Review Fix chats with singer songwriter Emily Duff, who discusses her origin in music, goals, creative process and more.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Emily Duff: When I was 7 years old, my Mama taught me 4 chords on her 1967 Giannini folk acoustic guitar and I just ran with it! From there I studied classical cello & trombone in school, picked up the electric bass and drums on my own and started writing songs. I always knew that I wanted to write songs, cause telling stories set to melody that play like vivid short films in your head might just be the coolest thing in the world.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Emily Duff: I write every single day. I love words and I am crazy for guitars, especially acoustic guitars. Wood is a living, breathing organism. It changes over time and therefore the resonance, tone and shape of the sound that comes from the guitar changes over time as well. Each guitar sounds different and depending on the guitar Iâ€™m playing, itâ€™s tone and color will speak to me and inspire the song I am writing. I am a songwriter, but sometimes Iâ€™m more like a song catcher. If I pay attention and serve the song by really listening, the song knows where it wants to go and will write itself. There is no room for ego or backseat driving in the creative process. I get out of the way and let the feelings come, the words surface, the images coalesce and the wood speak. And Guitars are Sexy.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Emily Duff: I must confess that right now I am paying close attention to Washington and politics, and if youâ€™re not upset, youâ€™re not paying attention. I have been obsessively writing protest songs since January 2017 and studying protest songs all my life. The Staple Singers are my heroes. Mavis Staples is who I think about when I sing and Pops is where my mind goes when I play electric guitar. They inspire me like crazy. My family inspires me â€” how the heck did I get so lucky? Dreams are loaded with inspirationâ€¦â€¦I am often inspired and I am grateful.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Emily Duff: To quote the great Barry Whiteâ€¦.”My first, my last, my Everything.”
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Emily Duff: Sweet & Sour Rock and Roll with a great big hit of Country Soul
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Emily Duff: My live shows are all about my audience and giving them what they want based on their energy. Playing a great live show is all about knowing how to read a room and take your fans someplace special, collectively as a group/community and individually – because you care to know them, and they understand that. I write a loose set list and my band knows that it can change at a moments notice. I also tend to play for at least 2-3 hours whenever possible. Itâ€™s about letting my fans in to know me on a deeper level. The shows include a lot of talking and story telling about the origin of the songs and they are also about the band stretching out and having musical conversations through solos and breaks. I LOVE being a band-leader and letting my musical family shine, they are all brilliant. The studio stuff is more formal and structured and â€œproduced,â€ using the studio as another band member. Overdubs are very rehearsed and polished while still remaining raw and organic â€” honest & true while Live is truly â€œlift-off.â€ Live is like getting high with friends while the studio is a bit more like the gas you get at the dentist ;)
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
Emily Duff: â€œWe Ainâ€™t Goinâ€™ Nowhereâ€ is a classic break-up song. My entire new record is about break-ups but I look at them with hindsight and without malice. I decided that 2020 was going to be the year I employed 20/20 vision on old â€œtraumas & woundsâ€ and let them all go. The irony is that as soon as I released the single, the pandemic shut everything down, my UK Tour was cancelled and we were told to shelter in place so, quite literally, We Ainâ€™t Goinâ€™ Nowhere!
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2020?
Emily Duff: I have three more records written and ready to record so I am vetting that material and doing pre-production to be ready to go when we are able to resume normal life – whenever that may be. I am really hoping that live music will return in a way that everyone will be able to enjoy – I would Love to get my UK Tour back on track cause I do really well over there and the fans really dig what I do. I was invited to Italy and look forward to that happening as well. My fan base is growing in Scandinavia so there are talks thereâ€¦.I really just want to get out of my 340 square foot apartment and play this new record. Itâ€™s a great record and I had the best time making it with Producer, Eric â€œRoscoeâ€ Ambel. Heâ€™s a great friend and a true inspiration. I really want to shout about this new record and play as much as possible.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Emily Duff: I am making a video for â€œWe Ainâ€™t Goin Nowhereâ€ directed and Edited by my brilliant Editor husband, Skip Duff who works for Harbor Pictures. Itâ€™s very difficult to film during a viral pandemic but I think we created something cool that isnâ€™t heavy or cliche â€” Itâ€™s just meâ€¦..That should be done in a bout a week or so. I would really like to play Americana Fest this Fall if it happens but honestly, I would just like to get into the studio with my band, hug their necks and play some music. I miss my beautiful musical lifeâ€¦..I play every day on my fire escape (aka Virus Escape) for my neighbors and the people that gather on Greenwich Street to hear me and I Facebook Live Stream every Sunday at 4pm for Tips in my virtual jar. I guess the reality of right now is that whatâ€™s next is me making dinner for my husband, kids and our dog, Banjo. Thatâ€™s honestly whatâ€™s next.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Emily Duff: My records are available at Bandcamp and thank you very much for inviting me to share my thoughts.