EmJay / Blog

Unplugging and Sound Healing

Like old paint that needs to come off walls, I have been putting off a long remodeling project of content on my personal music pages. Part of the reason for doing this has been due to the fact that my outlook and my reasons for performance and writing have evolved and I had to take a step back after California to ask myself what I was doing this for... at this point, I'm treating this blog spot as a journal entry.. I don't know how many people even read or engage in my stuff or any of this stuff really- which was part of the reason I had to do so much self reflecting.

Musicians, Models, Bloggers, Writers, and Internet trollers... People spend waaaay too much time trying to be in everyone's face just to get a quick internet click or a "like" on a selfie. Artists tirelessly pour themselves into their work with the wrong intention of "making it big". Eventually, to me in my contemplative, it seemed redundant.. and overrated an somewhat self absorbed. We've become reliant on the tempormental worship of the "right swipe" and a lot of us lose the drive when we realize that a lot of people might not be looking. We get upset if others don't notice and were afraid of being forgotten.

But we're all evidently forgotten. We all fade in and fade out into existence. And if you're constantly staying plugged into your phone or computer, updating everyone on every single status of what's going on in your life, you're missing out on what's important- living in the moment, which is truly be the drive of the art- being self aware enough to make beauty out of a reflective experience.

So, I left, I quit sharing, quit uploading, because I think I was one of these people doing it for the wrong reasons. I had an aunt who would ask me "Why I wasn't famous yet" or have people tell me "You have beautiful talent, you should do something with that." What does that even mean? Why does your something have to be bigger than what I consider my accomplished somethings? That's when I realized that no one will ever understand the beautiful things that I have experienced in my personal music better than myself. My travels, my random song sessions with strangers, the bad ass shows I played in coffee shops that my aunt was never there for or the rooms I've filled with friends and fans closer than family.. I HAVE done something.

No matter how many times I try to click and share and keep you up in the loop, most of you will forget anyway. And that shouldn't matter. Because my experiences are the driving force and if I'm judging myself too harshly on how much internet cred I have, then I probably was trying too hard in the first place.

I make music because I love it. Not because I'm trying to prove a point to anyone else other than myself. Once I got back to that point, I decided to take on my latest project, neo-soul/funk band The Blacklights.

Blacklights were doing great, but unfortunately, a surprise exit from our drummer left me again in a limbo- asking myself one more time, "Do I really need to be dependent on others to validate my love of music?" The answer is no. So whether you read this or not, or I do in two years, I will still be making music. Whether this gets 0 shares or 1000, I'll still be jamming.

My reflections have eventually brought me to a place in life where I desire to combine my love for performance and music with my desire to help others. That has lead me to seek a degree in Music Therapy. Unfortunately, there have been several roadblocks with starting school, but that doesn't stop a hungry student.. and I have been travelling and researching and reading up on how our mind and bodies can achieve wellness through the arts. So, I might completely revamp my websites.. delete my Reverbnation, focus in less on an attention-seeking approach to my art and more of a marriage between my holistic findings and my performance. There's a lot to share with this, and this new perspective is the spark I need. Til next time. M

Big Changes

The road is starting to twist and the winds of change are pointing in a new and exciting direction... as with every encounter in our lives that involves us embracing change there is that nervous excitement and a knot that builds up with any of us. My relationship with my home town is bittersweet. I always have come back to this place for support, advice, and to be close to my friends... but the last thing I want to do is meet up with the big 3-0 and still be here. Danny and I are musically evolving in separate directions and also personally as well. I'm going to miss the fun we had in California, but there are some big grown up girl things I need to do on the other coast that involve me searching on my own. There comes a point as a performer when you have to step back from what you are trying to accomplish and ask yourself if you are making music and writing for yourself or for the people you are trying to prove something to. I think at this point , I've been playing so long that I've blurred the two and had to step back and distinguish where I stood. I started getting angry at failed projects, because they weren't evolving into the visions that I wanted to present to other people. The friends that I enjoyed playing music with were becoming harder to work with. I guess it just boils down to not being able to fit a square peg into a round hole... Just because someone's your friend and plays music, doesn't mean that musically it will work out. Which brings me to my next point- a promised land- a future all to my own... The embracement of my music as more than just a performance, but the embodiment of my art and my passion all around. I'm auditioning for Converse College in South Carolina for the Music Therapy program, and see that a slight change of scene and and adjustment of my energy placement might be what I need. I don't have writers block to say the least bit! I just need to find a team of highly motivated individuals that are willing to put in a bit of work beyond a jam session! (Sounds like an ad placement!) Honestly, Quad Cities. I'm not mad we couldn't make magic the last year I was here. This served as a nice break to listen to the noise you've been making, and to learn from you and to develop my own concepts a bit further. Time to branch out.... The answers are out there, and I'm ready to search. Plus, I have been listening to a lot of really great solo artists doing some fantastic things with loop pedals and production... so, either way, watch out!

Iowa Public Radio

EmJay is pleased to announce that we will be featured on Iowa Public Radio recorded out of Iowa City after the beginning of next year. It's a real honor to be heard and recognized as a diverse voice representing my community. The band continues to grow and I am very greatful for everyone who supports the music both new and old fans alike!

I am also excited to announce that I personally will be auditioning for Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusettes the first week in December!

Okay, now that the initial butterflies from all this exciting news is gone, I have a lot of work to do. These are both serious steps both for my music career and my professional career. I'm both terrified and excited at the opportunities that await us in the next year... this is truly going to be a milestone for me!

Phew! Keep checking out the page because I want our BEST of the BEST to be up here to represent what we have currently going on as a band. I mean, NO SLACKING ALLOWED. As a matter of fact, I just signed a contract to myself stating that I am not to drink any alcohal until my audition is over, otherwise it's 100 crunches and 100 pushups in my hang over misery. That's to ensure that I am not wasting one minute prepping for these important events. (And have the positive consequence of a better body!)

So, what do you get as you, the listener? Look out for 2 new recordings and a new video by the beginning of December. It's going to take a lot of work, but hey, doesn't everything that's of good quality? Here we go!!

Home is Where The Heart Is

After a successful 8 month tour from the midwest out to the West Coast, we are back! I want to take the time to say thank you to all of the amazing people from my past and that I met on the road. It means a lot to me that you have supported our dream and encouraged me to keep following it. Living in your van for almost a year doesn't appeal to everybody, but for me, traveling to the coast to road trip and play my own music has been a dream of mine since I was 16.

We went from busking on the streets to opening for famous bands and hanging out with some of the best players of our time. I had to learn more about myself on this trip then ever before in my life, and I have no regrets at all. I suggest that every musician give it a go at least once.

I think that the only thing from keeping some of my peers from doing it is their own self- depleting mentality. It's completely possible, and it's completely fun. You won't regret it, it's an adventure every day!

Now to take a break- revamp my set.. write, synthesize new sounds... I'm also going to try my hand at "mastering" this social media thing. So many.. instagram, twitter, linkd in, soundcloud, Facebook, youtube.. I need some help!! Maybe I should start with my email list first. Or make a really stupid viral gimick video lip syncing to Carly Rae Jepson.

The Van Diaries

Cenral California has been a blast! I guess it just takes a leap of faith and a change of scene to get a fresh idea of what you want to do with your life. I'll be honest, I was losing a little hope back home. I was thinking "am I like those kids on American Idol that go for audions; are tone deaf, but REALLY believe they sound good and that Simon's got it wrong?" We've all been there.. playing to empty houses, people shouting at you to play covers instead of originals, dickholes who try to play your insrument in the middle of the song. So, I was actually SUPRISED when people responded here. It was like I could breathe a hugh *sigh*. Okay, I don't really suck as much as I thought.

The keys is persistence. When you get older, you realize that life ebbs and flows and has it's highs and lows- and that the world isn't really out to get you. Shit happens to everybody. So, when something bad happens, I just remember that some blessing will be just around the corner. If I have a streak of bad, I know that things are about to get really good. It may not be true 100% percent of the time, but that mentality is what keeps me going. It's what keeps me going into strange venues, walking right up to the owner and saying "I want a gig here. What do I do?"

So Danny and I are taking a break from San Luis Obispo for right now- and then we hit it hard.. We gigged almost every weekend there for the last 2 months, and now we are visiting his family in Grass Valley before heading to a Cali Regional Rainbow Gathering.

It is going to be nice to be away from the city amongst goofy hippie kids like me. The ones that society thinks are weird are the one's that I love the most. Then we will be back in SLO for about a week and a half of HEAVY DUTY music work. Between recording and performances, we are booked solid for about 9 days. We then have a break for about 4 before we open for...get this.. FLOBOTS at Slo Brew. This is one of the biggest opportunities I've ever had in my music career. Maybe I'm overexaggerating, but to know that a personal favorite band of mine listened to my work and selected ME to be their opener is enough to make any van-living, traveling-broke-ass musician feel like they are on top of the world.

Keep Rockin' and remember, "The only difference between a dream and reality is the hard work you put into it!" - EmJay

EmJay's Songwriting Challenge!

So, I'm reinventing myself... my old songs have been great to get me thus far, and have carried my ass in more shows that I could hope for up to this point! I love my original set, but it's time to put majority of them into retirement (sad story) I can only imagine what Journey or The Eagles feel like playing songs that they wrote 40 years ago when they go on tour!! The reason I am retiring these songs is not because I am sick of them, it is because I am in a new chapter of my life. The more I play those old songs, the more I realize how far I've come since the days of teenage angst and abusive relationships. Hell, I'm in California! Time to write about fun in the sun, chasing the dream, travelling...

So, I've made a challenge for myself and anybody that wishes to join me. The goal is to write 15 songs in 30 days! It sounds tough at first, but stop and think about it- us songwriters have more material just begging to be used in the scrap pages and napkins lying around our house (or van!) This isn't a competition, it's an excercize to push yourself as a songwriter to keep on that creative hustle!

It's easy to say "I let the songwriting process come naturally" and never give it a second thought to push yourself to WORK at it- just a little bit.

Join me! Let's share videos and music. It can be any type of creative material; guitar, electronic, poetry, percussion, a cappella vocals, whatever! Just turn those wheels! Good luck, check out song #1 in my video log. It's called "Shy Guy"


I've been spending some time reflecting on my collection of lyrics... I've been reading and analyzing them, and taking myself back to where and when I was when I wrote them. My collection of originals is my life abridged; and I still have the original sheets of paper that the songs were composed on from the time I was 12 years old and on. It's like viewing myself from a bird's- eye point of view at this point. I can literally witness the transitions I have went through from jr. high, to high school, to college, and beyond now in my travels. I can see how the compositions have developed melodically and grown in complexity as I was studying my ass off trying to stay afloat in music theory class. After all, the best way to learn is to apply the lessons to current situations.

I have had many people tell me(jokingly) that I write depressing music. Most of my lyrics are pretty intense and exposed. My subjects range from drug use to killing my ex husband to current events and religious politics. But that chapter in my life is now closed. I am viewing it with a sense of security, in that I can always visit it in my memories, but that a new muse is forming.

California is a promised land for me. It has been more than a destination, but an opportunity. I'm composing less on my self (dispair) and more on the freedom I now feel. I am writing about the stories of others; the contemplation of simple ranches existing at the bases of mountains, of travelling and seeing the wonders of the world.

I am pondering things more than fame- more than trying to prove myself worthy in other people's eyes by scoring a hit or landing a record deal so I can say "I told you so!" and more on what this is doing for my development as a person.

I have been humbled by meeting exceptionally talented artists who are faaar more seasoned than I am who are just trying to make it. Just like me... I have attended music therapy workshops intended to keep my head straight on what it is I need to do with my life, and begun looking into where I want to go for my BA-MT.

I will also be taking a different approach to my composition and expanding what I have been doing into music fit for indie films, and selling some of my material. (I know I can create catchy music!)

Funny how much can happen between 19 and 23.

New EP release and free cookies!

Will be releasing the EP "Move The Moon" along side of the November 30th Show at 4Play, then heading South West for a NM, AZ, and CA tour.

Trying to hookup with other artists and venues from the other side of the country is proving harder than I thought it would, but I'd expect a little hassle... I've never done this before, and I have no idea what I'm doing.

Older people keep telling me to do all this when I am young, and give me Kudos for being so brave and outgoing. I don't see why living a dream should be hard for anybody. You only get one chance at this life, and if you never ask, the answer is always going to be no!

I'm expecting to learn a lot on this journey, but having fun is the most important thing. I don't want to get angry or pissed off if my business proposals don't work out. At that point, my music will have become a job and not a passion.. which I never want to happen. I don't need to prove to the world what I already know about myself, do I? Why, then, do I feel the necessity to do so? Who are all these people besides just... people? This will be an experience indeed.

Missouri Mini Tour

I've said goodbye to the Quad Cities at the moment, and have hit the Lake of the Ozark area. Funny thing about summer tourist towns is that they slow down in the winter! I picked a funny time to come down here because half of the places I was told to look into are closed for seasonal. I've still had some free time to catch tarantellas, hike, play a festival, and explore some caves .Fortunately, there have been a few wineries, and Lenny Mink and the Lost and Founds, who have me sitting in on keyboards and synth for the time that I have been down here. It's been a privilege to play with such experienced musicians. I have been able to see what the music industry is like, especially on the business aspect of it all. There is much more to learn, and I'm glad I have a good start!

EmJay 3