She goes by Greene. Los Angeles musician, Emily Greene, has a smoldering voice, deeply felt, and impossibly lithe. Her melodies hook and stick and ache and soothe, and her lyrics crackle like motorcycle exhaust. She is a pop artist and songwriter with a jazzer head and an indie heart. Greene's got street cred and studied craft: she went to Berklee College of Music, played keyboards in Passion Pit, co-leads the indie rock band, Riothorse Royale, with Madi Diaz, and electronic trip hop band, Kissy Girls, with Pascal Le Boeuf, as well as singing and working on Dan Romer's film scoring team.
Born and bred in Miami, Greene grew up, as most performers do, putting on shows for her friends and family whether they wanted a show or not -- Greene went on. And on she went. She wrote her first song when she was seven and cut her first demo on the casette tape in her boombox.
But then she stopped. Stopped singing. Stopped playing. Stopped acting. Stopped putting on shows whether the people wanted their shows or not.
She went to prep school and got really into art -- high art, low art, new art, old art, history, zeitgeist, you get the idea… She listened to music, fiendishly, too, but she didn't make any.
When junior year rolled around and college applications started, Greene's friend from New York showed up with a manila envelope that had a message in marker on it: "Just do yourself and all of us a favor. Trust me." Inside was an application to Berklee College of Music. Greene obliged; she followed the clue. The clue knew; evidently, her friend did, too.
At Berklee, Greene was a piano principle. She studied with Joanne Brackeen, a queen of odd meter and modal, modern jazz, and an artist with high performance standards. Piano is a percussion instrument many forget; Brackeen taught Greene how to play piano like a real drummer. This is an important element in Greene's cultivated craft.
In college, she was also tapped by famed professor, Pat Pattison (John Mayer, Gillian Welch) to do a songwriting apprenticeship with him. He trained her like a soldier. She had to write a song a day, no misses or he would end it; this changed her life. And upped her game.
At Berklee, Greene fronted a jazz trio and a band called Imoto. Imoto was a an indie rock project and collaboration among her favorite musicians from Berklee, who were essentially a merry band of the school's jazz prodigies: Alex Wintz (guitars), Andrew Toombs (keyboards), Sean Gordon (bass), and Daniel Platzman (drums). Moody, modal chord progressions, deft polyrhythms, eccentric meter, inexorable groove. White hot metallic guitars with a glimmer of psychedelia -- and smokeshow vocals. Imoto was a sweet spot for Greene as an artist. She started developing more rock projects alongside her songwriting catalogue.
After Berklee, Greene moved to the East Village, and within a matter of months, became a staple of the New York singer-songwriter scene. She booked residencies at the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, and recorded a compilation of songs with producer and film composer, Dan Romer (Christina Aguilera, Beasts of the Southern Wild), called Is This What You Had In Mind.
On a parallel track, she kept making more indie rock with jazz kids. She collaborated with Pascal LeBeouf, a jazz piano prodigy and avant-garde sound designer, on a trip-hop project called Kissy Girls. The sonic aesthetic is one of sparkling paradox: it's downtempo yet epic, experimental yet accessible, cacophonous yet calming, spacious yet whispering-close, awakening yet dreamy. Whatever it is, Le Beouf and le Greene just call it "headphone music."
After that, she left New York to play keyboards in Passion Pit on the Gossamer tour. They toured across North America, Europe, and Asia, and played legendary stages like Redding and Leads, Lollapalooza, Summer Sonic, Outside Lands, Osheaga, Made in America, Rock En Seine, and SNL.
And this was when she left her heart in New York and moved to LA.
Greene co-leads indie rock band, Riothorse Royale, with Madi Diaz. One night, when they were playing one of their first shows, Liz Phair was there. And she dug it a lot. She started tweeting about the band and her chirps churned up enough online steam to make their first single go viral. They got a booking agent and manager, Phil Costello (Bats for Lashes, Interpol) at Red Light, and they've been touring with Jose Gonzalez and Other Lives.
Alongside RIothorse, Greene is also developing an alt-rock project called Hollywood Animal with drummer, Nate Lotz (Halsey, Ryan Adams, Blacktop Queen). Hollywood Animal is about wanting more. It's power pop with anthemic choruses -- killer rock singles.
This is Emily Greene so far.