Peachy Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with the young and rising Americana musician, EmiSunshine, to hear more about growing up while being in the music industry, her most recent album ‘Family Wars’, and much more.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into making music?
Sure! My family is steeped in music. Dad is a studio guy and plays bass and drums, and Mom is a writer. My great grandmother, Wanda Matthews, used to sing on the Tennessee Barn Dance and even opened for the Rolling Stones once. My grandmother, Patsy Hamilton, was also a great singer, who used to have a gospel group with my dad called Perfect Joy. She taught me to harmonize before I could even talk! I started my first band when I was about seven, which I named the Pig Band, after my pet pig. It’s like I was bound to do this!
Listen to ‘Crimson Moon’ by EmiSunshine while reading the interview:
You have at the age of 15 released your 6th studio album “Family Wars.” How has the experience of maturing in the span of 6 albums as a musician been for you?
When I started, I was just beginning to play instruments! Spending time in studios, I have observed what everyone does—not just the other musicians, but the engineers and producers. Over time, I slowly began co-producing. Through the years, I’ve learned how to get the sounds I want by teaching those on my team to do the things my ears want to hear. It’s an art. I’m learning!
Could you elaborate a little bit on the themes you explore on your most recent album “Family Wars”?
The songs deal with different issues, but overall, the album is about different types of conflict. The song “Scarecrow” deals with domestic violence. It’s a harsh-handed judgement kind of song, but so many women relate to it— kind of sad, really. “Jonas Black” is a cautionary tale of what happens if we don’t try to see each other’s point of view. The title track, “Family Wars,” is about the kinds of conflicts that a lot of families deal with, like depression, addiction, and such. I just kind of write what I see going on in the world around me.
Do you have a specific song on the album that means something special to you?
Each song means something different on a personal level. One of my favorites is a song I wrote with Jim Lauderdale called “There’s Got To Be More.” It’s an upbeat song about evolving as a person. I sing it with Jim as a duet on the album. Working with him was one of those dream-come-true moments for me!
There are a lot of exciting things happening for you; you’ve been named one of Rolling Stone’s “Ten New Country Artists You Need to Know.” What are your ambitions for the near future?
The Rolling Stone designation came as a huge surprise in 2017! I was honored to be recognized as a new country artist, but I’m just as much an Americana artist. I’d love to find my place in the Americana world. That’s been my heart ever since I first heard Buddy Miller when I was six years old. Many of my contemporaries are being heard thanks to the Americana Music Association.