"Equal parts empowering and catchy." --BUST
"Like the final sequence in an '80s movie." -NYLON
"Like a hurricane, Wildwood could knock the walls down with her voice alone." -Uproxx
"Conjures strength from shambles." -The Line Of Best Fit
"An artist in every sense of the word." -Galore
"The love child of Kate Bush & Sia." -Paper
Arizona-via-New York City artist-producer Emmy Wildwood has always operated outside of genre -- from her beginnings in punk bands playing DIY/all-ages shows in her native Tucson, to collaborating with musician and Cyndi Lauper band leader John Turri and getting signed to a pop-star-in-training spec deal at 21 with an unnamed label. But then the music industry changed for ever. In 1999, following the launch of p2p social networking platform Napster, Wildwood got caught up in the fall out, and was dropped from her tentative label deal alongside hundreds of other rising acts. It was a lost generation.
Wildwood spent the next two decades in New York City following her inner drum: she joined various punk and lo-fi alternative bands, including the trio VELTA who appeared in a Converse ad and a spread in Italian Vogue, and even collaborated with TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone ("Let's Get Married"). Her solo career began in earnest in 2013, with the release of her Mean Love EP, which earned co-signs from Ryan Seacrest and Patricia Fields, and features in Billboard, Refinery29, Huffington Post, and TimeOutNY. Following the release, her single “Scream" earned a synch on FOX's Scream Queens (Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts) soundtrack. This year, she released the follow-up EP All My Blood, recorded at Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Mission Sound Studios (King Princess) and supported by Galore, Paper, BUST Magazine, NYLON, Uproxx, The Line Of Best Fit, and others; plus her first self-produced album, Heavy Petals, mixed by Nathan Sabatino at Hi-Dez Recording in Joshua Tree, Calif. (Dr. Dog, Flaming Lips).
Throughout her many years of experience in the industry, Wildwood's first love has always been songwriting. While living in New York for over a decade, she cut her teeth writing for other artists. Wildwood's friends consider her a trusted advisor and counselor, and she's often pulled in to offer support and guidance on questions about life, career, romantic, mental health and other issues due to her openness, frankness and care with which she approaches every problem. This is her greatest asset in the studio - that and the ferocious speed at which she writes new material. The prolific writer and multi-instrumentalist can write "a hit a day," she says, as melodies and lyric ideas are on a constant loop in her brain. In addition, she is an active member of No Boring Media, a social community and networking platform which helps connect like-minded female entrepreneurs and artists.
Growing up, she listened to anything that had emotionally impactful lyrics and melodies, and always admired the brashness of innovators from singer-songwriters Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, and Joni Mitchell to rockers The Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Hole, and pop titans Prince, Carole King, and The Beatles. "I cared so much about the story in the song and the feeling of resolve I got my from my favorite melodies that it didn’t matter to me the sonic vehicle through which it got sent," she says. "That is still the point every time I write a song -- to hit the listener where it hurts good. I cared so much about getting the emotional impact across that my heart would feel broken when it was lost in someone else’s vision."
In 2017, Wildwood moved back to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and with the guidance of Sabatino, learned ProTools so that she could self-produce after "losing touch with my vision, taste and confidence in my artistry," she says. "I had to come home again." The Sonoran desert community is known for its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border as well as its "DIY, rock n' roll and keep it weird attitude," says Wildwood, that just can't exist in a cutthroat industry city like Los Angeles, New York or Nashville. Returning to her hometown brought her back to center and reminded her who she was "before I’d signed and lost record deals," she adds. "It reminded me of the girl who made all of her own flyers for her punk band and played at Skrappy’s the local all ages venue. I remembered my rock side, my feistier side."
The city's lo fi spirit inspired her to learn to self-produce, as a means of survival and self-preservation. "I knew I needed to learn to produce because unless every second of this record was intrinsically motivated, I would be disappointed," she says. "I didn’t even care if it was imperfect because I already knew it would be." She documented the ProTools/production learning experience live to her 24K IG followers, illuminating "every weakness" in the process, she adds. "The sweat behind this thing matters to me more than a studio quality execution. All I wanted was to use the voice of that girl who professionally had no idea what she was doing but would do anything to have someone feel the emotional impact of her songs."
Elsewhere in the business, Wildwood has continued to grow her breadth of experience to bring as much of the music creation process as possible in-house: for herself and others, she's booked cross-country tours, performing under the moniker Emily Long for many years and including dates at SXSW and CMJ; as a stylist and owner of the boutique Tiger Blanket Records on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn, she hosted pop-up concerts and released a limited run of "7 singles for local bands including Mother Feather, Erin Mary & The West Island, and more. She also performs as Lizzy Stradlin in Guns N' Hoses, the world's "premier all-female Guns N' Roses tribute band," alongside San Fermin's Charlene Kaye, producer/director Mia Swier, and actress/singer Erin Marsz. The band performed at Swier's wedding to actor Darren Criss (Glee, The Assassination of Gianni Versace) in New Orleans last February. They regularly perform in L.A. and New York City and have booked gigs in Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, as well as in India. They even once met GnR guitarist Slash at a rehearsal space in L.A., which they recounted to New York Magazine's Bedford + Bowery.
Despite many wins and setbacks along the way, Wildwood finally understands the truth to the industry mantra: it's a marathon, not a sprint. ""Through a million failed attempts at releasing 'a game changing record' I finally understood that a musician is never one big hustle away from big time but rather will be hustling for life," she adds. "For me the hustle had become miserable because I didn’t feel in control of my output for various reasons." See: differences in agenda with producers, lost faith in her artistic vision, and being turned away from labels for being a black sheep. "I was too pop for indie and too rock for pop. That is because my influences had no genre."
#NoGenre has become a rallying cry for the singer-songwriter in her quest for creative control of her artistry. Growing up, she listened to anything that had emotionally impactful lyrics or melodies. She always admired the brashness of innovators including singer-songwriters Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, and Joni Mitchell, rockers The Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Hole, and pop powerhouses including Prince, Carole King, and The Beatles. "I cared so much about the story in the song and the feeling of resolve I got my from my favorite melodies that it didn’t matter to me the sonic vehicle through which it got sent," she says. "That is still the point every time I write a song -- to hit the listener where it hurts good. I cared so much about getting the emotional impact across that my heart would feel broken when it was lost in someone else’s vision."