When I first met Emma Davis, she came to my studio with her friend who was studying guitar with me. My student said that I should hear her sing, so she grabbed his guitar and sang “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. Not too much easily impresses me, but her version of that song was fresh while staying true to the original. Throughout high-school she was a regular at the Music Resource Center and sang on several R&B and Hip-Hop recordings. One artist that she worked with tweeted out their collaboration and she quickly got about 8,000 followers over night.
Sometime during her freshman year, Emma contacted me about taking lessons in music theory and guitar. She had dreams of going to Boston to study at my alma mater, Berklee College of Music. After she graduated from CHS, she was accepted to Berklee and started her first semester in the fall of 2012. She loved it and was working extremely hard to get the most out of her time there. I would often receive text messages saying how she felt like it was where she belonged. Unfortunately, due to the high expenses of an out of state college and living in a big city like Boston, she had to withdraw just before the start of her 2nd semester.
That didn’t stop her though. Now, Emma is currently attending VCU in Richmond, VA as a sophomore and is even more determined than ever to pursue her music. I caught up with her recently to find out what’s in store for her next.
Here she is performing the classic song by Stevie Nicks, “Landslide.”
Jay Pun: Tell me a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.
Emma Davis: Growing up, I was always surrounded by music. My dad played guitar and piano as well as sang. I began playing piano when I was seven and only played for about three years before moving on to violin. I played violin for about four years and never really enjoyed it very much. I was always very shy about singing in front of people until I was about fourteen. The only person I would ever sing in front of was my Dad. I used to sing with my Dad a lot between the age of ten and thirteen, he would play piano or guitar and I would sing. For Christmas when I was thirteen, my Dad got me my first guitar. I immediately loved playing and wanted to learn as much as possible. Throughout middle school and high school, I learned as many songs as I could and became much more comfortable with singing and performing in front of others.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Patty Griffin, John Legend, Adele, Dixie Chicks, Anthony Hamilton, Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, Andy Grammar, Musiq Soulchild, Ben Howard, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews Band, and many others.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?
My Dad, Bob Marley, Adele, Lauryn Hill, Mother Teresa, Patty Griffin.
If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?
This is a hard one. Probably Adele, she is just so talented and carries herself in the best way.
If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?
Patty Griffin, Adele, or John Legend.
What are your plans for the future of your music?
To continue to learn and play as much as possible, and become a better musician….as well as become more comfortable with writing my own songs, something I struggle with; perform more, and work towards recording my own album.
We live in, what I like to call, an “instant gratification time”, where people can become famous quickly via the internet and on shows like The Voice and American Idol. How do you feel about the state of the music industry now?
I feel that the music industry is lacking in the area of talent, and focusing too much on the material and flashy aspect of things. There is also too much of the “computerized sound” especially with singers, a lot of people are starting to all sound the same. It would be amazing to see the music industry go back to what it used to be, where the music itself was the most important thing, and music could get back to just the instruments and voices. Capturing simply that is, in my eyes, better than creating everything on a computer.
To keep up with Emma and her music, follow her on Twitter: @_emma_davis
If you like what you see and hear, please visit the official PunPicks website: www.punpicks.com