My name is Emily Sears and I am a 24 year old singer and songwriter from Australia trying to make it out here in the States. I’d like to share the story of my time in LA in so far. It’s been incredible- both frustrating and fulfilling. Both surreal and realistic.
Being from Australia, it can be difficult in the US to be taken seriously as an musical Artist- especially given Australia’s distance from the States (geographically and musically). Add to that I’ve come from the modeling world as well. I understand that each aspiring artist in this industry may face similar prejudices when trying to break- whether it’s looks, ethnicity, circle of friends, economic status etc etc. Often talent is overlooked on first impression. In my case, I’m well aware that there are a multitude of models who have tried to cut records or demos- only to fail miserably. I’m well aware that these are the types and clichés that producers, A&R reps and working musicians roll their eyes and groan at. “Oh, I’m a model/singer/dancer/actress/…waitress”. Ugh. Groan. Neeext!
And I’m well aware of deluded models who think that anybody can sing with auto-tune and a dominating beat. But that’s not me.
I had studied under the Speech Level Singing Technique for many years by Seth Riggs and his staff. I had studied a Music Management course. I had a made a lot of friends in the industry back home and some abroad. But was this enough to be able to begin to cut a demo in the world’s most competitive market?
My musical tastes are very eclectic reflecting different sides to my personality and experiences. I guess you could say I’m not a loyalist to one genre. It’s more about creating music sourcing from a number of styles and a love affair with the great unknown. I was interested in making great pop music with an RnB, soul and hip hop influences. Basically songs that are fun to dance to put also have some amazing ballads that I could tear up vocally- and also talk about my real life experiences within. If asked, I guess a relevant comparison for me is Fergie.
So with that in mind, I set off for LA a little over a month ago to start my journey.
Before I left, I began to hit up a few producers and songwriters on Facebook and via friends I had previously made in LA. Some producers simply didn’t write back. Some replied saying “you can’t be a singer you don’t look like one.” Great. Thanks a lot. But there were some producers and songwriters who did. I started to converse with them, answering their questions and telling them about my influences- from Etta James and Marilyn Monroe records, to India Arie, SIA, Jill Scott, MIA and Alicia Keys and then again to Hole and Ben Harper, and of course a lot of hip hop such as Jay-Z, Run DMC, Tupac and lesser known artists such as Aesop Rock and DJ Shadow.
I talked about my ideas and tried to organize meetings with them. I answered their questions about why I wanted to make the music I wanted to make. “What have you experienced, what do you have to say?” was a question I was asked a lot by producers and writers. I had been through a lot, however to share this with strangers so that I could justify myself and my ‘credibility’ was hard.
But I told them.
Okay, so let’s flash back for a second:
I experienced quite a tumultuous time in my teens. From when my best friend’s father murdered her mother when we were 12, to my own violent father, to having no financial support from my family. Eventually, I moved in with troubled best friend and tried exotic dancing to make ends meet, she then eventuall