It’s one thing to admire an artist’s work from afar, behind a screen, or in the crowd of a show. But it is something else entirely to share a personal connection with an inspiring artist — for myself and singer-songwriter Emma Spartz, that personal connection was SPEA-A 236/336: Music Industry I/II at university. In a classroom full of bright young talent, eager to learn more about the business of music, Emma stood out particularly for her unique vision and persistence in her own music career. Crafting a sonic blend of dream-pop, R&B, jazz, and soft rock, her debut All Along I was Blooming is a beautifully vulnerable introduction to the world. I can guarantee that her career is going to bloom (pardon the pun), especially considering that she paid closer attention during class than I did.
What are you playing for the Friday night pre-game?
I usually find myself playing something more calming but still upbeat during a pregame; something like Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun, Solange, The Velvet Underground; anything to get me in a confident and happy headspace.
What about a quiet Sunday morning?
Probably some jazz— “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis, Billie Holliday’s “Solitude”, or if I’m wanting something more modern I often go for Khruangbin’s The Universe Smiles Upon You or Mordechai, none of these records will ever get old for me, and will always keep me present and reflective. (Which is what I need on a Sunday morning).
Who are you listening to that should be bigger?
Wendy Lane – they are such a wonderful band with such a unique and beautiful sound—their main singer, Gigi, is now making her own music under that name, and I find her lyricism incredibly inspiring.
Which song directly influences a song by Emma Spartz?
For a lot of my album, I found much influence through Willow Smith. Her self titled album, WILLOW, as well as her experimentation with vocal layers and melodies has become very influential and inspiring within my path of musical growth over the years. (Author’s note: I find this influence particularly present on the closer to her debut album, “The Rain”).
What was the song you listened to in the 8th grade that you still listen to today?
“Talk Show Host “by Radiohead. When I was younger, all of my older brother’s music synced to my iPod Nano, so that’s what I would listen to on the school bus every morning — lots of Radiohead, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay and the occasional System of a Down.
What’s the best cover you’ve heard?
I heard Susan Tedeschi’s live cover of “Angel From Montgomery” and I bawled my eyes out.
What is your guilty pleasure song?
Most definitely “Handlebars” by Flobots. I know every single word to that song!
Is there a track your friends have made?
I’ve been lucky enough to have met so many talented friends and artists throughout my high school and college years—it’s tough to boil it down to one but I will list some names of the many talented people who have touched my heart— Sophie DeFrench, Turner Dunlop, Shew, Kylie Dillon (Kyl!e), Kaleb Weisenfluh, The Matriarch, Victor EMG, Julia Rusyniak, micah bachrach, Too Many Cooks, and so many more.
Listen to Emma Spartz’s debut album, All Along I Was Blooming, on all major streaming services.