We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Cole and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
I’d say probably that some don’t realize the time that goes into this profession. My Mom, for example. She’s a listener and lover of music (she has music playing all the time). She has mentioned that she never really gave it much thought before I started this journey. She’d have the radio on and love the music, but didn’t think about the fact that, behind this song she loved, there was a team to make it happen; it had to actually be written, produced, harmonies needed, mixing and mastering… all the things that go into making a song. So, it’s not just something that’s done over night. For me, I can’t just write to write. I have to have a creative burst. So, it may be a month or two (or longer) before I come up with a song that I feel I could maybe/possibly be something I want to release to the world. Once I get that creative burst, I write and maybe decide to rewrite and add to it and take away from it, and then once the song is written, it’s still not the not the end of this process. I then have to get with my producer and pay him to create the magic sound you hear going along with the lyrics and melodies I wrote. Not to mention, this all takes money. Some can’t afford to pay a producer for every song they write, love, and want to release. My producers are Eddie Ferguson of WalkOne Productions and Nathan Walters, Billboard charting producer out of Nashville. I’m very fortunate to have a producers that worked with me to come up with something manageable on my end. After paying the producers, an artist then has to pay an engineer to mix and master their song/project. I’m also a performing artist, so I make a living off my live gigs. Covid hit the music industry hard! Not only the live performing artists, this then hurt the producers and engineers that rely on the artists that pay them for their services. I’ve stepped outside the box and will now be producing some of my own music. I will still work with my producers and other producers that come along, but being able to produce my own music will give me more freedom (sometimes, it’s hard to schedule times to get into the studio because of everyone’s schedules) and will save me a little money as well. Speaking of live shows. I love what I do. I’m only talking about this because it’s the question at hand. While a venue may book me, for say a 2 hour or 3 hour show, some don’t realize what goes into this show (unless the booking agent for the venue has actually done live shows themselves). I live a ways out from most places I play, so I have to allow at least an hour for my drive time to the venue and an hour drive time back home. Also, I need to load all equipment into my vehicle, because I usually bring my own PA system and all of my chords, stands, instruments, etc.; it’s so nice when I am told I have a sound guy waiting for me at the venue! So, I get to the venue, set up for the gig, then take everything down, after the gig. I like to allow myself an hour there at the venue before the show even starts (especially if it’s a new venue where I haven’t yet been. Summarizing this, say I play 7:00-10:00…I pack up my vehicle around 4:30, leave around 5:00 to get there by 6:00, set up all equipment (speakers, monitor, mixer, guitar, ukulele, etc.), play from 7:00-10:00, take everything down and pack back into my car (usually 30 mins; but can be an hour to hour and half because sometimes we get to hang out and talk with friends). then drive home (usually an hour). So, sometimes I get the “oh, wow! you make that in 3 hours (gig time). I should have been a singer.” They don’t realize that I started at 4:30 and may not have gotten home until midnight that night. And, this doesn’t include the time singer/songwriters are putting in to learn the music we are performing at a show. So, again! I am not complaining at all. This is what I do, and I love doing it. It’s just the question at hand. It’s easy for people outside the industry not to know this, because they haven’t done it themselves. Some don’t think of us working musicians having a “real job,” because they just simply don’t understand what all goes into it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an alt pop singer/songwriter, recording artist, a producer, and an acoustic performer, I’m excited to move forward this year with releasing my self produced music, and I’m leaning towards releasing these as singles. I still have music to make ready for release with producer, Eddie Ferguson. I’m also working with Nathan Walters, billboard charting producer from Nashville, TN. Nathan and I hope to release new music soon, some of which will include covers of some of my favorite songs to listen to and perform. I’m also hoping to have the opportunity to co-write more in 2021. While I have a passion for creating new music, I also love performing at venues. I have a couple of residence gigs in my area where I play often, and I’m starting to gain followers at these venues. It’s so much fun to interact with and meet new people at my shows. I had some tell me they come to see what color my hair will be or to find out which crazy platform shoes I’m wearing that night. It’s always a fun time! At one time, I wasn’t sure I could take on the role of producer. When I saw someone I follow and admire offering an online course, I got really excited about signing up and becoming a part of this course. Now, I am loving that I’ll be able to start a song and finish it all the way to the end, from the lyrics, to the melodies, harmonies, to the production and mixing and mastering as well. While I love playing instruments and am self taught on all I play, I’ll leave the live instruments to when I perform at my shows. Eventually, I may bring them into my production. I still have lots to learn. You ask “what sets you apart from others.” Now that I think about it and realize I can add production and engineering to my resume, I’m hoping this may be something that sets me apart. Most proud of…That I was able to finish my production course and now will be producing my own music. I feel this is a huge accomplishment for myself. Excited about…Producing my own music! 🤣 Another exciting moment was when I was awarded the Josie Music Award for Pop/Contemporary Vocalist of The Year 2019. I was nominated, but I really didn’t expect anything to come from it, as it was my first time to have been nominated and attend the awards show. The JMA’s is a red carpet event held in Pigeon Forge at Dollywood. My Mom and I drove there so I could attend. We made a vacation out of this trip and had so much fun. Where I am today professionally… I don’t really stress and/or plan everything out. I just keep writing, releasing music, and playing my gigs. I try and stay positive and focus on new opportunities that come my way. I’ve had the opportunity to perform at the NAMM Winter Show, NOLA’s Cutting Edge Music Conference a few times, Austin’s Music Week SXSW (unofficial shows; still lots of fun), at festivals in different states while being recognized as an emerging artist and as a songwriter. It’s been a great time. I’m hoping to make more contacts and collaborate more. I’d love to tour some, since Covid cancelled my tour in 2020. I just want to keep learning and growing, writing and exploring all opportunities that come my way. As far as if it’s been easy goes.. It’s been fun, but it’s not always easy. One can get discouraged many times when it comes to a music career. Some like you, some don’t. It may not even be you (or me). It could be anything…they may like country over pop, they may not like my shoes and dyed hair (or they may love them). Lots of obstacles out there. Thing is to keep your head up, and keep going. Lessons learned….don’t let other people’s negativity get you down or in your way. If this music business is my passion, I have to look past them (learn from the experiences even), and keep going. I want the world to know that I’m going to keep writing and doing what I do. I’d love to share my music and have people listen and connect with what I write about more than anything, and hopefully it can help get them through tough times just like how writing the songs helped get me through mine,
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my best friends actually did move away to Austin. While it’s not that far away, we don’t get to hang out like we used to. We’re pretty calm people, I’m told. So, if she were to visit and we got together, we probably wouldn’t do too much. Nothing crazy, for sure. Our favorite thing to do is visit metaphysical shops and find cool crystals. We also love finding new coffee houses. Speaking of coffee houses, I found a really cool coffee house that I’d like to take her to. I didn’t find it until after she had already moved away. It’s called Lovebeans Coffee. It has a great vibe to it; I know she’d love it. We also enjoy cruising the mall, even if we only window shop. The mall would most likely be on the list. As for a week long trip, we’ve talked about Japan before. She’s been to Tokyo Disneyland. I was invited to go, but timing wouldn’t allow me to travel. That’s something we’d both enjoy doing. I’ve never been, so I’d have to let her show me around. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ohhhh, there are many! So, from the beginning….I want to thank my parents for being supportive and allowing me to chase my dreams. They’ve told me that as long as I work hard, they will be here for me, in whatever career path I choose. My dad works hard and has put money into helping me along this career choice, and my Mom does all my bookings for my live shows. This, in itself, is a huge weight off my shoulders. It allows me to be more of the artist and allows me to write more and work on my original music. I’m a working musician, so I also contribute, but having their help (within reason), should I need it, makes it easier on me. My brother is an awesome songwriter and engineer, and I really appreciate him for being there for when I want him to hear my music and offer feedback. He’s also engineered a few of my songs, so that’s really cool too. Mom is with me at all my gigs for moral support, and she always offers to help me with set up (she says she’s my biggest fan!). I’m grateful for the family I have who have been here since day 1 of this crazy journey. Speaking of fans…we all know this is the solid base for us who release music and who perform out live. Without them, we just wouldn’t be able to keep doing what we do. So, a huge thank you to those listing to my music and coming to my shows. Some can’t always make it out to shows, so I appreciate my family members and fans that do comment on my posts on social medial and who share for me there too. My first true experience with songwriting was at a summer camp called Real Life Real Life Songwriter’s Experience, hosted by Kyle Hutton. I am thankful that have been a part of their camps and pilot program. It really spoiled me, as it offered me great mentors and demo songs, and some of the best venues in the Houston, TX area to perform in. A couple of my first mentors were Shellee Coley and Jenn Rykert; these ladies are real down to earth women and so much fun to hang out with. I loved writing with them; a couple of songs I wrote with Jenn actually have made it to semi-finalists in different music competitions, so that’s cool. Also, I met others my age that wanted to do the same thing I’m doing, and we are still friends to this day. Chris Chimene was a co-writer on my first album. I was young then, and while the writing of that album was a little older maybe than what I should have been writing about, I did learn a lot that has helped in my writing today. I’m grateful for all experiences made through this group connected through RLRM. There is also my vocal coach, Theresa Yow. We connected through the camp. She’s amazing. It was very uncomfortable for me when I first started seeing her; I thought she was trying to change me. I soon learned and accepted that she was there to help me as a vocalist, so my voice wouldn’t go out on me after playing so many live shows. I’m really fortunate to have met her and to have her on my team. My producer, Eddie Ferguson and his entire team (engineer Nino, vocal producer Jaytel, producer Ian)! Eddie has worked on projects alongside Matthew Knowles, owner of Music World Studio – Beyonce and Solange, to name a few. For him to be willing to work with me is surreal. He could literally work with any famous person out there; he’s that good. I was only 14 when I first worked with Eddie. I don’t think he took me serious at the time, but after we finished our first project, he expressed that he’d be interested in working with me again, should I decide to write more. We just kept going. Now, he’s helped me release a full album, several singles that followed, and my 7 song EP released at the end of 2020. Grammy Winning audio engineer Niño Villanueva has worked with some amazing names like Solange, Beyonce, and more. To have him mix my music is still, sometimes, mind blowing, when I think about it. I really appreciate all this team has done to help me get my music out. The experience with Eddie has been life changing. Because I got the chance to sit in his studio and work with him, I’m able to do what I’m doing now, which is self producing my own music (COMING SOON!). I decided to take a production course, and I know the time I got to spend in the studio with Eddie helped to make the course easier for me to understand. I know there are some I’m leaving out; there are many who come into our paths that help more than we realize at the time, even through simple conversations taking place. Thank you so much to everyone who has encouraged and supported me. I’m going to keep growing and learning. I should have more names to add to this question, if I were to be asked it again in the future. So, stay tuned. 🤗
Tony/Elizabeth at TopScore Sports Photography Art4Artists on Instagram Emily Cole Sherry Little