There is no room for compromise: EMay will either learn to do it on her own, or she will study with the very best. She is a soulful self-taught vocalist, but she counts among her teachers Alanis Morisette, Jorma Kaukonen, Tom Feldman, Zoe Jakes and John Robbins.
A soulful singer, exceptional fingerpicking guitarist and eclectic songwriter, EMay is most frequently compared to Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morisette, Edie Brickell, Janis Joplin, and is poised to sit in the upper escalon of female singer-songwriters.
EMay’s original acoustic songs fall in the folk / AAA / alternative genre, but she has always favored playing in rock bands. In 2016, EMay began working with Grammy-award winning producer Jimmy Hoyson. EMay recalls, “Jimmy put together a beyond-your-wildest-dream group.” 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 from some of 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, which is slated to be released in 2018 on Mountains Wide.
EMay’s songs often venture into the realm of love and loss, with grief and trauma being part of her personal history. She explores themes relating to 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 of our innate ability to overcome great struggle and our indelible connection to the web of life and human.
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 a member of doom-metal group Black Yo)))ga Meditation Ensemble. She has been a principal member of Turkish Folk project Kirik Hava, acoustic trio Between Liberties, party rock band The Sectionals. She has released four CDs independently since 2011. She has opened for 10,000 Maniacs, Toubabe Krewe, Rusted Root, Dar Williams, Loudon Wainwright III, Marcia Ball, The Black Lilies and Cabinet.
“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.