Artist Spotlight - Emily Lehr
(Photo Credit - Maxwell Shavers)
We were able to speak to up-and-coming Americana artist Emily Lehr about her career and her new release 'The Drive Home' which just dropped on Mon Hills Records. Check it out!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I have always wanted to pursue music as a career, but I became serious about writing and recording when I started a mentorship with Dr. Stimeling in the Appalachian Music ensemble at West Virginia University (WVU) and after getting to meet with Kathy Mattea about songwriting and the music industry. I have studied music since I was a child, and I’m majoring in music therapy, but I began seriously and professionally studying the music industry at the end of my sophomore year of college into my junior year, which was around 2 years ago."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"It depends on the goal of the writing session. When I write for me, I will either have a song idea in mind or I will just want to write something and see what comes out. I typically write the music and lyrics at the same time, and I almost always move through the form of the song in chronological order. Every now and then, I’ll have a main idea for a hook, and I’ll build the song around that."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Sara Bareilles, Jon Foreman, Matt Thiessen, and Sara Watkins"
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"I am mostly an acoustic musician, so I am not very knowledgeable on electronic gear. I recently started getting into electric guitar, and I’ve bought a few pedals from Sweetwater, but I am not ingrained in that world enough yet to have much to say on that."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"I like to keep shows fairly casual. I love interacting with the audience, and I will definitely call out friends by name and incorporate them into my storytelling between songs when they come to performances. I like to create moments of humor and deeper emotion, and if I can have those happening at the same time, that’s even better."
"I think physical set up of the stage and audience area are important to the overall vibe of the show, so when a venue has been thoughtful of this aspect, I tend to enjoy performing more. I also love when the venue host is involved and invested in the performance. It changes the whole atmosphere of the room."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"I want people to know that my music comes from a place of real experience. I want me telling my story to be an invitation for others to tell their stories. Writing and recording music has been something I’ve always wanted to do, since I was 4 years old and received my first CD, so I am endlessly thankful for everyone who has been listening to my music since it was released, and to my friends who come to shows and sing along with my lyrics. That’s been so cool."
7. Tell us about the writing, recording, and promotion process for The Drive Home.
"This is a collection of songs that I’ve written over the past 3-4 years. The earliest song I started writing in early 2017, and the latest song - “Pennsylvania,” the bonus track - was written in October 2020. I wanted to choose songs for this project that reflect where I am now and where I was a few years ago before I came to this point. The recording was so much fun, because most of us in the studio were doing it for the first time, so we got to learn together. I was able to record vocals, guitar, ukulele, and violin, which was amazing, because I wanted to be super hands-on with as much recording as I could be. It was great to come into the studio with a set idea of how things would go and allow ourselves the flexibility to change it if we wanted. It was a very free creative space. Now we’ve been in promotion for the past month or so, which is a completely new process for me, but that’s also been fun. It’s really cool getting to see other people experiencing this music for the first time with fresh ears, because I’ve had the music with me for the past couple of years. It’s allowing me to experience the music in a new way."
8. What’s next for you?
"I’m planning to move to Nashville in 2022 and get into the music scene down there, specifically with songwriting. I plan to keep writing and playing and take advantage of any opportunities that might come along."