Brian: Now, let me give you a proper introduction here. So, on DCmusicrocks.com, we are shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene. Emma G is a unique combination of Adele, Pink, Tracy Chapman, and Alanis Morrissette. She talked about it earlier, it's that amazing combination of all those people. It's like all my favorite people wrapped into one, and then Emma G was born. Which is- No wonder I love you so much.
Emma G: Aw, man.
Brian: It's one of those things. She's a singer, songwriter out of- What part of the city are you?
Emma G: I'm originally from New Zealand, obviously.
Emma G: But I now call Brightwood my home.
Brian: Brightwood? Which part?
Emma G: Which nobody knows where that is.
Brian: Yeah, where is Brightwood?
Emma G: It's not Brentwood. It's not ... 'cause I'm...
Brian: Thanks for clarifying. Okay.
Emma G: So I'm a mile from Takoma.
Brian: I got it. Okay. So up in the northeast, general. [crosstalk 00:00:48]
Emma G: North west. North west.
Brian: Technically you're right. It's northwest.
Emma G: Yeah, it's northwest.
Brian: It's the west of the capitol. So northwest, but up near Takoma and that area. I got it. She described her sound as a soul/pop/rock. And with gutsy vocals and inspiring lyrics, Emma G's melodies hammer home the messages of empowerment, love ,and respect. And thanks for being here.
Emma G: Thanks.
Brian: I've been a fan for well over a year now, so it's a treat to actually get to share you here on the show with.
Emma G: It's funny because I feel like we've been cyber stalking one another for the last year.
Brian: This is true.
Emma G: I'm like ... I now know your face. This is exciting!
Brian: That's right. I was just gonna say we just met for the first time today in person. But otherwise, yeah.
Emma G: I have to say though, thank you for the hug.
Brian: Of course.
Emma G: And I'm so glad that you knew that I like hugs.
Brian: I was gonna say if you didn't know by the way ... Talk to people about hugs. You give hugs at metros. Talk about the hug thing.
Emma G: I am the hug dealer. Let's be real for a minute.
Brian: The hug dealer? Some people are drug dealers, you're a hug dealer? Oh my God.
Emma G: Endorphins make you happy
Brian: This is like PG radio version of what a drug dealer is. Oh well the edited version, we'll call it a hug dealer.
Emma G: No seriously. I mean The Washingtonian magazine, when they named me as one of the best of DC last year, they made mention of me giving hugs daily. And it's true. I don't know if it's because I'm from New Zealand or I'm just some hippy chick or what. For me, music is all about connection, right? And what better way to manifest that connection than through a high five or a hug, something to just be like, hey, I'm a real person, you're a real person, we're enjoying this moment together. Let's hug it out, bro.
Brian: Hug it out. So next time you see Emma, don't be shy. Hug it out. Oh my God, I feel like that's almost like a hashtag or you should wear that as a T-shirt.
Emma G: Hug it out, bro?
Brian: Don't be shy, hug it out. Or hug it out, bro, something. That would be so good.
Emma G: Oh my God, yes.
Brian: So you play around. You said you do this full time, so talk about the places that you play, or where will they see you around time?
Emma G: Before I moved here, I discovered Amanda Palmer, who is originally from Boston. And she made a career for herself as a street performer, we call it busking in New Zealand.
Brian: Busking. Got it. I've heard that term.
Emma G: Not bussing. I don't waitress. Busking.
Brian: No, no, no. Busking with a k. B-u-s-k. Busking.
Emma G: It's a very gendered term.
Brian: For those persons who don't know, busking means you're playing outside with a hat out or at a metro stop or different places around and busking.
Emma G: So I moved here in November 2015 and just was like stuff it, I'm gonna try my hand at busking. And that's how I've managed to do everything that I've done. I've met some amazing humans, including my partner. We met while I was busking.
Emma G: Yep, 'cause that's romantic.
Brian: Yeah, there's nothing like playing outside at whatever time in the morning that was ... there you go, cute girl playing music.
Emma G: Especially because everywhere in the western world and in America at the moment that seems, nobody likes mornings, right? And so, I'm a Crossfitter, so I'm used to getting up super early and working out, but now instead of working out super early, I just go and sing and hopefully make people's days start better, and it's super fun!
Brian: Do you have hours, or certain stops? What's that like?
Emma G: Yeah, so I have a certain rotation that I try and keep up unless it's raining or unless somebody... Every now and then, you get somebody who isn't aware of my schedule that comes in, and that's cool. We're all about community, we're all about sharing the love, and what not, but generally speaking, Tuesdays I'm at Federal Triangle metro station, Wednesdays I'm at Foggy Bottom GWU Hospital, Thursdays L'Enfant Plaza, Fridays at Farragut North, and then Saturdays, I'm sometimes at the Silver Spring Market. And I do other [inaudible 00:04:56] markets as well.
Brian: Yeah! And that's mornings? Or evenings? Or rush hours? Anytime?
Emma G: 6:30 in the morning, darling.
Emma G: 6:30 in the morning.
Brian: Every morning?
Emma G: Every morning.
Brian: God, Emma I am so impressed with the dedication here. Holy smokes.
Emma G: It makes for a really fun evening night life. I'm like, right! Ten o'clock-bedtime!
Brian: Time to go to bed. I gotta work in the morning. Yep. Absolutely. Oh god, that's funny.
Emma G: Such a rockstar.
Brian: Yeah, you are. Oh, my god. Which is evidenced by the album and all the other stuff you have going on.
Emma G: And I wish I drank coffee. Legitimately, I wish that I could use that as a vice to keep me awake. But no, I'm just a really big fan of nana naps.
Brian: Nano naps?
Emma G: Nana naps. In New Zealand, we call grandmas "nanas."
Brian: Oh, I see.
Emma G: Is that not an American thing? Nobody knows?
Brian: No, I haven't heard that. But say more! So a nana nap means...
Emma G: A nana nap is like a quick power nap.
Brian: That's where nana falls asleep and her chin drops to her chest for five minutes and then she wakes back up
Emma G: And starts drooling, and it's really awkward.
Brian: Yeah? Okay. Oh, my god. One day, you should livestream your nana nap. I don't know.
Emma G: I don't think that that is safe.
Brian: No, no, no. That's a terrible idea. Nevermind. Terrible idea.
Emma G: Oh goodness.
Brian: Oh, that's funny. Speaking of this, talk about what's a funny or memorable moment that comes to mind when you think about the busking that you were doing. What comes to mind when you think about that?
Emma G: A funny moment?
Emma G: I don't really, I can't think of any funny moments 'cause every moment that I've had that's memorable has mostly been really just heartwarming. The most heartwarming moment I had was-I was singing all the time at Foggy Bottom on Wednesday mornings and then I was in Iowa for Christmas 'cause that's where my Norwegian family, I know, obviously I'm Norwegian.
Emma G: Obviously. My Norwegian family live in Iowa, so I was away for the Christmas holidays, and I came back and I tried out a different station one day an this woman came rushing up to me and handed me an envelope. And she said, "I've been looking for you everywhere!" And then she's like, "I've gotta go. Thank you. Bye." And I'm like sitting going, this is America, and she's given me an unmarked envelope. What do I do?
Brian: And we've been talking about ISIS! Should I be worried? Okay.
Emma G: ISIS? What? Okay. Anyways, so I opened the envelope and she'd given me a Starbucks gift card, which was lovely. But she had typed out this A4, sorry what do you call it? The standard legal, letter size page typed letter highlighting everything that I had given her over the last six months.
Brian: Holy smokes.
Emma G: She apparently survives on four or five hours of sleep a night. She works too much, she's got two children that she raises by herself. Her lights in her life that she highlighted were God, her children, and my music on Wednesday mornings.
Emma G: And so I just kind of cried a little bit and then got a tattoo in her honor.
Emma G: Part of this is for her, so yeah, that's my most memorable moment while busking.
Brian: Wow. Gosh. That's amazing. I love that story.
Emma G: Thank you.
Brian: And what about, so now outside of busking and music, talk about you on the personal side. Hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Emma G: I sleep when I can.
Brian: Yep, okay.
Emma G: It's important. Like I said, I do CrossFit. Health and well-being is really important to me. But I'm also really lucky that I'm in a relationship with somebody who is also self-employed, so we spend our days trying not to kill each other. No, I'm kidding.
Brian: Well, if you're both at home. I understand.
Emma G: Yeah, we work really hard throughout the day and swap notes and he's writing a book and doing all kinds of empowerment stuff, and I'm writing music and doing all kinds of empowerment stuff, so it aligns really well. We're planning a tour at the moment, and yeah, just kind of trying to balance social life and sunshine and Vitamin D with sleep and health/fitness and watching movies and trying to stay sane. Meditation's become a really big part of my life at the moment.
Emma G: Cooking, gardening.
Emma G: I've discovered the love of gardening.
Brian: Nice. How does that manifest itself? Does that mean you started with tomato plants? What does that actually mean?
Emma G: No, we started with-I can't remember what they're called. We bought some trees and planted them in front of Mark's house. So we've just been slowly pecking away at making the house look pretty.
Brian: That's awesome.
Emma G: And getting really dirty while doing it.
Brian: Absolutely. Oh, my god, getting dirty in the garden. Excellent.
Emma G: It's frightening because at least in New Zealand, you don't have anything that can kill you. Here, you have snakes and you've got poisonous spiders. Part of me is like, it's okay, I can do this barehanded or whatever, and them I'm like, oh, there's things that can kill me.
Brian: Come bite me. Yeah. Oh my god.
Emma G: There's that.
Brian: That would be a funny thing. One of my favorite questions to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Emma G: Floss.
Brian: Say more on that. Where does that come from?
Emma G: Because I'm in the middle of getting...In America, it would have cost me fifteen thousand dollars to get my teeth fixed. I'm not going through that system. I'm actually going to Canada back and forth. It's cheaper. A lot cheaper.
Brian: To get dentist stuff done.
Emma G: Yeah. So I've had two root canals and I've had to get fourteen fillings.
Brian: And if you would have flossed, that could have been avoided.
Emma G: I feel like that's probably not the whole solution, but I feel like it probably contributes a lot.
Brian: Been a big part of it.
Emma G: So if we're on that token, then I guess just don't procrastinate stuff.
Brian: Ah, I see.
Emma G: If you're having an issue. That's life advice for anything.
Brian: That's true.
Emma G: Musical, business. Don't procrastinate.
Emma G: It's not going to go away.
Brian: Stay on top of it.
Emma G: Just do it.
Brian: There was that song, god, years ago. Fifteen, twenty years ago that was like-if you could offer one piece of advice, wear sunscreen. And I feel like you just hit us with another one of those. Floss!
Emma G: There was a fantastic remix of that speech. Wear sunscreen. Who was that? Yeah. It's on YouTube, though. It's beautiful.
Brian: There you go.
Emma G: It's like this Moby-esque kind of speech online. Wearing sunscreen and life advice.
Brian: Yeah. Absolutely.
Emma G: Sorry.
Brian: God, it was a graduation class. I remember. I'm going to have to go back and listen to it now that we're talking about it.
Emma G: Yes. Wear sunscreen.
Emma G: And floss.
Brian: That's a good one.