Emily Grove has been singing and playing the guitar since age eleven. She grew up in Wall Township and still resides there with her boyfriend of three years and fellow musician, James McCaffrey.
In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 she received the Asbury Park Music Award for best female acoustic act. And she was the recipient of the Jersey Acoustic Music Award for top female vocalist and top female songwriter, also in 2011 and 2012.
She’s been the opening act for well-known musicians like Glen Burtnik and Brett Michaels and appeared on the Today Show with David Gray. She has toured the US and the UK, both with British artist David Ford and on her own. Locally, she’s performed at many Asbury Park venues: The Saint, The Stone Pony, Tim McCloones Supper Club, The Asbury Hotel, and The Asbury Lanes.
Emily’s career began during her first year at Berklee College of Music when she would come home on the weekends and sing at open mic nights at places like Espresso Joe’s in Keyport and Twisted Tree Cafe in Asbury Park.
Her unique sound has been described as alternative folk and she’s been compared to a host of female vocalists that run the gamut from Carly Simon and Carole King to Joni Mitchell and Alanis Morissette. A Coloratura soprano, she has a vertical voice range that allows her to sing just about anything.
Emily was destined for a life in music. Along with her angelic voice, she has music-loving parents. When she was growing up they would listen to music every night while having dinner. She was named Emily after Paul Simons, “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” and shares her birthday with Jerry Garcia, August 1st, 1991.
Her mother, Isabella, is an accountant. Her father, Edward, is an electrician. They both enjoy a wide variety of music, from classic country to blues, jazz, rock and classical.
I guess that explains why her musical style is so versatile. Having learned to appreciate so many musical genres, she manages to master and blend them together in transcendent poetic grandeur.
Her music career is full-time and in her spare time, she teaches at the Lakehouse Music Academy. She’s an old soul, which is evident in her music and her
She shared with me how she found her voice. H
Your musical style is described as a combination of country and rock n’ roll, blended with poetry. How would YOU describe your musical style?
“One of my producers for the last record, Life of a Commoner put it like this and I think he said it best, ‘It sounds like Patti Griffin and Nick Cave got into a fistfight.’ So it’s a little folky, it’s a little dark, a little offbeat, and a bit of a battle. You don’t know which side’s going to win” she laughs.
When did you begin writing music?
“I was probably about 18 years old when I wrote my first song. The song was ‘Flea’ – it was taken from a poem by John Donne,” (A 16th Century English poet).
Who is the rock n’ roll star that inspired your song, “Way across the Sea?”
“I was obsessed with this band, Weezer, growing up and Rivers Cuomo is the lead vocalist. I loved him, he was so smart, so talented, kind of that dorky nerd guy and he just inspired me. He wrote and recorded a song called “Across the Sea” and my song has little homages to his song. “Way Across the Sea” was in response to his song.”
Do you find it easier to write the music or the lyrics for a song?
“It depends, each song is different. The song, Johnny Lee I wrote at 3 am when I was watching the Golden Girls. I was thinking about the movie, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” because I really love the soundtrack to that movie and wanted to feel some inspiration. I was trying to write an acapella song. I got inspired by “Behind the Wall” by Tracy Chapman, and the song came out in like five minutes.”
I understand your first album; “Way Across the Sea” was produced by Jack Daley. How did that come about?
“Oh my gosh, this is so crazy. I was about to go back to Berklee. I was 18 years old and performing at SAWA in Pier Village. Jack and his wife Thea were there, they hit me up afterward, and we had this long conversation. Over time we got to know each other pretty well and about a year later we began to work on the album.”
What made you begin singing?
“When I was little I was bullied. I had these mean girlfriends. You know, they’d say things like, ‘We’re having a party and you can’t come.’ Or ‘We’re having a sleepover and you’re not invited.’ You know, stuff that mean girls say. I was in the third or fourth grade. It was really bad and it got to the point where I lost my confidence and began speaking very softly, almost a whisper. I kept thinking, ‘am I not good enough?’ I even switched schools. Then a family friend, Joe DeMaio, (of Shorefire Recording Studio) suggested I take voice lessons from Jody Joseph who really helped me. As I began singing, people really liked it, and I thought, ‘this is great, I want to do more of this.'” She chuckles.
Who influenced your music?
“Mostly it was Dolores O’Rordan from The Cranberries, Alanis Morissette, Patty Griffin, and PJ Harvey were my girls. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash too.”
What inspired you the most?
“Hearing the yodels of Dolores O’Riordan; feeling inspired and powerful after being bullied. I thought, ‘I want to do that.'”
Tell me about the song “Lock me Out.”
“It’s just a happy tune about being afraid to leave your house.” More chuckles. “It’s about making people feel comfortable. I gave a TEDx Talk last year about having social anxiety. It’s pretty common among musicians. The song is a way of being able to be both an extrovert and an introvert.”
I heard you sing “All of me” on one of your videos. It was incredible, like you stepped back in time. How do you feel about the swing era?
“Oh gosh, I grew up with Benny Goodman and the music my grandmother used to listen to. We listened to jazz a lot. I remember when I was young watching a PBS special about the Jazz era. I loved that era. And I loved Ella Fitzgerald. She was just so natural, so beautiful, an incredible vocalist. And, of course, I went to Berklee. You can’t escape that music.”
So what’s coming up in the near future?
“Well, I just got back from touring in October. We started up in Boston and hit up Rhode Island, New York, and came down to New Jersey, then Chicago and Rensselaer, and then a full tour of Texas, hitting all the major cities; Dallas, Austin, San Antonio,
Will you be singing original songs today?
“Oh yes. I’ll be singing mostly original songs. I may do some Dolores O’Riordan just for fun, but I’ll be trying out my new stuff: When I’m King, Angel, No One Cares, You’re Bringing Me Down.”
Her boyfriend, James McCaffrey, guitarist of Karmic Juggernaut, has a recording studio called “The Hangar” and will be producing the new album with many of her new songs. When I’m King will be the first song released this year.