Emily Elbert is an emerging and very talented musician from Texas, who is currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. But having dropped her second album - Proof - she's now on the road, and she's coming to Austin. Indie Sounds checked in with her.
Indie Sounds: When are you coming to Austin? Where are you playing? What can people expect?
Emily Elbert: I’ll be performing in Austin this Saturday, November 20th, 10.30pm at Momo’s. People can expect to hear a lot of the songs from my new album, Proof, along with a couple of songs from my debut album, Bright Side, and some covers, to mix it up ... I love to play tunes ranging from Michael Jackson to Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers and Al Green.
Also, I just found out that an Austin band called PolySky follow me on the same bill - I know a couple of them from when they attended Berklee.
IS: Right, you're from Texas, but you're currently studying at Berklee. What are you learning? How's it going? Pretty cold eh?
Emily: Yep, pretty cold! The winters are quite harsh; I'm much more suited to the Texas climate - but I adore Boston and Berklee. Meeting great musicians from all over the world, and learning a lot as well. Right now, I'm taking French and Spanish, and I've just started my first-ever guitar class: a study on the playing of Jimi Hendrix. I'm trying to get the hang of playing electric, and that class is certainly setting some fire under my heels!
IS: How did you get started in music? What's your brief musical life story so far?
Emily: My dad and both his parents are professional musicians, so I studied piano as a child. Then at 14, I asked for a guitar for my birthday and really fell in love with it. That opened me up to the idea of singing, which I'd always secretly dreamed about ... and from then I started performing in church and school talent shows and got lots of reinforcement, so I kept working at writing songs, singing, playing guitar. Once I realized I wanted to go to Berklee, that really jump-started my desire to start playing out professionally, and I haven't stopped since.
IS: You just released your second album, Proof. Tell us about making it and releasing it?
Emily: I'm really excited about Proof. It's been a long time coming - Bright Side was released in 2006, and I've been dying to make this new record for the last three years. But, due to finances and a bunch of other hang-ups, it kept getting pushed back - thankfully, it was finally possible this summer.
I love Bob Gentry, who produced my first album in Tyler, but this time I had to record close to Boston so that musicians from school could participate. I connected with Stephen Webber, a professor from school, and recorded at his studio throughout the month of July. It was intense because we had such a short time frame to work with, but it's really special to me because so many of my friends and favorite players could be a part of the process.
The album features musicians from Japan, Brazil, Mexico, India, Israel, and throughout the States - it's really a reflection of the passion and excitement that we all feel being in such a musical/cultural melting pot here at Berklee.
There are 11 original songs on the record, in a variety of styles. Topically, the concept of Proof is based on a song on the CD where the chorus is "proof that there's love/proof that there's peace/proof we can be redeemed". That's a theme woven throughout the record - finding love and peace in the natural world, in relationships, in the mind, and even in life's really tough situations.
IS: What's the plan for 2011?
Emily: I've just finished a big couple of months - a bunch of events surrounding a feature as one of Glamour magazine's "Top 10 College Women," the release of the new CD, and a tour supporting that - so right now I'm trying to focus on school as much as I can, but I'm still keeping a pretty busy schedule.
In January and February, I’ve got a couple of shows in NYC that I’m very excited about, and plans to play this winter and spring in Boston, Texas, and California. I’ll be back in Austin in March for SXSW, and hope to play more shows around Texas. In the summer, I’m planning a European tour. As far as the fall and winter, we'll see ... but I'd definitely like to get back in the studio in 2011 as well. New year, new music. :)