For Orange County singer/piano vixen Emily Simonian, music has been driving force in her life. Though she was forced into playing, Simonian eventually came to grips with music and became something she loves. Recently, Bestnewbands.com caught up with her to talk about how her musical influences, what she learned from her brief time at Berklee and her future plans.
DK: When did you start playing music? What was your inspiration for doing so? Was it due to parental pressure or a longing to play?
Emily Simonian: I actually started playing piano before I started singing, which is funny because I consider myself to be more of a vocalist than a pianist. I would love to say that I was a child prodigy or that I begged my parents to give me lessons, but the truth is, my mom signed me up for piano lessons at the age of 5, and I never had a choice in the matter! Then I got restless and decided that singing was more fun, but I continued with piano half-heartedly (and singing vehemently). Eventually I did become passionate about both and merged the two together.
DK: Who are some of the musical influences?
ES: I think I have a deep-rooted love for catchy pop hooks. I’m a closet Shania Twain fan and always have been. The woman knows how to write a damn good pop song! My inspirations are all across the board, though. I love jazz vocalist Jane Monheit’s sound. I love jazz in general and anything soulful. I also love the entire Beatles collection. But most of all, I love those “feel-good” songs that are punchy and spunky, for example, Eric Hutchinson’s “Rock and Roll.” Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles are up at the top of the list as well.
DK: What was it like attending Berklee? Did you meet any professors or students that improved your playing?
ES: I attended Berklee only very briefly and my biggest influences during that period were actually my peers. I had a lot of stellar professors, definitely, but I was also surrounded by a multitude of young musicians who were buzzing with creative aspirations that matched mine, for the first time in my life. And at that time I don’t believe I had truly tapped into my own writing capabilities. In other words, I saw what other students were doing and I sort of followed suit. I realized what I was capable of and really tried to work on my artistry instead of just my voice. It was kind of an awakening, if you will.
DK: Your music video is pretty cool. How did you come up with the concept for it and where/when was it filmed?
ES: Thanks! The video is for my song “The One About the Shoes”. It’s a cheeky tune, but the crux is that age-old dilemma of wanting something you can’t have. So the song naturally lends itself toward this music video dream sequence where I’m in a high-end shoe store fawning over a pair of shoes (and my “dream guy”, who in this fantasy video, happens to be the shoe salesman). It’s pretty cute. Half of it was filmed in Studio 770 in Brea where I recorded my EP, and the rest was on location in the north Orange County area. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!
DK: When can we expect to hear your debut album?
ES: Late November!!! Wooo!!! It’s an EP titled, Pale Green. It’ll be available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and in person at my shows. Since we’re still in production, you can be a part of the creation of the EP by clicking here.
DK: What are your plans for the immediate future?
ES: I’ve just signed with Studio 770 Entertainment, an indie label based out of Orange County. I like to fly by the seat of my pants, so nothing is set in stone as far as plans after the EP release, but there is talk of starting on my next album, which will be a full length. A promotional tour is also in the works, as well as booking more local shows than I can probably handle! I may need to clone myself. I’ll really just be promoting Pale Green like a maniac anywhere and everywhere I can.
With an EP almost complete and an album on the horizon, expect to hear big things from the beautiful singer/pianist in the near future.