Emi Meyer Offers An Honest Track-by-Track For Latest Project, ‘The Road to Franklin’

Emi Meyer got her start as an accidental success being fueled by a surprise win in the Kobe Jazz Queen Contest at age 18 and then propelled forward by a loyal MySpace following (look it up, kids). Today she is is an on-purpose success as the career trajectory that was set in motion more than a decade ago continues.

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After releasing original jazz material as well as covering jazz standards and 70s Japanese songs, Meyer made strides in crafting compelling singer-songwriter material with “When I Lose Control.” It was/is an uplifting track with smooth basslines and emotive vocals that showcases her ability.

In the wake of a crazy 2020, she decided to split her latest project into two EPs; the first is called ‘The Road To Franklin’ and the other is TBD. ‘The Road To Franklin’ released today, October 16 and features four tracks.

Meyers gave American Songwriter the details on what inspired each tune for this release. You can check out the music below, and if you like it support her on her site.

When I Lose Control
 I love this because KebMo listened to my entire catalogue and must have felt I needed to “lose control”. It’s true that I’ve had a tight grip on my career, because I did not have one single person or label guiding me. I guess that’s something I’ve struggled with all my life, not fitting in to any one ethnicity, nationality or genre, and walking the tightrope of trying to define yourself. Maybe Kevin felt that I could use a change. This lyrical message of losing control combined with the necessity to be in the pocket groove-wise is a balancing act. Kevin taught me how if you are in the pocket, you can sing the same song every night but it will feel fresh and the audience will follow you. Both letting go and being in the pocket are what makes KebMo amazing and I am happy if a modicum of that rubbed off on me by writing this song together.

I love the new context with which this song is being interpreted. We all know how quarantine has made you closer to some and distant from others. Relationships are not what you thought they are, and priorities are becoming clear. This song was originally written about myself, how in an intense relationship that asks too much from me, I used to want distance and space. Like I needed space to think and be myself.Now having matured I realize the value of doubling down and treasuring the ones that will always be there for you, and so this song is actually singing to myself at the end “is this what you meant by needing space?” A vast distance where both of you are no longer reachable. A “look what you’ve done” moment.

Nashville Lullaby
This is the last song we wrote for the album, written at a session on the last day of preproduction. I mentioned the first lyric as an idea, a message to my baby of the places she’s been that create her identity, and then Jordan started plucking at a guitar with a melody and Lowell and I kept adding ideas. I really cherish the song because it has the simplicity and intimacy of a new beginning, and the moment of anticipation and the unknown where a family of two becomes three. 

I wrote this one at my piano in Seattle, because while I was making the songs for this record, I realized I wasn’t used to the new subject matter of expecting and becoming a mother. Totally an unknown mystery, I don’t have siblings or close friends at that time that I had seen go through this process. So the way I could approach it was to imagine how I would nurture my baby and what kind of person I would want her to be. Values that are sort of the pillars of a life and tools I have found to be most useful in creating your own path.

I wrote the hook of this song for a collaboration with the Nappy Roots. To be honest this story was inspired by how Joni Mitchell had to give up her first child for adoption. It made me think about the circumstances surrounding motherhood, and situations out of your control. With Nappy Roots I was imagining what it means to be a parent and have your child go on their own journey, and waiting for them to migrate home again when they are ready.

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