We are pleased to present the first of two new weekly features here at Gigs4U, Spotlight. Spotlight features interviews with musicians and industry professionals who contribute to our success.
This week we are proud to feature Emily McVicker. Emily is a singer songwriter with a decidedly sunny stage demeanor and a wicked sense of humor. She has been and continues to be a fixture in a variety of groups while emerging most prominently as a solo artist.
How long have you been playing music? Was there someone in your family or friend group who got you started? Was it a particular musician that you heard?
I always dabbled in instruments. Sounding out songs on the piano, playing in concert band on my trumpet, singing for my grandparents when they requested it. I don’t have any professional musicians in my family, but everyone loves music. My brother and I did musical theater growing up. And I love Barbra Streisand!! I loved the way that songs tell stories and help you get to know a person in the situation on an intimate level.
How long have you been working with Gigs4U?
I’ve been working with Gigs4U for about three years. What’s great about them, is that they connect small artists like me to big companies and citywide connections and together we contribute to the culture and music exposure in the city at large. I get recognized from doing their events all the time.
Who are some of your biggest influences? Who motivates you to be better every time you hear them?
I have a Seattle songwriters dinner group that I meet with once a month. It consists of friends, and guests who just enjoy the craft of writing songs. We eat dinner together and support and encourage each other to keep writing and to be honest and authentic. I really enjoy sharing new songs with them, their feedback always helps get the song on its feet.
Is music a primary source of income for you? Do you have any side hustles?
i’m a full-time performer! I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. I am also lucky to have come from a corporate background, singing for studio recordings, theme parks, and cruise ships. My education allowed me to be flexible and open to many different situations and types of performance. It also helps that now I have a one woman show. It is kind of sad, but the current music market as it is, does not support full bands anymore or even sometimes small groups. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy performing solo also, but my roots are in performing in ensembles, and ensembles are important too!
How often do you perform? Do you get nervous before a show? Any pre-performance rituals you’d like to share? Extra points if it’s embarrassing.
I perform anywhere from 3 to 7 times a week. I don’t get nervous before shows, I just get excited. The most nervous I get, is when my voice feels tired and I need to rest it, but I still have shows. My friend Kelly Ash gave me some excellent vocal warm-ups to implement before and after my shows and I’ve been very religious about doing those. My other friend Wonder recommended a steamer which I have also been diligent about. I also stay hydrated. So if you see me drinking from my Camelback backpack (like Dwight from the office), just know that I am getting very hydrated!
Who is your favorite Gigs4U performer to watch?
I am such a fangirl for Marina Christopher!! She’s also become one of my bestest friends. I just love everything about her. Her music, her humor, her relaxed energy that she spreads to the whole audience, and, mostly, her kind spirit. She is one of the most generous people I know.
What’s the biggest difference between playing a show in a club and playing a pop-up concert at the airport?
In my point of you, there really isn’t much of a difference. In both scenarios you have to pull attention. Because as soon as you become boring or in authentic, people stop listening, or in the case of the airport, they keep walking. My first professional show was doing an atmospheric a cappella street show at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. The airport kind of reminds me of that. It’s atmosphere and vibe-central. And I thrive in that environment, because I like to have fun.
Any big events coming up you want to share? Gigs? Tours? Album releases?
I’m in the studio now recording a new EP. That’s always exciting!! Other than that, you can find me every Tuesday at the Seamonster Lounge hosting open mic featuring local Seattle artists every week. Best way to stay in touch is through social media FB & IG @emilymcvickermusic.