EMay is a singer-songwriter in the rock and AAA genre, but her style can be attributed to cross-cultural exposure. Her teachers include grunge rock Grammy record holder Alanis Morisette; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jorma Kaukonen; master of Turkish percussion Nicholas Ragheb; the premier Robert Johnson academic Tom Feldman; and many late-night fireside sessions in the hills of West Virginia. Additionally, she studied classical piano in the suzuki method as a kid, gained some insider electronic music tricks one night at Burning Man with Govinda. She has opened for 10,000 Maniacs, Toubabe Krewe, Rusted Root, Dar Williams, Loudon Wainwright III, Marcia Ball, The Black Lilies and Cabinet. Beyond music, her collaborations include musicians, dancers and theater companies.
In 2016, EMay began working with Grammy-award winning producer Jimmy Hoyson. “Jimmy put together a truly beyond-your-wildest-dream band.” The players? Marc Ford (Marc Ford & The Neptune Blues Club, The Black Crowes, The Magpie Salute) Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers), Michael Jerome (Better Than Ezra, The Toadies) and Taras Prodaniuk (Richard Thompson, Merle Haggard)
“These guys were my heroes, players in my favorite bands. We got in the studio and it was instant magic, incredible chemistry, and the result was my first rock album. These guys heard exactly how the songs wanted to be heard” They recorded a 10-song album in two short days at Jim Henson Studios’ Studio D – the former A&M studio in Hollywood, slated to be released in Fall, 2017.
Compared to the most powerful female musicians – Tracy Chapman, Alanis Morisette, Ani DiFranco, Adele, Janis Joplin – EMay has learned by playing songs written and performed by men. “That’s the nature of our industry – there are some fantastic females in it, for sure, but we are few and far-between. I love running into a female who is the “soundman” at the show, ripping a solo, managing an executive suite, or fixing the gear at the studio.”
EMay’s music reflects the vastness of her life, with the subtext often repeating her mantra: “Never get bored”. Her music describes the wildness of nature – both the great outdoors and the vast expanse of wilderness in the human heart. She writes about what Aldous Huxley calls human potentiality, singing both of our ability to overcome great struggle and our indelible connection to the web of life and human. She sings about her own struggles in overcoming addiction, traumatic experiences and grief. And she sings of the beauty that surrounds us everywhere we arrive.
In addition to over 100 original songs, she plays from a repertoire of over 350 cover songs that includes Al Green, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Led Zeppelin, and Ziggy Marley. She is an active member of doom-metal group Black Yo)))ga Meditation Ensemble. She has been a principle member of Turkish Folk project Kirik Hava, acoustic trio Between Liberties, party rock band The Sectionals. She has released four CDs independently since 2011, and has done this all while managing and representing herself.
“I let my curiosity get the best of me, always. I follow the breadcrumbs of serendipity and synchronicity, and they’ve led me on my own wild journey.” After chasing that rabbit from Boston to Pittsburgh, EMay now lives at Healthberry Farm in the rural mountains of West Virginia. For more on her non-musical adventures, which include beekeeping, vegetable gardening, fire-spinning, writing poetry, advocating for artists, producing festivals, riding horses & snowboarding, visit erikamay.com. You can also sign up for her email list or read her blog to hear more about these adventures in her own words.