Updated: Dec 13, 2020
On day 9 of our 2020 Round up, Karishma caught up with rising star, Emiko, to talk all about his debut EP, musical influences, and plans for 2021…
Karishma: Whilst listening to your recent EP, 'Piece of Mind', I was struck by the time you give yourself to reflect on past experiences. Can you tell me a little bit more about how memory informs your creative process? What is it about specific experiences that draw you to writing about them?
Emiko: Memory is so important to me - memory has the ability to unlock past experiences you may have even forgotten exists. From your first kiss, to the feeling of hearing your favourite artists album for the first time, the first time you really felt like you were coming into your own identity. These experiences and memories help shape and build character that will last a lifetime. I think that is why it's so important to me and why my memory is very sharp. I like writing about specific experiences because I often see them as time portals. A distant memory can feel so close to home, you remember taste, smell, and your surroundings around the time and it is almost like you’re time travelling and being transported back to that moment in time.
Karishma: ‘Youth (Of Better Times)’ and ‘Pride’ in particular seem to be speaking to a much younger version of yourself. If you could speak to that younger self now, what advice would you give him?
Emiko: I would say, “As difficult as it may be to visualise now, you are more powerful and worthy than you think. Life happens best in your own time.”
Karishma: Speaking of the past, what first got you into music? Who are your main influences?
Emiko: I cannot pinpoint a specific time where I got into music. I have been always singing for the most part, but nobody really knew except for my immediate family. I was shy and singing on top of that shyness in front of people was the exact type of attention I did not want growing up.
My main influences are Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Frank Ocean, Otis Redding, Lauryn Hill oh the list can go on, but I would say these are the artists that really helped define my voice and where I want to go with it artistically.
Karishma: You recently released live performances of ‘R U Down?’ and ‘Old School Lovin’, which both felt beautifully intimate. How did the idea for this series of live performances come about and how did you find it performing without a physical audience?
Emiko: I was fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with Wildstag Studios in Brighton! They reached out to me and offered me the chance to perform my records in a very intimate live setting that was live streamed via Facebook before I finally released the videos onto my social channels.
It was obviously a bit surreal talking to a camera as if it was a live audience, but honestly, I think my whole life has geared me for instances such as this. I was always talking and singing to myself as a child because of my shyness so I am very comfortable rambling on to a camera haha.
Karishma: Your debut single, ‘Is It Real’, was released back in 2018. How has your creative process evolved over the past two years?
Emiko: I think lyrically I have evolved. There is more to write about and I have more to say as I mature as a man and artist. Naturally I have more to say- more pain to share but also more joy and versions of love to share too. It's a journey and it can be directly reflected in my music. It’s always nice to see that level of growth in art form.
Karishma: Over the past couple of years, you’ve performed at venues all over the U.K. Can you tell me a little bit about your favourite gig so far?
Emiko: Wow there have been so many amazing performances all for different reasons. I am very interactive with the audience and will always open up to them and give them all my energy in the hope that they reciprocate that energy. It's always nice when that happens, that's the true magic of live performances, the exchange or interchange of energies. For that reason i’d say either Jazz Cafélast December 2019- that show was electrifying. Or my sold out headline Coloursshow back in February 2020.
Karishma: After the success of your debut EP this year, I can’t wait to see how your career progresses. What are your ambitions as a musician from here? Can we expect any projects from you in 2021?
Emiko: It's been a weird one because although I dropped my EP early this year, it has also meant that due to the pandemic I have not been able to adequately promote the EP in the way I would have liked i.e. live performances and interviews. However, this period has allowed me to redefine myself personally and pretty much go into hibernation mode, working on my craft, making changes within my direction so that when 2021 comes I am ready and have a strategic plan! Mentally this year has been a strain on me, but it has also allowed me to work on myself from the ground up again. So, I am excited about this transformation period and what 2021 has to offer: expect more music, shows and just in general me walking into my artistic identity.
Listen to Emiko’s EP, ‘Piece of Mind’, here