S3 E3: EMMA KLEIN – SINGER/SONGWRITER
Soul meets beachy meets jazz. Interesting. That’s how Emma defined her musical style. Born and raised on everything from Sinatra to Jack Johnson, Emma has clearly had an open mind from the beginning. She said that she always knew music was her calling, and her time on American Idol only reinforced that.
Having focused on music and stage performing since high school, Emma has learned that she strives for human connection. Even when faced with nerves before or during a performance, she has learned to literally take a step forward when she feels like taking a step back. It brings her confidence level back up and forces her to reengage with that audience she so much wants to create an experience for.
We asked Emma what will define success for her going forward. Her answer was simple and wonderful: connecting with people and writing music. Everyone has their own take on success, but isn’t what Emma said really what creativity boils down to? Doing something that inspires you and then having it move others.
Here are Three Big How’s from a woman who is truly a shining light in this world:
THREE BIG HOW’S
THINK LIKE A WRITER
Notice things. Even in the small, mundane things, you can find a spark. Keep your ears open and perked up. Emma uses journaling and voice memos to record thoughts on topics of any and all kinds. She also does stream of consciousness writing in the morning to release thoughts and sometimes capture unexpected inspiration. Yet another tool she uses is “object writing,” which is taking an object or thing—like the wind—and doing a sensory examination of that thing for 10 minutes. What does it look, sound, feel, smell, and taste like? All of these exercises can result in lyrics or ideas for entire songs.
MAKE IT ABOUT THE SONG
Having spent a lot of time working with or around music artists, Emma has learned to observe those artists and enrich herself. She can identify something great about an artist and then try to adopt it herself. In the end, this tactic is all about “The Song,” which means collecting knowledge and ideas that help Emma become a better songwriter or performer. One incredible insight she shared was this: Just because someone is really good doesn’t make you less good. That was an extremely mature approach that turns what could be disappointing—an artist performance that you feel is better than what you could do—into a growth experience…simply learning ways to grow that will result in better songs.
DON’T BE SELFISH
Emma says collaboration is the hardest, most challenging, and best thing an artist can do. She admitted that, in the past, she has wanted badly to fully own her creative output…being fully responsible for its beauty. What she has learned is that creativity is a shared energy. Ideas you would never think of actually make something more beautiful.