Emily Kopp is an indie soul artist who recently moved to Nashville. She’s a talented young singer with an already impressive resume and she’s playing The Basement tonight. We got to know Kopp before her “hometown” show.
Nashville Noise: Thanks so much for chatting with us. Your music gets described as “indie soul” a lot but how do you describe it?
Emily Kopp: Thank you guys! I would describe my music as pop driven — with tinges of soul and rock.
You’ve been playing music since you were a kid. Was there one moment where you knew you had a special connection with music?
I don’t recall an “aha” moment. Looking back, it was as central in my life as anything else inherent. Music being a part of my life was never an active decision. It just existed as a part of who I was.
How has your musical style changed through the years?
I started working on original music early on in college. My style has gone from “wanna be this” to “wanna be that” to slowly creating things that are authentically me and authentically good.
Ira Glass has a really beautiful take on this (“The Gap”). When a creative person first starts making things, they tend to have good enough taste to work towards something that tries to be good. Yet, there is this gap. That creation never feels like it’s actually any good, let alone authentic in the least bit. This was me in the beginning. You don’t know any better, so you emulate. I emulated Sara Bareilles, Tracy Chapman, Grace Potter, etc. Now I’ve finally taken the bits and pieces of the art that I love and have settled into a space that feels like I’m finally closing that gap — and reaching total authenticity.
Wow. That authenticity definitely comes through in your new single, “Hold Your Head Up.” Tell me about that track.
“Hold Your Head Up” began as a voice note on my iPhone in 2014. A lot of the elements melodically were there. But, for one reason or another, I had put it aside. When I’d stumbled back upon it earlier this year, I knew it was a seed of an idea that definitely had legs and potential to be anthemic. The melody lent itself to the uplifting message. Together, my collaborator and producer Justin Beckler and I, created “Hold Your Head Up.” I love feel good music, and productions, so this felt great to create and release.
You’ve already done a lot of touring and been on the road with some huge artists (Gin Blossoms, Matchbox 20, Brandi Carlile). How have they helped you evolve your own stage presence?
Watching people like Rob Thomas, or Brandi Carlile, own a room in the most authentic and effortless way is an inspiring thing to watch, especially as a young performer. Every time I see an amazing live artist, I absorb as much as I can and take it with me on my journey. It’s taken years of touring and playing live to get to that place in my performances. Bruce Springsteen is the master of that in my opinion — a true entertainer through and through. He’s mastered it all. The confidence, the banter, the band and audience engagement, the dynamics. It’s incredible to witness.
You recently made Nashville your home and you’re about to play your first show here since the move. What feelings do you have going in to it?
I’m just excited play. We tour, I do my thing, and then usually come home and get back to writing. A lot of people here haven’t gotten to see that side of what I do. So I’m looking forward to having that moment as an official Nashville resident!
You’re releasing an EP this August. What can people expect to hear?
The songs are definitely bold in production. Colorful. Anthemic. Also, songs that translate really well in a live setting too. It’s a different look than my last EP, but not too much of a departure. It’s (unapologetically) more pop driven than anything else I’ve released before.
Check out Kopp open for Bern Kelly tonight at The Basement. The show begins at 7PM but doors open at 6:30PM. Get your tickets (they’re only $5!) here.