Interview by Scott Preston
19 year old Emily Elbert is a singer/songwriter with deep musical roots and a love for creative expression. Her music has delighted audiences and music critics alike with her jazz-infused sound, which she describes as “acoustic soul-folk.” Fresh off a northeast run with G Love and Special Sauce and a showcase spot at the Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis, Elbert is already making a name for herself. Her love of music from around the world, and distinctive combination of jazz, folk, soul, blues, and pop creates a sound that engages the hearts, minds, and ears of listeners around the globe. Emily blends a hip musical perspective with an in-depth knowledge of classic favorites to create unique vocal and guitar arrangements.
Cincy Groove: What kind of music was playing in your house when you were growing up?
Emily Elbert: My dad is a killer pianist, and he introduced me to a lot of different styles - one of the ones that comes to mind first is Brazilian jazz, especially Antonio Carlos Jobim. I love that guy. I cover one of his tunes at shows sometimes, Triste. My mom was real involved in helping introduce my ears to some nice things - James Taylor is a big one, and I was real real into oldies radio. Like 50s & 60s pop. My parents got sick of it I listened to it so much. Ha.
Cincy Groove: When did you first pick up the guitar? the first song you learned to play?
Emily Elbert: I grew up playing piano pretty competitively. But, being a middle schooler, I needed to rebel, and the practice schedule didn't appeal to me too much. So dropped it for guitar when I was about 14 or so. I became totally infatuated with it. I think the day I got it I didn't come out of my room for like 10 hours. I don't really remember my first song, I just wanted to try everything. My first performance was at this retirement party for my school librarian. I played a Ben Kweller song. That was also the first time I sang in front of anyone.
Cincy Groove: Are you working on any new projects?
Emily Elbert: Absolutely. This summer is actually real weird - I tried to (almost) completely clear my schedule so that I could clear my head and write. Got a lot of new tunes goin right now, and will hopefully have a new album out by the end of the year.
Cincy Groove: Who are some of your influences?
Emily Elbert: I love Stevie Wonder, and Joni Mitchell, and Paul Simon, and the Beatles. Also Bob Marley, Incubus, John Mayer, Hendrix, Aretha, and Jobim of course. I love 60s folk rock like CSNY. And funk and blues. And Bobby McFerrin. And there's a new woman out right now named Esperanza Spalding, and she's got the freaking Midas touch. Beautiful. I also flip for a good pop song. I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, and I love Justin Timberlake. The guy puts on a stellar show.
Read the full Interview here