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Journey of a Song
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Journey of a Song

Author: Emmeline

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Have you ever wondered how a song is made? How it starts? What happens during the recording process? How does an idea become that beautiful, 3-minute thing you hear on the radio? In Journey of a Song, singer-songwriter and host Emmeline takes the audience on a tour of a musician's creative process, from the first notes to the final recorded song. Each week, a different songwriter pulls back the curtain on a favorite composition, beginning with an acoustic version of the song and ending with the final recorded product. In between, you'll hear a conversation about the inspiration behind the song, the decisions made in the recording booth, and the many ways in which music reflects and informs our emotions and our lives. Find behind-the-scenes photos and more when you follow @EmmelineMusic on Instagram.
18 Episodes
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"Trying to keep a peaceful mind is like trying to catch the moonlight." With these words, Hightower launches the chorus of "Treading Water," a raw and honest depiction of the attempt to navigate the moments of preparation or stagnation in life. Written and produced during the pandemic, "Treading Water" is art reflecting life, delineating the journey from uncertainty to terror to resignation that reigned in so many of us during the fifteen months of COVID-19. In this episode, Emmeline sits down with the band's lead vocalist, Lindsay, and the band's guitarist, Taylor, to talk about what inspired the song, how it went from a rollicking rock anthem to a contemplative guitar piece, and how organic production and process ruled throughout the song's creation.   They also talk about their joy in the return of live music and the various ways they each worked to survive lockdown.To learn more about Hightower or to follow their musical journey, please visit their official website. For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic or visit the Journey of Series official page.
"Where are you running off to now?" With this playful yet poignant question, Cat McGee begins her complex composition about the importance of taking time to be present, to reflect, and to share in the spaces between the hustle and bustle of daily life.  In this episode, Cat talks about how and why "Don't Rush Me" has two versions--one fast and teasing, one slow and haunting.  She also shares a bit about the spirituality of songwriting, the importance of editing, and the beauty of the stories we gather in the moments shared with others. Cat and Emmeline also explore the ways in which the pandemic has changed the way songwriters view their own material, the gifts in lockdown, and how each has rediscovered the value of a hug.To learn more about Cat McGee or to follow her musical journey, visit her official website or find her on Instagram and Facebook at @catmcgeemusic. For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic or check out the Journey of Series official page.
"You don't get to be lonely."  With these words, Vanalika begins exploring the social ramifications of the term "lonely"--how we use it, how we wield it, and how its meaning changes as we amass experience.  A deeply introspective songwriter with pop savvy and affection, Vanalika uses a poignant subject and a palatable pop beat to start an important conversation about women, relationships, and the messages we internalize as human beings.  In this episode, Vanalika talks about the inspiration behind her new single, her passion for music as activism, and the delicate process of pairing a song with a vibe.  She and Emmeline also dissect the artist-producer partnership, the concept of musical illustration, and how we all became a bit more self-aware in quarantine.To learn more about Vanalika, check her out on Spotify or find her on Instagram at @VanalikaOfficial. For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic or visit the Journey of Series official webpage.
"These Ozark mountains, Ozark kin; they hide their secrets, old as sin." With these words, Jenni Mansfield Peal sets the scene for her haunting child ballad, "Two Sisters."  The song's delicate minor soundscape unfolds like the white river mist Jenni describes, a dark and contemplative space for one sister to share her resentments, her anger, and her confusion.  In this episode, Jenni talks about the craft of songwriting in the folk genre, the importance of creating space for the entire spectrum of feelings in songs, and how one's understanding of one's own composition crystalizes over time.  She and Emmeline also talk about Carl Jung, dream theory, Faulkner, the messiness of the human condition, and the emotional ups and downs of life as an independent musician.  Jenni even shares the story of her very special encounter with Townes Van Zandt!To learn more about Jenni Mansfield Peal or to hear more of her music, visit Jenni's official website at JenniMansfieldPeal.com.  For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic or explore the Journey of Series official page.
"They say there's hope for you where the sun always shines."With these words, singer-songwriter John Mason sets the tone for his beautifully nostalgic "California," a tune he penned about an uncertain time for his family.  Infused with equal parts wistfulness and hope, grief and love, "California" explores life's moments of transition and the difficulties of moving on.  In this episode, Emmeline and John discuss the ways in which John's flamenco background influences his songwriting, his use of suspensions to create a dreamscape for the audience, and his sparse percussion choices.  They also talk about John's musical journey, his time as an accompanist for a flamenco dancer in Los Angeles, the importance of live music, and the connections we find through art. John even gives a preview of his new song, "Miracles and Fate!"To learn more about John Mason's music, or to follow his journey, visit his official ReverbNation page. For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic or visit the Journey of Series official page.
"Give me new eyes; still won't change my mind." With these words, Remy Reilly begins weaving a tale of young love, heartbreak, and the realization that, as she so melodically articulates, there are often fewer answers than questions. Using the dichotomy of bright, upbeat percussion and a sad story, Remy illustrates the way heartbreak feels in a world that is always moving forward--and draws comfort from the fact that we all do, eventually move on.  In this conversation, Remy talks about songwriting as a form of catharsis, the healing power of live music, the importance of human connection, and the ways in which the fact that no one knows can actually be comforting. She and Emmeline also talk about their mutual quarantine experience as musicians--and express gratitude that live music is coming back at Opening Bell Coffee. Remy also shares her experience recording--and performing this song live--at Modern Electric Studios in Dallas.To learn more about Remy Reilly or to hear more of her music, find her on Spotify, visit her Facebook page, or follow her on Instagram at  @remyreilly. For behind-the-scenes info and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic. To hear all of the songs that have been featured on Journey of a Song, check out the Journey of a Song playlist on Spotify.
"When I find myself asking why, I just look at your smile."With these words, written nearly four years ago, Douglas Allen seeks to capture the sweetness of new love and the yearning for proximity with which we've all become so familiar over the past year.  Amidst the chorus of ambient stringed instruments--guitar and dobro included--Douglas's lyrics read like a photo album of simpler times. His easy riff and underlying optimism permeate "Wanna Be with You," his latest single. In this episode, Emmeline and Douglas talk about what it means to piece a song together, how one knows when to release a song, and how songs can grow and change over time.  They also discuss some of the albums and artists that have been most influential in their own creative processes--including Patty Griffin and Dallas native David Ramirez--and Douglas shares the records he'd bring with him on a desert island. Listen for Douglas's best dating advice!To follow Douglas's journey, find him on Instagram at @DouglasAllenMusic or visit his official website. "Wanna Be with You" is now available on all streaming platforms!  To learn more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic.
"Do you know what it feels like to fall apart and smile at the same time?"  With this poignant question, Dallas-based pop artist Michael Sanchez articulated the feelings that fueled not only the creation of his thoughtful banger, "Life of the Party," but his entire album, appropriately titled The Other Side of Fear.  Amidst a pulsing bass and an electronic soundscape, Sanchez muses about the limitations of a party lifestyle and the complex emotions that lifestyle may be obscuring. In this episode, Emmeline and Michael discuss mental health as an active pursuit, the gifts and blessings in the COVID-19 lockdown, and how sitting in and writing through his emotions has led Michael to the happiest place in which he's ever been.  They also talk about working with children, defying the definitions imposed by entertainment media, and giving people permission to be okay with not being okay.  They take a brief detour to dissect the pop landscape of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with an enthusiastic examination of how Britney Spears and her live performances helped to define an era.To follow Michael's journey, or to hear more from his full-length album, The Other Side of Fear, find him on Instagram at @michaelsanchez_official or visit his official website.  For behind-the-scenes information and more about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic.
"Oh, the night was alive; I could feel it in the fire."In this poignant line from her song, "Tangerine," independent singer-songwriter Simone Nicole explores the potential of a moment and the consequences of its end.  Over the course of the composition, she explores concepts like intimacy and loss.  In this episode, Emmeline and Simone talk about trying to fit the word "tangerine" into a song and how the opening line--"the stars have aligned"--foreshadowed the entire process of creation for the track.  They also discuss mental health, the healing power of music, the need for a space to emote, and why female artists should support and empower each other. There's also a brief conversation about emulating toddlers in grocery stores and choosing cover songs for gigs.Check out the beautiful video for "Tangerine" on YouTube here. To continue following Simone Nicole's journey, find her on Instagram at @simonenicole.music or visit her official website. For more information and behind-the-scenes glimpses of Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic.
"Watch me burn through the shadows as bright as the sun."This is one of the many uplifting, empowering sentiments in Ellen Once Again's first release of 2021, "Survivor."  Produced by Josh Goode, "Survivor" details the struggle so many have endured during the difficulties of 2020, but it seeks to infuse this season adversity with hope and strength. In this episode, Ellen Once Again and Emmeline discuss the realities of one year of COVID-19--from homeschool to a lack of live music--and how these difficult circumstances inspired Ellen to reflect on the resilience of the human spirit.  They also talk about the juggling act of life as a creative professional, the lack of compartmentalization in lockdown, reimagining ways to use music to connect, and how--in the words of the amazing Chris Cleave--"a scar means I survived."  (You can find the book Emmeline references, Little Bee, here.)To check out the video for Ellen Once Again's song, "Survivor," click here.  To follow Ellen's journey or to hear more of her music, you can find her on TikTok or on Instagram at @EllenOnceAgain.  You can also visit her official website. 
"Dream beautiful things."With these words, Amari Amore seeks to weave a tapestry of sound and story, one of hope and light in which the listener can immediately become immersed.  The appropriately titled "Dream" marks the first single from Amore's sophomore release, Evolution.  With this song and this album, Amore wanted to bring love and compassion into the darker spaces listeners may have found during 2020's COVID-19 quarantine.  "Dream" was first performed live in 2017, but Amore tells Emmeline why now is the perfect time for its release. The two talk about keeping a spirit of discovery in songwriting, how songs evolve, and how an education in classical music can affect one's creative process.  They also discuss how everything comes back to music, and how music is, ultimately, love.You can hear Amari Amore's first performance of "Dream" here.  To learn more about Amari Amore's journey, follow her on Instagram at @amariamore.  For behind-the-scenes information about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic.
"If a knee was on your neck, would you feel it, too?"  This is one of many provocative questions that La Bell poses with "Floyd's Song," her powerful ode to George Floyd.  With raw, unapologetic language and a compelling hook by KnowShame, La sheds contemplative light on Black people who were murdered and forces her listeners to consider the system that allowed for these murders to take place.  In this episode, Emmeline and La have a meaningful conversation about race, art, the city of Dallas, being the conduit for a song, honoring one's moral imperative, stepping into one's truth and power as an artist, and why the messy evolutionary process is so very sacred.  To follow La's journey, follow her on Instagram at @musicbyla_ or check out her official website.   You can experience "Floyd's Song" as an official music video, as a lyric video, or as a listening experience on Tidal. 
"My body's tired of screaming everything is fine." With these words, sung over a haunting chord progression on Facebook Live, Court Hoang brought "Will I Wake Up?" into the world for the first time.  A collaborative project from beginning to end, the song started as the product of a live songwriting session and ended as an ensemble number, produced and pieced together by Court himself.  "Will I Wake Up?" explores the weight each of us has been asked to bear over the course of the past crazy year, articulating the emotional struggle of appearing fine when one is breaking inside.  In this episode, Court Hoang and Emmeline talk about their collective college experience, the spirituality of songwriting, the conversation that happens between a creative's cognitive and emotional processes, the social responsibility we bear as artists, and the magnitude of music's power to heal and connect.  They also get candid about millennial struggles, Texas weather, and the need to take care of each other.To learn more about Court Hoang and follow his journey, check out his Patreon page. To purchase "Will I Wake Up?" on Bandcamp, click here.  All proceeds from the song benefit the North Texas Food Bank. You can follow Court Hoang on Instagram at @courthoang, and you can find Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic.
"Please understand me before the end of the world." In the driving guitars and ambient keyboards of "Fiesta Day," Berkley explores the push and pull of human connection through the lens of a teenage friendship.  He delineates the difficulty of outgrowing someone, the pain of losing an important relationship, and how time changes one's perspective on traumatic events.  In this episode, Berkley and Emmeline talk about decisions in the recording booth, the genius of Paul Simon, how songwriters use emotional upheaval as inspiration, and make a running list of the artists and songs that have left a distinct impression on them (including Hanson, Lisa Loeb, No Doubt, and the entirety of Motown).  They also discuss their mutual love for The California Raisins.  "Fiesta Day" is now available on all streaming platforms.  To follow Berkley's musical journey, visit his official website and/or follow him on Instagram at @AlwaysBerkley. For behind-the-scenes information about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic.
"We are all the canvas, and I am the piece." In his engaging, intriguing song, "I Should Have Been a Milkman," Joseph Fisher-Schramm explores the complex relationship between artist, art, and audience.  Poetic and prodding, "I Should Have Been A Milkman" uses a plethora of instruments and vocal lines to paint a picture in which creation and creator spar for the delight of the crowd--but things are not always as they appear.  In this candid conversation about the inspiration behind what Joseph refers to as "Milkman," Joseph and Emmeline discuss the influence music school can have on one's compositions, the difference between writing spontaneously and deliberately, and how everything an artist does, hears, or sees somehow weaves its way into their art. To hear Joseph's beautiful album, Starving by Design, Vol. 1, check out his independent record label, A Study in Expression, on Bandcamp.  You can also follow Joseph's journey on Instagram at @joefacethefirst. For behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Journey of a Song podcast, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic.
"All in all, it's been a goodnight, moon."Legendary Dallas songwriter and open mic host Steve Jackson sits down with Emmeline to discuss his award-winning composition and the title track of his second album, "Goodnight Moon."  He talks about the young woman who eventually put lyrics to his lullaby-like chords, the importance of editing, the rewards inherent in allowing other creatives into one's sacred space of songwriting, and being open to the influences of other musicians--with special and consistent commentary from his pet bird. He also reveals the occupations of the other Steve Jacksons with which he is frequently confused.  You'll be mesmerized by this candid conversation between friends about how a song's story evolves over time.  Hear Steve's first performance of "Goodnight Moon" here, and follow Steve's musical journey on Facebook.  For behind-the-scenes information and more, follow Emmeline on Instagram at @EmmelineMusic.
"Kill the alarm, but mind the ticking."With this line, Bomethius carves a unique, meaningful space for his beautiful song, "Coming of Age." A thoughtful exploration of the human relationship with time and tradition, "Coming of Age" goes from a guitar-and-vocal contemplation to a fully produced manifestation of the human reaction to pressure.  In this episode, host Emmeline and Bomethius explore the themes that drive the song's composition, from the lyrics he wrote and threw away to the extensive time spent recording the drums to ensure the perfect delivery. A conversation about a song quickly becomes an exploration of God, time, authority, and the absurdity of the human experience--with lots of silly voices, too.Hear Bomethius's entire catalog here, and follow him on social media at @Bomethius. For behind-the-scenes information about Journey of a Song, follow Emmeline on social media at @EmmelineMusic.
Have you ever wondered how a song is made? How it starts? What happens during the recording process? How does an idea become that beautiful, 3-minute thing you hear on the radio?  My name is Emmeline, and in my new podcast, Journey of a Song, I take you on a tour of a musician's creative process, from the first notes to the final recorded song. Each week, I’ll be talking to a different songwriter as they pull back the curtain on a favorite composition, beginning with an acoustic version of the song and ending with the final recorded product.  In between, you'll hear a conversation about the inspiration behind the song, the decisions made in the recording booth, and the many ways in which music reflects and informs our emotions and our lives.  Journey of a Song is a radio show that airs Thursday nights at 7 PM CST on Deep Ellum Radio. Each episode is available as a podcast the following Friday!  Discover new music and hear fascinating stories with me, Emmeline, every Friday wherever you listen to podcasts.  Stay tuned for the very first episode!
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