A CONVERSATION WITH: Val Emmich Before the Show

Took a 45 min. drive, headed east to Athens, on an overcast, grey, mucky kind of day. Rain pouring, patches of fog on Highway 129. Front window defroster acting up... it was not a drive I would usually want to make under those conditions.

Then again... this wasn't just another rainy day in Georgia. Nope.

I was on my way to see Val Emmich, whose performance that night was the midpoint of his East Coast tour. Athens was show #2 for GA, playing Atlanta a couple nights before. From his twitterz and his manager, I learned he wasn't feeling too good. But as they say... the show must go on. And Val most certainly did.

We ran into each other, just after I arrived at the Melting Point. Expecting me, we kindly made introductions. I then waited inside to do the interview, while he went to get something for sound check.

Mind you, I was already excited to do the interview and see the show. Getting to experience sound check for almost an hour was like a little bonus. I'm a big fan of 'behind-the-scenes' type of stuff. This article, hopefully will give you a 'behind-the-scenes' look into this incredibly talented artist.

Now, without further delay...

On being a creative multi-talent.

Val, if you didn't already know, also writes and acts. He explained that when he was younger, everything was all about the music and only the music. As he got older, he didn't want to limit himself to just one creative area.

I'm attracted to new challenges. I feel alive when I can test myself and any limitations.
Going with what he feels at the moment, Val explores his talents in creative ways. Right now, he's touring and promoting his latest album, Little Daggers. He's been seen in such shows as "30 Rock" and "Ugly Betty" (which also featured his song "Snowy Day"). To top it off, he's also completed his first novel!

According to Val, sometimes it can be hard to juggle many areas at once, each one demanding it's own focus from him. Fortunately, his album was already complete by the time he was filming "Ugly Betty" so in the end, it worked itself out.

Working on other things allows me to appreciate the music more, every time I come back to it. It creates balance. As with any area of life, balance is important to have.
On staying connected and keeping grounded.

I got the original go ahead to do this interview from Val himself. After exchanging a few emails via mysapce, I decided to ask him and he agreed. YAY! And yes, it's really him responding back to your messages and comments. :)

I was delighted to learn that he's just as easy to talk with in person. It was very comfortable... like good friends sharing a conversation on common interests. I mention this because it is a huge part of why I enjoy his music. I love when there is a connection made between the artist and the listener. It's key and Val agrees.

I have this sense of responsibility to be in touch with the people who are helping and supporting me.
If you only look at the glitz and glamour, there is plenty of excitement in the fame and recognition that comes with this career path. That's not always the case, and it can be unhealthy to only have that perception. Whether entertaining the masses, or just one individual, it's essential to not let it go to one's head.

It's important for me to say 'normal'. Work life can be weird sometimes. It helps to remember where you come from.

On inspiration and the nature of his music.

Val Emmich has stories to tell. His music and lyrics bring keen understanding of those stories. They can be drawn from his personal experience, or from others. Regardless of their origin, when he shares these stories he makes them his own.
I always write in first person. Even if the song is telling someone else's story, I need to own the emotions involved.
Empathy, by definition, denotes a deep emotional understanding of another's feelings or problems. Val has this trait and utilizes it well in his music.
I'm very sensitive. I'm the guy that if someone feels weird or awkward, I want to go help them out.

There's a freedom that comes with getting through struggles and things that are broken. It helps create a good connection with the audience.

On how music affects him.

I love the music that just 'hits you'. I look at the music that I fell in love with, and what it did to me. I want to do that for others as well.
And that he does. One of his songs hits a very personal note with me. The first time I heard it, I cried. The song moved me so much and helped bring a clearer understanding of someone close to my heart. It felt good to be able to share that with him. Appreciative that his music makes a difference, Val shared a few final thoughts with me.

No matter how much I'm told people are connecting with my music, I still feel as if inside me, there is a neverending hole to fill. I still feel the need to connect even more. Is it just drive? A flaw? I'm not sure what you'd call it. But as long as I keep feeling it, I will keep doing what I do.

On being sick.

That last show, in Atlanta, I really wasn't feeling well. I felt bad that I couldn't give the show I wanted to give. Hopefully tonight's is better.
Well, Val. It was great. For someone feeling under the weather, you impressively held it together.

Sound check.
All awesome. And you still took the time after the show to meet & greet the fans.

If that is how you are on a sick day, can one imagine a show at your full best?!

Tour ends tonight, at the M Room in Philadelphia. I suggest you go if you can make it. Bad weather didn't stop me, and I'm thankful for that. And if you can't go, well... check out the following links for more about Val Emmich and the many talents he shares with the world.

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