Listening to New York singer-songwriter Emerson Young, it quickly becomes apparent that you’re experiencing an artist who enjoys an inherent confidence not only in his music but in himself as well.
That self-assuredness is no accident. It is the result of an individual with deep and diverse music roots who has built upon his one-of-a-kind talent over the years to cultivate an eclectic and polished sound that encompasses a host of musical genres, all of which is fully on display on his self-titled debut album.
To say music is in Emerson’s DNA would be an understatement. Hailing from a family full of musicians, he’s the eldest son of two Presbyterian ministers who encouraged all three of their children to pursue their passion for the arts. Emerson’s own pursuit began in earnest at the age of 7, when he picked up the violin and began building the foundation for a future in musical expression.
“There was never any question about whether or not to pursue music,” Emerson reveals. “I have to play it. There’s nothing else I could ever see myself doing.”
At 15, confronted with the reality that “girls don’t dig violinists” and inspired by the early 90’s rock that was dominating radio airwaves at the time, Emerson moved on to the guitar and immediately began building his chops on what would become his signature instrument. His development continued in college, where he studied music theory, played in a number of bands, and added the bass, banjo, and mandolin to his instrumental repertoire.
In the years since, Emerson has honed his craft even further, becoming a complete musician in every sense of the word. Influenced in large part by moving frequently and calling many corners of the American landscape home—from Los Angeles to parts of the Midwest and now New York—his songwriting skills have blossomed in tandem with his instrumental and vocal abilities. An observational writer by nature, Emerson’s songs tell the story of problems and emotions experienced by both people he knows and those he does not.
The inherent honesty of those songs is complimented by Emerson’s strengths as an arranger, a skill he has enhanced while playing a supporting role for a number of songwriters and musicians in the Big Apple and one that he considers his biggest asset as an artist.
“I enjoy the arrangement side of writing and finding the big picture in a particular composition immensely,” he says. “Much like a sculptor does with a piece of stone, you’re creating something with a focus on those little details that maximize the effect on the audience.”
With years of experience both on stage and in the studio under his belt, Emerson’s new album beautifully illustrates a personal and artistic evolution. His pop, rock, folk, bluegrass, and even Motown influences abound throughout the record, punctuated by a rich, colorful blend of vocal melodies and harmonies. The result is nine truly unique tracks—covering everything from love, lust, angst, and self-discovery—that are as strong on their own as they are collectively. Without a doubt, listeners will find plenty to love on an album that delivers genuine, soulful music straight from the heart.