Finding My Way
As a multi-talented singer-songwriter in the country-pop-rock crossover vein, Emily Vance is not a lot like other 19 year olds growing up in the Atlanta area. Although she has done her share of hanging out with friends at the local Waffle House, loves to go to movies and out for sushi, she spends allot more time going to open mic nights, practicing with her guitarist, rehearsing her band and recording.
Keeping it real and sharing her heart, Emily creates lyrics every girl of her generation can relate to on her EP release Finding My Way – comprised of four infectious tracks that showcase not only her emotional power as a vocalist but also her increasing craft and depth as a heartfelt songwriter. She co-wrote each of the songs – “Serendipity,” “I’m Back,” “Falling Away” and “Something Stupid” with Nina Baldridge, a multi-faceted music industry veteran and head of Fast Forward Management. Nina carries out the dual role of management and artist development for Emily, teaching Emily the ropes both in the music business and also as a songwriter/performer.
As part of the deep artist development process, Nina introduced Emily to some of Atlanta’s most prominent musicians and producers. After they wrote “Something Stupid,” a lush, soaring power ballad about sticking love out through the hard times, they headed to Open Sky Studios to record the song with guitarist Chad Lanier, keyboardist Joel Hayes and drummer, producer and studio owner Mike Froedge. They also shot a video, directed by Nina, to the song in the beautiful Atlanta neighborhood where Emily lives – which won a coveted Georgia Music Award for Best Video – Youth in 2013.
When the pair wrote “Serendipity,” a whimsical, high energy romp that conjures up their “ideal man”, Nina had another great production team in mind: her longtime friends Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount of ZK Productions. Nina, Zack and Kenneth had worked on numerous records in the 10 years they spent together at Tree Sound Studios when Nina was studio manager there. The video for the track, was also nominated for a 2014 Georgia Music Award for Best Video; Emily was also nominated once again for “Best New Artist – Youth.”
During their time with Zach and Kenneth, Emily and Nina wrote the two songs that round out the EP, “I’m Back” and “Falling Away; all of these songs feature keyboardist Joey Huffman, who has worked with Matchbox 20, Soul Asylum, Drivin’ and Cryin’ and others.
IN 2015 the team wrote and recorded the hopeful holiday song “Christmas Stays the Same” which was released with a companion video. The song went on to be featured at Macy’s and was played in stores nationwide. She was also asked to perform the song at the annual tree lighting ceremony in her hometown of Duluth.
The Ft. Worth native’s musical journey began at age 11 when she took piano lessons with a woman from her family’s church. “She would sing along when I played,” Emily recalls, “and I was mesmerized by her voice. So I asked if she could give me vocal lessons too.” Emily was a natural, and the first song she recalls singing for anyone besides her teacher was an old hymn she shared with her parents. After her piano teacher moved away, Emily went one day to the Suwanee Town Center where numerous bands were performing. There she saw the booth for the Gwinnett School of Music and decided to sign up for private lessons a few days a week. She did her first recital on the very same stage singing a series of Adele songs. “I was super nervous,” she says, “but then I got onstage and the energy of singing brought a joy to me that was unbelievable, like nothing I had ever experienced. I didn’t realize how much I would love it!”
Emily had been taking piano and voice lessons at Gwinnett for a year when she saw a flyer for the school’s “Rock Band” sessions. She immediately signed up as a lead vocalist. “At first I didn’t know what I was specifically signing up for, but I was excited when I found out it was a rock group. I grew up listening to rock with my dad. The first group I played with did covers of Led Zeppelin, Bush, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Alanis Morisette, and it was a great training ground for me.” Emily won three awards at the band’s first recital at Wild Bill’s, a premiere concert venue in Duluth: Best Dressed, Best Stage Presence and Best Vocalist. Nina was a judge on the panel, but it was Emily’s later performance singing Paramore songs with the band at the car show that prompted her to give her card to Emily’s mother in the hopes they could work together, and the relationship has continued since 2013.
“Despite our age difference, Nina and I are like soul sisters,” says Emily. “We had an instant rapport and continue to have fun together on this journey. But she said from the very beginning that developing me as an artist would take a lot of time and hard work, which it is! But I love the way things are working out and I’m humble and grateful to have gotten to the point where I am now. I want my music to speak to people so they can relate my music to what they are going through in their own lives. In the beginning, Nina had the wonderful idea for me to start writing down things that happen to me, and it’s amazing how many pages you can fill over time,” says Emily. “We take my experiences from my diary and rework them to create lyrics. Every song we write is based on things I’ve experienced in my life and the emotions I’m feeling. The songs on the EP tell part of my life story, but they are all things people can connect with. I love when people hear them and tell me they have gone through and felt the very same things. That’s really my goal – to reach out to people, make the personal universal. In many ways, from the title which refers to the journey I’m on to every lyric in the songs themselves, I’m singing the book of my life.”
Emily has performed at several venues in the Atlanta area including The Red Clay Theater, Eddie’s Attic???, 37 Main. Emily has also performed on local television channel [WHAT ARE THE CALL LETTERS} and for a Relay For Life breast cancer charity event at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.
Emily is currently working on her next collection of songs due out in summer of 2017 with Nashville based Producer Nathan Meckel. One thing for sure, Miss Emily Vance is going places and we can’t wait to see where this journey takes her next!