Earthquakes are generally pretty big news. The same can be said for Em Rossi’s “Earthquake,” the hit single that’s currently putting the 17-year-old singer on the front page as it sends tremors throughout the pop music universe.
“Earthquake” is the first single from an album that Rossi is currently finishing up, a task that’s being completed in the shadow of the recent loss of her father. In our interview below though, which was conducted by email, Rossi demonstrates that besides being enormously talented she is also thoughtful and well-grounded, giving her a solid foundation to build her life and career on. And by the way, Em still needs to graduate high school. Rossi’s commentary is given exclusively to AXS.com.
AXS: We know that you had a special musical relationship with your late father. Do you remember what artist or song or kind of music the two of you first bonded over?
Em Rossi: I always remember the camping trips my family would take with our friends at the Russian River every summer. Each night everyone would gather around the campfire and my dad would sing and play the guitar. He had the same set of songs that he would sing with “American Pie” being the highlight of the night. I began to really connect on a personal level to songs with my dad as I got older and immersed myself into the emotions behind music. We had one duet that we always sang together, “Falling Slowly” from the movie “Once.” A simplistic love song that represented the bond we had as father and daughter. It is a song that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
AXS: You've racked up an amazing amount of recognition and accolades in a relatively short period of time. Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Do you have a certain regimen to help you stay grounded?
ER: The last two years I have been juggling the demands of high school, writing, recording my first album, and performing at every opportunity that has come my way. At times it has been a bit overwhelming, but I try and always remind myself of the whole picture. The music journey is not an easy ride and is one that is always taking twists and turns. But at the end of the day, music is just a part of my soul. I am so fortunate to have a team that believes in me and works extremely hard to help make this all happen. They keep me grounded and motivate me to want to succeed. My mom, brother, team members, close family and friends are all on this journey with me. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
AXS: As pleased as you must be with things like a million views of the "Earthquake" video and the song hitting #1 in places like Australia, you must have been completely floored to receive the remix of the song from Algeria. How did that come about, and had you ever even imagined the song being redone as house music?
ER: I have to say I am still in shock over the incredible outpouring of support and love from everyone around the world who has embraced “Earthquake” and taken the time to write such amazing, positive comments. It means the world to me to have touched so many people with a song that’s close to my heart. I never expected “Earthquake” to be remixed. It is a slow, emotional ballad. The remixer, Samy Zenati, from Algeria, messaged me a few days after the music video was released asking if he could play around with the track. I was so excited when I heard his house version and couldn’t wait to share it. I love the idea of being able to transform songs into different tones from the original. Music is forever changing.
AXS: What would you say are the main things you learned from being in the studio with Jim McGorman?
ER: Jim has been a great mentor for me in the studio and a great friend. I am so grateful for his belief in me as a singer/songwriter. The main thing that Jim taught me was how to narrow down a unique path of musicality. I have always enjoyed a wide variety of genres, making it difficult at times to cluster everything into only a few songs. Aside from the musical approach, Jim and I began working together only six months after my dad passed away. It was a fragile and emotionally challenging time for me and my family to begin again in the studio. However, those times probably saved me from the darkest of paths. Jim’s studio became a sanctuary. He helped me hone and express my emotions into every recording. The greatest thing he gave me was the ability and confidence to breathe in the tones that I wanted to produce.
AXS: Can you tell us where you're at with finishing up your debut album? Can we expect the effort to drop soon?
ER: Jim and I have currently written and recorded eight songs. We have been releasing the tracks slowly. The second single, “Young Hearts,” will debut very soon along with the music video. We do not have a set date on the release of the album, but I know it won’t be too long of a wait.
AXS: It's obviously going to be a very busy and productive year for you and your musical career. What non-music things would you like to experience or accomplish in the next year or so?
ER: I have had to put aside things that I love to do in order to make time for music and school. I can’t wait to graduate and be able to fully dive into the music industry. I look forward to launching my career as well as traveling to new places and meeting new people. Artistically, I love to write, play piano, draw and read. I look forward to creating more of a balance between music and the other things that make me happy. I hope to live life to the fullest and learn from all of my experiences in both my music career and life itself.
Follow Em Rossi here.