Sound of LA Singer/Songwriter Em Plunges Listeners Into a Whirlpool of Warm Optimism with Her Intoxicating and Introspective Album Dear Life

In an era starved for young Pop artists with something significant to share, singer/songwriter Em delivers with her music and her message in her latest album, Dear Life. As hooky, engaging and comforting as the radio vibes of today yet with a big beating heart at its core, Em’s 10-track Dear Life (which debuted April 23rd) is a ginger breeze of mood, truth and soulful Pop. 

This album represents a big chapter in my life of growth and empowerment. Each song represents spiritual lessons in personal elevation and social unification.

Following the crossover Pop and Urban successes of her thoughtful “Say What You Mean” is a transfixing second offering entitled “Hear Your Love” concerning two lovers - eternally united no matter whether they may be physically apart or even separated by lifetimes. The music always reignites the fire and passion they possessed when they first fell madly in love. As with all of Em’s songs, it is accompanied by an epic video. 

My family is from Russia so I’m taking it back to the mid to late 1800s where my mother country began to boom in the arts - our ‘romantic’ era. The setting is a castle with referential elements such as a music box, a balalaika (3-string instrument), sheet music by the great composer Glinka and a book of poetry by Pushkin. Inside of this setting, I see visions…hallucinations maybe…of a love in flashback every time I hear the theme that unites our spirits through time. The video begins with me writing him a letter in desperate hopes that it will find him…

Making the video experience more real, Em cast her boyfriend in the role of her ‘forever love.’ The lead single of Dear Life was the dynamic “Say What You Mean” which was promoted with a sensually and supernaturally mesmerizing video helmed by Parris Mayhew. Em is dressed in a provocative gown, her raven hair streaked in white, deep red lipstick setting off bewitching green eyes and mystical elements such as ghostly clones, tarot cards and raindrops that turn to tears. 

Say What You Mean’ is about wanting someone to love me with every fiber of their being…to be as sure of our love as I am.

The title track “Dear Life” speaks to the universality of trusting in a higher power. “It was inspired by a near-death experience,” Em confesses. “Four souls in a car all at the same time needing and wanting the same thing. The revelation was that even people who claim they don’t believe in anything, when they’re placed within a life-or-death situation like that, they do hold on to faith…whether they want to call it that or not. All the things that divide us on the physical plane mean nothing when a circumstance completely levels the playing field. I made ‘Dear Life’ the title of the album because we’re all holding on for dear life during this time of pandemic. But the theme also addresses our lives like a letter: Dear Life.

Em collaborated on the entire Dear Life project - a meditation on coming of age - with music producer Chris Young. On two songs, “On Time” and “You, Yourself & I” - she collaborated on the lyrics with Bruklyn Quasar which opened her up to some fresh new realms of musical possibility. Regarding “On Time,” Em shares, 

This collaboration brought out different things in me. When you work with people of different cultural backgrounds, things like that happen. I would never have thought to sing that ‘keep it-keep it-keep it’ hook so rhythmically.

Em’s previous EP, Pathway to Aetheria, was also produced by Chris Young, only at that time she was pursuing a musical direction she describes as “indie-world.” Her capriciousness in the past was the twin result of her being so openly influenced by artists of varying genres and the old familiar scenario of her producers steering her toward styles that were already working for other young female singers. Em absorbed the work of artists ranging from progressive females such as Carly Simon, Stevie Nicks, Alanis Morissette and P!nk to introspective male writer/performers such as Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Don Henley and Michael Jackson. She’s even found some kinship with R&B artist Drake - all leading her into exciting realms of expression that have fascinated her since she was a child.

At age 4, little Emily was taken by her grandparents to experience a dazzling concert by Britney Spears. Eight years later at age 12, she found herself at Westlake Recording studio in Los Angeles with producer Andy Ditaranto (of Disney fame) singing on the exact microphone in Studio C that Britney had recorded hits on. Over the next several years, Em worked on scores of songs with producers and engineers including Tony Papa (Willie Nelson, James Brown, “Weird Al” Yankovic). Though her father, a very conservative physician (now deceased), pushed her to pursue a traditional college education, her mother – once a jewelry designer who gave up her art for marriage - instilled in Em not to follow in her footsteps in that way but to go for her dreams with all the passion she had inside her. Em and Ditaranto worked together for six years until his passing in 2014 which left Em stranded, unfinished and unsure of herself.

Then a connection with Chris Young resulted in several songs leading to a breakthrough composition entitled “Grace.” This inspired a sojourn and sabbatical to Woodstock in upstate New York where Em’s songs began to take on a more mature sound and sense of purpose, recalling the voices of strong women from before Em’s time in the `50s, `60s and `70s. “Woodstock proved to be a very magical place,” Em marvels. 

We’d ask for something and the next day…it would manifest. I’ve been writing since I was 16 but I never had an experience like that - a time that was my college. 

Em also made key performances at World CafĂ© Live’s “Love Fest” in the “Philly Rising” series (2017-18) and was elected twice to perform at Durango Songwriter’s Expo. Already preparing even more music, Em has been working with former Motown songwriter/producer Michael B. Sutton (Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson). Together, they’ve penned a song called “Sleepwalking.” “That song is a plea to stop seeing and treating each other as an inferior race or culture,” Em explains. “We are all souls. We must remember our faith and history that happened before us to provide understanding. And in that understanding, rest in a reality that unites us, never separates us.” Em has also found a collaborator she considers to be her artistic soulmate: Gregor Stobie who resides in Glasgow, Scotland and is in the same mid-`20s age range as Em. 

We’re on the same wavelength,” Em enthuses. “We do international calls and are so connected. I can say something totally abstract and he will completely understand it - totally get it! It’s like he can go inside my mind and we totally read each other.

Right now, it’s all about Dear Life, an aural musical out of body experience that truly feels cinematic in scope. 

I’m really feeling that analogy,” Em co-signs. “Dear Life is an album-oriented project. I love putting cinema and music together. Interwoven they tell a story. Anytime I am writing and anytime I am in the booth recording, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is the destiny of what I was put here on Earth to do, My mission is to help people heal and feel connected - closer to God and their truth.

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Listen to the track "Hear Your Love" below and let us know if you're vibing to it.

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