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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats With Canadian Singer-Songwriter Miss Emily


By Ken Wallis.



In 2020 Miss Emily garnered the triple crown of awards at the Maple Blues Awards. She was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year and the Sapphire Canadian Blues Music Video Award. As they say in commercials, but wait, there’s more.


In 2022 she once again was honoured as Female Vocalist of the Year. And she followed that up with a Juno nomination for Blues Album of the Year for Live at The Isabel.


She has a dynamic voice and an electrifying stage presence. She is the real deal, and after 20 years in the industry she’s getting the recognition she deserves.


Ken Wallis interviewed Miss Emily for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview edited and amended for clarity and length.



Ken Wallis

Live music is back on stage, thank goodness, and we thought we'd take a look at where the music industry is right now, and joining us is the award-winning musician, Miss Emily. It's great to chat with you again Emily.


Miss Emily

Nice to be chatting with you too Ken.

Ken Wallis

And by the way, congratulations on all the awards that you've garnered of late. It's been quite a run for you. Do those awards impact your career?

Yes, even the nominations for awards are always very beneficial. It beefs up the resume so to speak, but it just allows an opportunity of exposure where your name is recognized on a different platform. So the Juno one in particular last year, that was a big one for me. Of course, Colin James won, he’s the household name of Blues in Canada which is just fine by me. To be recognized next to him was a very big deal.


Ken Wallis

And the pandemic basically wiped out live music for a couple of years. How did that impact your career?


Miss Emily

Well life changed in a huge way, right in the middle of that pandemic. My husband left and I lost my home, and then I'm a single income household, and a single mom, and I have no career, which is important. It was the snowball effect of crappy getting crappier. I think it's interesting because I look at where we are now with music, and we're still climbing out of that hole, we really are. I mean to put it bluntly, it was devastating.


Ken Wallis

And you’re about to launch into quite a tour. But first of all, what do you think about the music industry? Where's it going now and how are artists gonna try and regain some of that revenue that they lost?


Miss Emily

Well, I think it's going to be a slow climb back up to where we were, and of course with digital streaming and stuff like that we have, as artists, lost an entire income stream. Unless your music is being played on satellite radio like Sirius XM, we don't really make money in royalties anymore and that is for a lot of artists a really huge loss. If you're not on commercial radio and of course in the soul-blues world that I live in, I'm not a commercial radio artist particularly. I rely on other forms of revenue streams for royalties, and those are gone. I mean digital has taken over, digital downloading and stuff like that, so it's really important that the live music scene come back, and come back stronger than ever. While we were all locked down, the digital world just got stronger and stronger. So now as artists we really have to rely on our live music performance in order to make ends meet and then some.


Ken Wallis

I just read an article that basically claims CD's are coming back, now people are starting to buy them again, and that's an interesting turn of events.


Miss Emily

I'm gonna say I agree with that. I think people realize they need to support the artists if they can. I always advertise my CD's as forms of music, or fancy coasters, and I just have no shame in saying to the general population at my shows, here's the deal, this is why we still sell them. I still sell CD's because it's a revenue stream for me and I've lost revenue streams, and so this is why I still sell CD's. So if you're able to support that way thanks so much in advance. Also, it’s like everything old is new again, the 90s are back and 90s fashion, think of it in the 90s as what we thought of the 70s. So records started to come back and wow, I'm excited, because it's not expensive to press CD's anymore. It used to be expensive, it's not so now.


Ken Wallis

I've also seen artists selling download links, a little card with a password that they can download the album and that's a unique way of dealing with it as well.


Miss Emily

Absolutely, I've seen that too. I think the only reason why that hasn't taken off maybe as well is because they're just these little cards, and I think people like the idea of holding something tangible in their hands, almost souvenir-ish. But, having said that environmentally that's a way better way to go about things so maybe I'll get into that stream as well.

Ken Wallis

Diversity and inclusion are very important in the music industry, and you've been very outspoken and supporting of female artists getting into the music industry. I remember you had some t-shirts on sale, and I can't remember the exact slogan, but you're quite an advocate for women in music. Is it a tough world for female artists as opposed to a male artist?


Miss Emily

It can be. I think in some cases it depends on the genre you're in. I find the blues fans are lovely and inclusive people in general, but across the board in the music industry, you can look at any given festival lineup and festival poster and see that women are hugely underrepresented. Minorities and that includes women, there's a real shout out to minorities and women in the music industry now. I can see that promoters and venues and festival bookers are trying to catch up and trying to make that effort. I think it's really important, especially when you get to my age. I'm 42 as of a month ago, so I find that I look around and my peer group's gone. There's so few of us. The future is female artists, is that slogan you're talking about, and I'm always trying to create a conversation there so people can be aware. Awareness makes changes.


Ken Wallis

And your Defined By Love Tour is starting to happen and you're headed to Canada's capital Ottawa very soon for a couple of very special events. One is the RBC Bluesfest and then you're appearing at the Rideau-Carleton Casino, the future Hard Rock. Tell us all about those gigs.


Miss Emily

Yeah, I'm really excited. Jeremy Barr who books The Joint, the name of the venue there, and he contacted us and told us about the venue. It is the future location of the Hard Rock Ottawa, how cool is that. So, we're really excited to be joining forces with them and creating hopefully a long-lasting relationship there. They bring in a lot of live music at that particular place and so Ottawa’s close to Kingston. It's only a couple hours so I'm really excited to be able to just not go too far with my band and to have a little wider catch area, a larger city, a new spot to call home with our fan base.

I understand The Joint is quite an intimate venue.


It's incredible. They've had some pretty significant big acts play at that venue. I personally haven't been in it yet so I'm really excited to see it for the first time. But, just checking out on the website, they have lots of genres represented and lots happening so I'm really excited that they want to bring some soul and blues into that space because I think there's an audience for it.


Ken Wallis

And when do these concerts take place?


Miss Emily

On April 29th I'm at the Rideau-Carlton Casino in Ottawa and then I have a small duo show the next day in Chelsea, Quebec. And then of course, the summer season starts to kick off. I have a big show at the Isabel Bader Centre here in Kingston where I recorded my Juno nominated live album a few years back. The Isabel Bader is a home away from home for me and that's May 19th, and then moving and grooving, I'm into the States and across Canada and very excited to be seeing more people and adding more dates as the months progress. The weekend in Ottawa April 29th. I'm really excited to kick things off over there at the Rideau-Carlton Casino.


Where are tickets available for that event?


Miss Emily

The best thing to do is to go to my website, Missemily.com. I have links for all my performances including the Rideau-Carlton Casino show and you just click on the link and it'll take you right to the ticketing website. You can buy your tickets there.


Ken Wallis

And I hope to get to see you again sometime this summer. I know you're appearing in a whole bunch of festivals, so it'll be great to hear you again. It's been wonderful chatting with you, thank you so much.


Miss Emily

Ken it's always a joy chatting with you.







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