When it comes to artists, there are very few who have the natural ability to transcend genre, floating seamlessly from style to style without ever missing a beat. Enter Emily West, a singer best-known for her stint on America’s Got Talent, but a singer that country fans have known for years. We had the opportunity to catch up with the “Blue Sky” belter on everything from her television foray to her forthcoming record to her “fairy godmother” Cyndi Lauper. Plus, what interview would be complete without hearing her opinion on “Saladgate”?
For West, pursuing national television was simply a way to get a much-deserved second chance in a fickle music industry. “I’ve always wanted to have a second chance and figure out what I was going to do with it. I was in country music for awhile. No one really knew what to do with me…I wasn’t country, but not really pop and so, I’m getting a chance to sing…I’m learning the road and becoming a road warrior.”
While the industry may be obsessed with fitting artists into carefully crafted genre boxes, she bucks that trend. “I feel like I’m unboxable,” she says. “I definitely feel like there’s a lot of theater and drama and story to my songs…and just emotion, I like bringing the emotion back into music. I really identify with stories. Even when a songwriter can’t sing, I still to listen to the story. Anybody that has something to say, I listen to and interpret it. I really feel like I’m unboxable.”
That inability to be pigeonholed will be evident on her forthcoming album, All For You, due out on August 14th. The album will feature her first single, “Bitter,” a Celtic-tinged track about heartbeak that has been endlessly remixed and soars in the clubs. “It’s like a club song now…Celtic to a club, it’s fine with me if people are enjoying themselves.”
Additionally, the album will feature three other original tracks, including “Battles,” which West describes as her favorite. In addition to the new tracks, the album will feature covers of fan favorites that she conquered on America’s Got Talent, including Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” Sia’s “Chandelier” and a gospel-tinged take on David Guetta and Usher’s “Without You.”
Of the Lauper track, West has a special relationship with the singer who she’s known since a stint on Celebrity Apprentice. In fact, it was the pop star who arranged for West to audition for a role in Broadway’s Kinky Boots. And while West didn’t score the role, she said “yes” to an audition for America’s Got Talent, and the rest, as they say, is history. However, the vocal powerhouse has plans for a Broadway stint eventually. “I’d love to be on Broadway..I feel like that’s something I’ll probably do in the future.”
There’s no denying that Emily West is passionate about her craft and about country music as a whole. “I say just bring on the tomatoes and you know, I’ve been struggling with that whole thing. I will always love country music and will probably make a country album in the next couple years, but it’ll be an old school country record filled with just beautiful stories. I just can’t identify with a lot of the bro-country out there with truckers and beer and tractors…I just couldn’t deal with it so I had to get out and sing Barbra Streisand, but I’m all about telling a good story. If you’re a girl or a boy, it doesn’t matter. I’m all for tomatoes and just a good song.”
Although her album has yet to be released, West is already working on a follow-up and enjoying time on the road. And while she may be dabbling outside of country music right now, her heart always remains in Nashville. “I’m like a gypsy,” She laughs. “There’s really no home base for now except for Nashville”
Watch Emily West’s video for “Bitter” here!