Emma Jo’s latest record, 'Brave,' is not only shaped by grief and heartache, but growth and perseverance.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — To say that Emma Jo’s sophomore album is long overdue is an understatement. She was just 15-years-old when she released her first solo record, Waiting to be Heard. More than ten years later, the folkabilly singer is back with a powerful new album packed with raw emotion, profound lyrics, and heartfelt melodies. Appropriately titled Brave, her second record is slated for an April 7th, 2018 release, and she couldn’t be more excited.
“I worked so hard, have grown so much, and I can’t wait to share this piece of myself with the world,” stated Emma Jo. “As we were laying down the final tracks, for the first time in my life I thought, this is my sound. This record is the most ‘me’ thing I’ve ever done.”
Emma Jo’s latest project is influenced deeply by her personal tragedy, which almost resulted in the album’s postponement. In June 2017, she lost her paternal grandfather unexpectedly. Four months later, right around the time she was scheduled to begin recording her second album, she then lost her father to suicide. He was only 51 years old. As many people might imagine, her father’s untimely passing hit Emma Jo like a ton of bricks. Her biggest fan, a man who struggled with depression for quite some time, was suddenly gone.
“He always came to my shows and knew every word to every one of my songs,” she stated. “He was funny, charismatic, and larger than life. He was a nurse, a sort of gentle giant, and his patients loved him. In hindsight, knowing everything I know now, I realize there were warning signs, but like most people, I wasn’t trained to understand what they were.”
Shock. Denial. Numbness. These are all feelings Emma Jo experienced following her father’s death. Those emotions could have easily consumed her. Instead, the tragedy gave her the momentum to see her sophomore album through from beginning to end. Her dad, after all, would have wanted it that way. For her, recording Brave very much became part of the healing process. Every teardrop was also like a waterfall that brought her one step closer to peace.
“I remember sitting on the floor in my writing room, guitar and pen in hand, and just sobbing after every line I wrote,” the singer recalled. “On one particular song, I wrote from my dad’s perspective but also from mine. I wrote what I wanted to say to him. That song turned out to be the first single on the album titled Your Story Isn’t Over Yet.”
Emma Jo eventually shared a video of herself performing the new single with a grief support group on Facebook which was met by an overwhelming amount of positive feedback — so much so that the video has received nearly 30,000 views to date.
“I’m so proud of the way it turned out, and I know my dad would have loved it, too,” stated the singer.
She hopes the single, along with the rest of the album, will bring awareness to suicide prevention and encourage others battling depression to never give up hope. “Things will eventually get better,” she stated.
“There is more to your story. There is more to come. Reach out for help. There are people who love you so, so much,” stressed Emma Jo. “To everyone else, none of us know what others around us are going through. Remember to be compassionate and aware of the people in your life, and don’t be afraid to offer a listening ear.”
Pinned with powerful hooks, chilling words, and melodies that will linger in your head while also giving you the occasional goosebumps, Brave is filled with 11 captivating songs that chronicle Emma Jo’s personal exploration of love, loss, vulnerability, and strength. It’s folkabilly at its finest.
“Misery has settled in for the night. And I don’t even know if it’s gonna go away this time,” reads the lyrics from “In the End,” another emotional song from the 11-track album. “I begged and I pleaded with you not to leave me.”
To celebrate the album’s April 7th, 2018 release, Emma Jo will perform at the Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The show begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased at musicaltheatherheritage.com. Brave can currently be pre-ordered through iTunes.
To learn more about Emma Jo, visit emmajo.rocks.