Miss Emily making a move toward full-time music career
After what seems like a lifetime in the Grand Valley, Miss Emily has decided — as Etta James sang — “to spread my wings and fly away.”
James is Miss Emily’s favorite singer, and those lyrics are from the song “I Believe I Can Fly” that James covered.
The local singer known only as Miss Emily, 29, has decided to move to either Texas or the Los Angeles area in late October to pursue her dream of a full-time music career. But the move will end the run of Miss Emily and Project Groove, one of the more popular soulful bands in the area for the past four years.
“I like new things,” Miss Emily said recently over coffee. “People are a little weirded out by the fact I’m not really sure where I’m going, but I’m not. I have a date. I have a savings account, however small, and I don’t mind. As long as I can sing in a bigger place and challenge myself, I’m peaceful.”
Miss Emily and Project Groove, the band that typically plays with Miss Emily, will perform its final local show from 7–9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Mesa Theater and Lounge, 538 Main St. Tickets to the all-ages show cost $10.
Miss Emily isn’t sure what Project Groove has planned after she leaves, but she expects them to continue to perform without her.
Miss Emily got a taste of the void her departure will leave in the local music scene when she performed her original song “How Could You Know” with the Grand Junction Rockestra in August.
She received a standing ovation.
“I’m really grateful for this valley because their support of me as a performer and what I’m doing has been huge,” Miss Emily said.
Born in New York but a resident of Grand Junction since she was 2 years old, Miss Emily essentially grew up in Mesa County. She left for four years after high school but returned.
Her love of performing was born here, where her mother taught dance and Miss Emily stood on a chair singing the religious song “For Those Tears I Died.”
In addition to religious music, Miss Emily also grew up singing musical theater and classical tunes, performing Italian arias thanks to the years of lessons with local teacher Carol Ann Niles.
Although Miss Emily “can sound like so many people,” her musical preferences are soul and rhythm and blues. She sings both originals and cover tunes from musicians such as James.
“The reason I love her is the story she tells,” Miss Emily said. “That’s what I want to be.”
Miss Emily knows her decision to move to a city where she’s just one of many soul singers, means she has a lot of hard work in her future to get her name out there, book her own gigs and even find a band.
After performing at the former Cabaret Dinner Theatre where she met former local musician Charles King — the man responsible for giving her a stage name — Miss Emily at least leaves here armed with the knowledge about being in a band — she was in King’s band — and what it takes to successfully promote and perform.
King now lives in Texas and auditioned for a season of the hit NBC show “The Voice.”
From her relationship with King, came the opportunity to perform weekly as Miss Emily with Project Groove at Wine County Inn. The weekly shows, where the band grew into the “house band,” increased her exposure, enabled the band to book more gigs and set in motion the dream of moving away to pursue music professionally.
“I was amazed at the vocal talents of Miss Emily from the get-go,” said Wine Country Inn General Manager Joe Scanlon. “Every time she broke out the Donna Summer, everybody got up and danced. Her voice is soulful and smooth.”
Miss Emily has taught vocal lessons locally and may continue to teach once she builds a reputation in whatever locale she moves to. But, ultimately, singing is the goal.
Miss Emily has a self-titled EP album and a single “Sweet Sunlight” for purchase on iTunes. She plans to continue releasing singles on iTunes, so locals can stay in touch with her career.
Although she’s off to bigger places, Miss Emily plans to return. After all, her family is here, and she genuinely loves to perform here.
“If I never try, I’ll always be the person wondering, ‘What would happen if,’ ” Miss Emily said. “That’s a lame way to live. You’ve only got one life.”