The Gift of Music from Generation to Generation: An Interview with Emmy Russell

Zoe Adler, GRAMMY Camp LA

Emmy Russell may come off as shy, maybe even scared, but behind the light smile and sheets of blonde hair lies a powerhouse vocalist with the songwriting skills of a master. Right now, take a break from reading and go to YouTube; search “Emmy Russell ‘That Girl Is Me,’” and you will be amazed. This original song submitted to the GRAMMY Foundation as an application could easily become a Top 40 hit overnight. 

According to Russell, music runs through the family’s veins more than blood. “My parents are singers,” explains Russell. “All my brothers and sisters sing--I have seven brothers and sisters.” In a family with so much talent, one can assume that someone in the many generations managed to “make it big.” In addition to her GRAMMY nominee father, famous country artist Loretta Lynn is Emmy Russell’s grandmother.

Loretta Lynn is, “a country music queen,” Russell says. “She was actually the first female to get a country entertainer award.” Despite her age, Lynn still tours, and Russell has the privilege of opening for her. “I go up on stage in the middle of the show and I sing a couple songs,” says Russell. Stage fright is a problem for her, and performing at her grandmother’s country concerts helps. “I always get nervous,” she explains, “especially here at GRAMMY Camp...Everyone here is so talented and I want to get better.”

In a family of famous musicians, the pressure to succeed is even more prevalent than in a non-musical family. However, competition doesn’t scare her. Russell says, “It definitely inspires me, like, ‘Wow, there are all these amazing singer and songwriters. I want to be better.’” GRAMMY Camp has an excellent environment for healthy competition that inspires harder work and greater improvement. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” Russell praises. “Meeting other musicians, collaborating with other people, I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”

One does not meet such a talented musician as Emmy Russell every day; she’s a memorable person. Her personality is far from bland; her beautiful voice matches her beautiful spirit and soul. I can’t wait to hear her on my radio a few years from now.                                                                                                                                           

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