One of the most incomparable vocalists that have ever appeared on America’s Got Talent (AGT) is Emily West!
The Waterloo, Iowa native took a chance and auditioned for this past season of AGT.
For Emily, this audition was her second chance to live the life she always wanted.
After she graduated from high school, Emily moved to Nashville in hopes to make an impact in the music industry. Her wish came true when she signed to Capital Records Nashville. She released several hit singles including “Rocks in Your Shoes” and “Blue Sky,” a duet with country superstar and American Idol judge Keith Urban.
However, when Emily lost her record deal…she thought her world collapsed. Little did she know that she would experience a rebirth when she belted Phil Phillips’ “Sea of Love during her audition for AGT!
After, Emily received her four “Yeses,” she took season nine by storm with her passionate out-of-this-world covers of “Chandelier”, “Nights in White Satin” and her duet of “True Colors” with her mentor, Cyndi Lauper.
While she may have finished in second, Emily’s fans have rallied behind her on Pledge Music and totally funded her upcoming studio album.
Just days before she takes the AXIS stage at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino as part of America’s Got Talent LIVE, Emily talked about the lessons that she learned during her time on AGT and how Cyndi Lauper inspired her as an artist.
Jacob Elyachar: How did you grow as a singer while you were on “America’s Got Talent”?
Emily West: I got the pleasure of working with some world-class music executives that KNEW my new vision and helped me craft it on Live TV. The tracks were big and dramatic so getting to hear that made me morph into something…big and dramatic. It was lovely!
JE: For many longtime reality TV fans, you caught the attention of the nation when you were chosen as the artist for Cyndi Lauper’s team to make over on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Four years later, you performed with her on the AGT season finale. How big of a role did Ms. Lauper played in your musical career?
EW: Cyndi has inspired me as a woman and as a performer in a lot of ways.
Before I moved to New York, I went to a Cyndi Lauper show and got to visit with her backstage. I told her I had some big life choices to make and that I was kind of scared. She told me ‘Kid, don’t be scared, all you gotta do is take some spirit dancing classes and you’ll be fine’. A month later, I was living in Harlem, which was basically a spirit dancing class with me walking to the 6 Train.
JE: Would you like to collaborate with Ms. Lauper in the future?
EW: Absolutely! She has no fear and I like working with people like that.
JE: What were some of the lessons that you learned on “AGT”?
EW: I learned that you cannot control anything and that if you are going to do something like AGT, you MUST always be calm and keep your heart wide open. But, have your boundaries.
JE: How are you going to implement them in the next chapter of your career?
EW: It prepared me in all ways. Heart open with no fear. No fear. God has not given anyone the spirit of fear.
JE: Recently, you launched a campaign on Pledge Music in order to record your first post-“AGT” album. How have your fans rallied around this campaign?
EW: I am blown away by the outpour! We reached the goal in less than 24 hours and I am in tears practically everyday after I see the numbers getting higher and higher! I say ‘we’ because it is a collaboration of the fans and me. It is because of their belief and support I get to make my dream record! They will get to be apart of me making my record.
Pledge is amazing- the record industry is changing drastically and actual fans know more about making good music and know how to promote it as opposed to the suits in their offices scratching their heads at how to make a song popular. It is a new beautiful way to engage with the true people that really do want you to succeed. I am honored and singing ‘Amen’ every morning that we have actually found a new way to make music business make sense and FAIR. Thank God for the fans and thank God for Pledge Music!
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring singer-songwriters that want to have a career in the recording industry, what advice would you share with them?
EW: Well, I meet them all the time- since I live in Nashville….(wink)
I would tell them to never be afraid in expressing their story in song. Be vulnerable and follow your heart. People tend to focus on ‘hits’ and how to make one which really drives away from writing a song that could really hit home to a lot of people who need it. Also, know what you want and go do it.
Do not drink too much or hang out a lot with people that drink or party too much…those people do not live in reality and they do not really follow through or remember what their great idea was at 3:00 a.m. Partying too much can age.
Set goals for yourself and play out as much as you can, own your publishing if you can, be around good people that make you want to strive for big things. If you are any good, then you will need a good lawyer. Do not hang out with people that drink too much- I repeat. Tell your story and tell it well. People are suckers for the truth.
Oh and have fun- cause it is supposed to be fun.
To learn more about Emily West, visit her website: http://emilywestofficial.com/
If you want to contribute to Emily’s upcoming album, visit her Pledge Music page: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/emilywest