By Linc Bradham
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It didn’t start in Nepal, but that’s where it took hold.
Emily Hall’s journey with music has been one of healing, of compassion, of shadow, and of triumph. A 2014 Fulbright grant recipient, Emily journeyed to Nepal that same year, after many years of musical disillusionment. Music – something which had once been her solace, her aid in feeling love – had instead become a source of pain, after record deals had gone awry and life had taken Emily in paths separate from her music. That is not to say that Emily was unhappy altogether, but she’d found new sources of joy. Once she reached Nepal, however, that all changed.
Emily lived in Nepal from 2014-2015 with a host family that felt not only like a real family, but like an entire community holding her up. And then one day, while perusing shops in Kathmandu, Emily happened upon a guitar that reminded her of her first guitar she had purchased for $5 at age 14. That first guitar was found on the way home from visiting her grandmother – an Auschwitz Holocaust survivor whom Emily wrote some of her very first songs about.
Needless to say, Emily bought the guitar. She realized she missed writing songs. After graduating with a degree in education and cultural anthropology, Emily focused on incorporating creative expression in the classroom. She notes that as soon as she purchased the guitar to spice up her lessons and engage her students, “the songs just started flowing out.”
Soon after purchasing the guitar, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake destroyed the Nepalese village of Emily’s host family. This tragic event coincided with Emily’s co-teacher in Nepal passing away from stomach cancer. To process these incredibly tumultuous experiences, Emily wrote songs, including the song “Real,” featured on her most recent album, Compassion is Progress.
It is hard to verbally express just how special Emily’s voice is. All her own, discovered through self-teaching, experimentation, and trial and error, Emily’s voice calls upon some of the greatest of all time for inspiration, while still remaining completely original. There are shades of Stevie Nicks, shades of Joni Mitchell, and shades of Björk morphed and coalesced into a sound that is angelic, haunting, and ethereal all at once.
Part of the special nature of Emily’s voice seems to spring from her reasons for singing today, “to advocate that we all have creative talents. The more we try to push these talents away, the more we try to fight them, the more we are countering the evolution of human consciousness. We never know how creative expression is going to help others recognize and share their truth, which is what our world and society desperately needs.”
To follow her 2020 release, Compassion is Progress, Emily has just finished recording an EDM (electronic dance music) song entitled “Let My Life Be Medicine” with her dear friend, Rav Situla. Emily and Rav, Nepalese himself, met at The Gorkhaly Foundation Open Mic some years ago. The Gorkhaly Foundation Open Mic is centered around relief efforts for the same earthquake that destroyed the village Emily lived in during her time in Nepal.
Following their meeting, Rav and Emily started exploring chanting music together, and eventually discovered the seeds for “Let My Life Be Medicine” after Rav had some insightful ideas about how they might take this music to the next level. Emily was initially afraid to adventure away from the acoustic guitar she had always known so well, but after exploring this new song and way of sharing music, is extremely excited to release it to the world in December of 2021 or January of 2022.
Most pressing on the horizon for Emily Hall is an upcoming show with Deccan Traps at Focus Music on Saturday, November 13, from 7:00 -9:00 p.m. Emily will be performing all-new, never before heard songs that she has written since the pandemic. The setlist is the most intentional she has performed to date.
In Emily’s words, “It’s a journey into self-love, into letting go, into releasing external love and validation, facing your own shadow, and learning to love your own shadow. It’s a bit darker than what people might be used to from me, but it’s time to go there, it’s time to move through it, it’s time to sing about it…So that the light has a foundation.”
Emily closes with, “I’m getting ready to share all on my own terms rather than waiting for others to come to me. I am the invitation. It’s time. Let’s go.”
Emily’s upcoming Focus Music show is going to occur virtually and in-person on Saturday, November 13 at 7:00 PM. It will be held at Focus Mount Vernon – St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 8531 Riverside Road Alexandria, VA 22308. Tickets are $18. Purchase yours now.
Linc Bradham is an American multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, audio engineer, and songwriter originally from Savannah, GA. He has resided in the DMV for the last three years and has served in the active-duty Army for the last 12 years. He is in the process of switching Army careers into the Army Field Band as an audio engineering professional, with long-term goals of promoting music education in America and the Middle East.
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