength – of unity – and of self-expression. I’ve had 24 surgeries in my life; friends end their lives and had my share of grief, but music has always been a beacon of hope and light”.
She has fast become an established and much-loved personality on DC’s busking circuit, where she is known as the Kiwi girl who plays great songs and gives great hugs. “It’s great because the spirit of the city is incredible,” she said in a 2016 interview. “The people are super nice and really supportive of what I do.” But with her career blossoming and fame surely beckoning, who knows what is around the corner. “Life is an adventure. The best adventures have unknown outcomes.”
To stay up to date on Emma G’s journey:
Go into details on what has changed in your life for choosing music as a career.
Music has always been in my blood. I started writing songs when I was five years old, to connect with my friends and family, but mostly to communicate the struggles of what it means to be a child who had undergone her first brain surgery at the age of 4 months old. Since then, music has served as the connector between me and my fans.
Since going full time with music, I have become somewhat of a workaholic, but I thoroughly enjoy my life. It’s important to me that I maintain a healthy lifestyle surrounding my mental, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional well-being, and music has been able to fulfill this for me. I travel a lot more now, and have built some fantastic relationships with my dedicated audience. I’ve also been able to play some phenomenal venues around America.
Tell us the benefits and drawbacks of choosing music as a career.
The benefits for me have mostly been around doing what I love day in and day out. Being able to connect with people, empower them to enjoy their days/lives, find their own inner strength and authenticity is an incredible feeling, and an amazing opportunity.
The drawbacks for me have been largely around lack of sleep because there are never enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. There are also some incredibly sleazy people in the industry, which has been difficult to navigate around. SOLD (Take a Shot) was in reference to one of these people in particular.
Tell us how you will manage fame as an established artist.
Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity.
Fame is a weird concept: because it’s so not part of a person, but more what people THINK of a person. My mother raised me to always know who I am, and what I’m about, so as long as fame presents itself in a way that enables me to uplift, motivate, inspire or empower my audience. I don’t think I’ll have to manage my life any differently. We’re all people; I just love making music for a living.
Elaborate on the storyline of this song.
When I first moved to Washington DC, a fan passed my music on to one of his contacts who works for a huge label based in LA with the hopes of helping me get signed. I was in communication with this person via phone calls and texts for a few months to establish a time and place that we could meet to discuss my music more fully. He seemed to like what he heard and saw in my public image; however, six months later I still hadn’t met with him in person. He came to DC and wanted to meet with me in person, however before we met, he wanted to double-check that I was going to be marketable, and demanded I send him naked pictures of myself before he would think about signing me. I was horrified and wrote SOLD (Take a Shot) the next day, before going into the studio the day after that. 48hours and the song was written and recorded.
Tell us the means of connecting you and purchasing your music online.
Let us know the greatest moment of your music career.
I had a woman hand me a letter once outlining how much of an impact I’ve had on her life since she first came across my music. It was incredibly moving and I was tearing up while reading it – we never know the full impact we have on each other!
On a more aesthetic level, I was privileged enough to play alongside Dave Chappelle last year, which was amazing.
Tell us the highest amount of money you have ever received from your music career and how it happened.
I’ve done corporate shows for $1000.
Discuss your experience pertaining to live performances, gigs, shows, and tours.
I work as both a performer doing shows at clubs, venues, events, and festivals, but I also work as a street performer as well. All of these platforms are incredibly different, but it really is all about connecting with people and having fun. Bringing your A-Game to everything you do!
Tell us how you interact with your fans.
I’ve actually been dubbed the hug dealer of DC. I have an incredibly close relationship with my fans; via social media, email, performances… I sing for, with, and to them. I try to connect with their stories too so that we can all enjoy this journey together.
Tell us what you will like to change if you have the chance to turn back the hands of time.
I would have learned time management earlier!
Tell us the most important people that have boosted your music career and how you met them.
I’ve been very blessed to have such support from a huge number of people; I don’t know who the most important would be though – since everyone has played a huge role towards where I’m at right now. I think some of the most ongoing supportive people in my journey thus far have been my mother: for all of her investments into my career, my old band Static Era who I played with, in New Zealand, and I learned a LOT from, and the ongoing support from various media channels both in New Zealand and Washington DC: for all of their support and publicity!
Brief us on what you have in mind before considering music as a career.
When I was seven years old, I wrote a list of five things I wanted to do:
2. Famous musician
4. Clothing designer
So I taught music for several years at a university in New Zealand, I was a youth worker for the YMCA, I worked in radio, and I’ve been performing since I was ten years old!
Discuss your good and bad experience in life.
Life always has its good and bad experiences – it’s impossible to list them all! But the negative experiences that have really shaped me have been my best friend dying when I was 19 just months after my ex committed suicide, and months before my surrogate father died from alcohol abuse. My real father just passed away this year in January. It’s from these types of experiences that we really learn to dig deep in ourselves, and learn how to stand up and channel those memories in a positive way; I do music for myself, and for my fans, but I also do it for my father, my best friend and anyone who has contemplated suicide or substance abuse.
Name the artists that have influenced the world.
Prince, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Pink, U2, Amanda Palmer, En Vogue, The Spice Girls even… there are so many who have influenced the world politically, but also socially. I especially resonate with those who are standing up for equality, feminism, and ethnic diversity.
Tell us about your moment of rejection as a musician and how you are able to cope and move on.
I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea… especially if the person prefers coffee! There are always rejections, but the key is to know yourself, stay true to yourself and keep pushing forward. If you can’t see the light, be the light. Also, in 2018, there are so many new avenues that are constantly presenting themselves; it’s no longer about doing things a particular way of getting discovered because there are so many new ways to build your audience and make music!
Tell us the most negative comment you have ever received about your music.
I actually couldn’t tell you – I don’t tend to hold on to negativity!
Elaborate on the recording process of this song.
I had met the rapper, Tony B, several months earlier, and he wanted to collaborate with me. He had a studio in mind that he wanted to work from, so we set up the time and date. It just happened to align perfectly with the A&R approaching me and asking for naked pictures, before I wrote the song, sent him a demo recording and we hit the studio. He wrote his verses while I was laying down the guitar and vocals, then we worked with our producer Flightboy to build a track around the guitar, vocals, and rap.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Emma G: because my last name is far too complicated!
State the title of the song and the meaning.
SOLD (Take a Shot): which is making fun of the idea of selling out: using my sexuality to get ahead, which I refused to do.
State the title of the album and the reason for picking the title.
TAKING FLIGHT, partly in reference to my flying to America to elevate my career, partly in reference to the success I’ve had thus far, and partly in reference to my producer: Flightboy.