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Emily Chambers chats about quitting her 9 to 5 and touring on the open road in her camper van

Interviews

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Musician Emily Chambers knew her destiny was to entertain her audience with music as soon as she stepped foot into her 9 to 5 office job, and in 2013, she set out pursuing her love of music and the open road. Since then, the Vancouver, BC born and raised, Chambers has traveled in various parts throughout the US and landed in Nashville, where she currently calls home.

She recently released her new single and music video for “Real Talk,” which was influenced by a relationship that should have never opened. The music video features an array of background scenery supporting the theme of the song, highlighting Chambers rich and soulful voice.

When did you know that you wanted to quit your 9 to 5 job and pursue the open highway to share your love of music with the world?

As soon as I started a 9-5 and knew it was not for me! I left the service industry and started a job in insurance in 2013 with the idea that I could do both things, but I soon came to realize you can not go after your dreams with 50% of your energy. I left in 2016 when I had met some financial goals and started my solo career. I am grateful for the things I learned and the money I was able to make in that time for sure – but never again!

I love that you use your 1983 Dodge 250B to tour in; was that intentional or just how it came to be?

In 2015 I became kind of obsessed with this idea of buying a camper van and touring the states. I have journal entries talking about all the places I would go and venues I would play, etc. I looked for Bessie (my van) for over a year on Craigslist, often while I was at work, and finally found her spring of 2016 – a month after I quit my job. I took off on tour that Fall – very cool to read back those journal entries and see how much came true. Manifestation yo!

You’re from Canada and split your time there and in Nashville. What drew you to Nashville, and do you plan to make a permanent move there someday, or go somewhere else entirely?

I am from Vancouver, BC and so blessed to be so. I always wanted to be in the US market, especially with the type of music I do. On my first tour through the states I spent time in LA, Austin, New Orleans, Nashville, and New York which were my top 5 cities to possibly move to. Something about Nashville just resonated with me. The first night I arrived, on my own in the van, I found this sweet blues jam and got up on stage to sing. I was immediately so welcomed by the community. It was also winter by that time and I had been on the road for almost a month and a half – I got really sick and was taken in by the family of a writer friend I met. I stayed there for 5 days and they totally took care of me. I ended up leaving my van on their property and flying to NYC to finish the tour. When I came back in March to drive her home I didn’t want to leave! It’s a pretty special city.

You trained with Canadian jazz singer, Joani Taylor for ten years; what was that experience like for you?

Joani is amazing. She taught me so much about finding my own voice. We started working together when I was 8 years old, so she just made it fun. We used to scat horn lines and write songs about family members. As I got older she would make me read the lyrics of a song out loud to her and ask me what I think they meant line by line. She really taught me how to connect with the music. Joani also introduced me to Motown and Stevie Wonder and Etta James and Donny Hathaway – if it wasn’t for her I’m not sure what kind of music I would be making today.

You’re currently recording new music and releasing singles throughout the year; is an album on the horizon, or are you going to release a slew of singles through the year?

An album is on the horizon – just need some financial support at the moment. I have written so many songs this year already and am super excited about the direction the music is going in, but like so many other artists just don’t have the dough at the moment. For now singles will keep dropping – look out for the next one in July!

Fun Questions

Who was your first concert, and which one has been your favorite, thus far?

Diana Krall with my family when I was probably 10. Fave so far? Oh god so many! I saw Alabama Shakes at Deer Lake Park in BC a few years back and they rocked my world. I also just saw Tank and the Bangas in Nashville and they were incredible. Probably the most emotional I’ve ever been at a concert was at Lady Gaga which was surprising to me – I was in the nose bleeds and she made me feel like I was right next to her.

What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl? 

Probably Christina Aguilera’s self titled first album when I was 10.

Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?

D’Angelo – Voodoo
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Alicia Keys – Songs in A minor AND The Diary of Alicia Keys
Etta James – A Sunday Kind of Love
Christina Aguilera – Stripped

Of all your travels, who and what have had the most profound effect on you?

I spent some time in Europe busking when I was 19 and had just finished my first year at Berklee. I spent the entire time at school being intimidated by the environment and really lost my voice for a minute. In Europe I was stopped on the street and hired for private parties – there was an amazing appreciated for music. That is when I really decided this is what I am meant to be doing with my life.

Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?

There is so much good pop music now that I’m not even going to feel guilty about it! BUT I do love me some early 90s lately. Amy Grant’s album Heart in Motion comes to mind…

Follow and connect with Emily on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Stream her music on Spotify and SoundCloud


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