Emily Afton
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Emily Afton

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Indie




"10 Questions with Singer Emily Afton"

Emily Afton’s voice is transporting, a short bio for her proclaims. Deep and smoky, Emily delivers her emotive and honest songs from a place that feels lodged in the past, rooted in a dreamy era of nostalgia. An Encinitas native but now Oakland based, Emily’s music is indie-pop meets an after-hours quest for mischief, with ribbons of R&B-electronica interwoven.

Breaking from her folk-pop start as Emily Moldy, Afton’s band plays vocal-driven narratives in the style of Fiona Apple, followed by dark synths, and uptempo dance tracks that get crowds dancing. Emily spent 2014 writing and recording her first full-length album alongside acclaimed Bay Area producers David Earl and Lila Rose whose musical garnishes add cinematic depth to the once “sweet singer-songwriter music.” Having just toured the South with Third Eye Blind, Afton is now looking towards the release of her new album, an episodic LP which laces together her five-year conversation with the ghosts of life, love and death and is set to be released in 2016.

Question 1: What brought you to Encinitas?

I grew up in Encinitas. My parents moved here from Georgia before I was born. I live in the Bay Area now but I visit so frequently that Encinitas also feels like my home.

Question 2: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

I would love to see more spaces for young people to exist and be creative. The closing of E-Street Cafe was a sad moment for Encinitas because that was a space for people (young and old) to perform on a stage, express themselves, and just be weird together. That was the first stage I think I ever performed on so I was personally really sad to see it go. I also wish there were cultural centers in downtown Encinitas so people from different backgrounds (like the Latino community, LGBTQ folks, etc.) could have more visibility and a place to be celebrated in our larger community. I think that would add so much to this beautiful city!

Question 3: Who or what inspires you? (See answer to number 4)!

All of those people inspire me. I guess I am in sort of a “art bubble vortex” right now... as music is the main thing I’m doing. But in a broader sense, I really am inspired by anyone who puts their mind to something and works really hard at it. I find focus and drive to be super attractive and inspiring.

Question 4: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

This is such a hard question... Kembra Pfahler, Oscar Wilde, Frank Ocean, Tina Fey, Frida Kahlo, CocoRosie (that’s two people), and Amy Goodman! We could drink wine, do poetry readings, talk about how to change the world, and do performances all night! What a dream!

Question 5: What are some of your favorite movies?

I Heart Huckabees, The Princess Bride, and Newsies!

Question 6: What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do, and what’s the most rewarding?

I think staying organized and inspired at the same time is the most challenging thing for me as a musician. The most rewarding thing for me is when someone reaches out to me (especially someone who I have never met) and tells me that my music has touched them, or inspired them. A music career can feel like a very vain pursuit at times, but when I hear that my music has impacted someone and made them feel something, then it reminds me to stick at it. That is a very rewarding feeling.

Question 7: What do you do for fun?

I just discovered that I love roller skating! Someone in Encinitas should make a roller disco downtown! That would be amazing.. Add that to the list!

Question 8: What is it that you most dislike?

When Donald Trump talks. Eh em.. Or in more PC terms... When people spread ignorance, fear and hatred to others.

Question 9: What do you hope to accomplish next?

I really want to do a West Coast tour, performing my news songs from the album that we just finished, and spreading my music to as many people as possible! We just got back from doing a touring the South, which was such a cool experience. But I am really excited to bring my music to the place where I am from and where I identity with and love so strongly: California and the West Coast.

I also want to take a pottery class and join a gym at some point... Goals.

Question 10: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I will say that my life philosophy can be summed up by Koko, the talking gorilla. One could argue that she is smarter than most humans in her perspective about the state of the Earth and the human species. If you haven’t watched videos of her communicating with humans yet, go do it now because she is precious!

10 Questions is an Encinitas Advocate feature spotlighting interesting people in the community. - The Encinitas Advocate

"Emily Afton Releases Her New Album 'Archetype'"

Bay Area based singer-songwriter, Emily Afton has released a new collection of hauntinly beautiful songs. Her album is entitled, Archetype and can be heard in its entirety via Soundcloud.com. We're always excited to share new music with The Deli readers and this new album is a total gem!

Archetype is a crossroads of Emily Afton’s path as a songwriter. It brings together new ideas & old concepts, taps into her psyche, and draws from the canon of contemporary tastes while creating something distinct. The album is indicative of Afton’s changing artistic tides, ebbing from guitar and piano driven folk and flowing to alt pop circuitry and back over a period of about a year. Her decision to change her name from ‘Emily Moldy’ (her last name is Moldenhauer, Afton is her middle name) was also inspired by the broadening musical horizons in full view on Archetype. The album is a perfect introduction to Afton’s inspired persona, drawing the listener in close with a Siren’s song that stops before the rocks get too close. - The Deli

"Premiere: Stream Emily Afton's 'Archetype'"

Oakland-based singer/songwriter Emily Afton isn't just blessed with beautiful vocals, but she has a sound that's as booming as her pipes. Her Archetype album shows an artist who is clearly on the ascent. The album is full of catchy tracks that can easily bleed into the pop realm. Songs like "Off Your Skin," "Words From Your Tongue" and "My Own One," with its luscious strings, are standouts, but overall, the record is one you need to hear.

"'Archetype' is a journey of self-discovery," she says of the album. "I made it during a time when there was a lot changing within my world. Because of that, each song is quite different and feels like a different chapter of a larger book.

"A book that has many different textures and emotions and time periods. That's what I hope ARCHETYPE brings to people who listen to it - a place where you can think about where you've gone and where you're at." - Pure Volume

"Premiere: Emily Afton's New Album 'Archetype'"

Emily Afton is an indie pop artist. An indie pop artist from the Bay Area. An indie pop artist from the Bay Area that’s gearing up for the release of her latest LP, Archetype. Today, we’re offering you an exclusive stream of the collection.

Produced by David Earl and Lila Rose, Archetype explores the ghosts of life, love, and death, and more specifically Afton’s five year conversation with them. Lively tracks are paired with driven lyrics, making for a hard hitting collection. Check it out below, and let us know what you think on Twitter! - idobi

"Bae of the Week: Emily Afton"

Emily Afton has been through some changes lately. Fresh off tour with Third Eye Blind and a change in her stage name that reflects her growth as an artist, Afton is now poised to capture hearts all around the Bay Area. We're proud to share her newest single "Someday" with our readers in anticipation of a string of shows around San Francisco and Oakland to round out a very exciting year. The new track gorgeously captures her knack for writing songs that encapsulate and embrace the wide range of human emotion. It is clear that Emily understands the importance of catharsis, especially as it relates to art, and this shows through in her music. We got the chance to talk to her about this exciting period in her career and where she wants to go next. With big plans for incorporating new styles of music and a love for electronic sounds that we will probably be hearing soon in her new stuff, you don't want to miss your chance to get to know this artist.

Stream "Someday" below, click the event to win a pair of tickets to her upcoming show at Slim's on July 1st, and read on to check out our interview with Emily Afton. - Do The Bay

"Emily Afton's Gorgeous Music Video for 'Severing the Knot'"

Running a music blog, I am blessed with a fairly constant stream of new music recommendations from friends and loved ones. Being incredibly tasteful people, their recommendations nearly always hit the mark. Occasionally my friends go above and beyond pointing me in the direction of a new artist that really blows me out of the water.

I was blindsided by the emotional powerhouse that is Emily Afton and her music video for “Severing the Knot.” Set on a somewhat surreal beachscape, Emily spins a tale of burned love that has run its course. “Severing the Knot” has a tangible weight that pulls you down and a harsh loneliness that expands inside of you. Out of this comes absurd beauty.

Emily Afton is currently touring with Third Eye Blind. - Milk Crater

"Week in Pop (Feature of Emily Afton)"

Despite what you might have heard from the naysayers & doom merchants; the Bay Area’s own music scene remains as thriving & vibrant as ever. While San Francisco still retains some vanguards & the new guard on the rise, Oakland along with the rest of the East Bay remains one of the most prolific areas of talent in all realms of media. Introducing Oakland’s own Emily Afton, fka Emily Moldy, born Emily Moldenhauer who is readying an upcoming album slated for later this year, presenting the world premiere of the single “Archetype” ft. producer Lila Rose. Having also been working with local prouder David Earl alongside Lila, Emily draws upon her own Georgian heritage by painting Southern gothic portraits that are transformed into moving musical pieces that dance off the silver screen.

“Archetype” sees Emily Afton entertaining late evening episodes of intimate thoughts that ponder & obsess over the plagues of the past. Character traits both desired & undesired are spelled out on the line, as the pains of a previous heartache beg for moments of solace and reflection that is further resonated within Lila Rose’s arrangement. The aftermath of a brutal breakup helps provide clarity for the archetypes that are unwanted while hearts run wild like awakened wolves roaming about a sleepy & foggy night. The heartbreak & hurt here provides emboldened exhilaration where the newfound freedom is conveyed in the personification of wolf packs with a wild will. Emily talked to us further about her new single with the following words:

I wrote the song 'Archetype (Feat. Lila Rose)' 2 years ago when I was going through a breakup and was struggling with realizing my own destructive patterns. I was reading a very mystical book called Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and the chorus came to me then. The song is about me wanting to embrace my wild woman archetype, while also not wanting to cause destruction with that wildness.. About wanting to break out of my dishonest patterns and free myself (and the other person) from them. The song is dark and hopeful at the same time I think. - Impose Magazine

"Emily Afton Just Wants to Love You on Heartfelt 'Archetype'"

Emily Afton wrote “Archetype” a few years back, during a time when she was going through a lot of changes. It was a time, the Oakland artist says, when she “was forced to look at my inner ‘beast’ to figure out why I was so prone to destructive relationships.”

The title track from her forthcoming album, a heartfelt, slow moving, and gripping song, also featuring Lila Rose, was inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ book Women Who Run with the Wolves. “I felt like I had to write it as an oath to myself to break ugly patterns in order to be free,” she said. “I don’t know if the patterns are broken but I’m happy that a song and album were born from it. Archetype is also about the complex love of women, which is perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the song.”

Listen, below: [link to my soundcloud] - BULLETT Magazine

"Exclusive Premiere: Emily Afton's Gloom Piano-Pop Single "Five Years""

Out singer-songwriter Emily Afton‘s new single “Five Years” is a dreamy piano-laden track that fans of Fiona Apple and Missy Higgins will fall for.

“The song is a progression of memories and reflections, which are pieced together over five years,” Emily told us. “I started writing it when I was about to turn 21 and finished the song two years ago when I was 25. These were extremely formative years; I was uncovering my identity as being queer, a woman, an adult and an artist. This song is about identity and how it is shaped looking forwards and backward through time.”

Darkly melodic with smoky vocals, “Five Years” is beautiful, and there are even some surprise trumpets popping up mid-song.

“This is my most anthemic of songs on my upcoming album and probably the one I am most proud of,” Emily said. “It is me in my many archetypes.”

Check it out below and follow Emily on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. - After Ellen

"Emily Afton"

It's Tuesday morning and I wasn't ready for all of these feelings to come out right now. Emily Afton's music just hit me like a train.

I just watched the video "We're Strong Together" for the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (2013) featuring Emily's song, "My Own One" and I'm compelled to sing her praises. Coming from someone who has been consistently losing in the common battle for cancer, you can guarantee that this shit hits home. There's something so comforting about Emily Afton's voice that she made me nearly ball my manly eyes out in the early morning. How dare she make me feel my own own feelings! Her vocals are mellifluous and heart warming. Simply put, you can't help but feel every word. We're so excited for her new LP so please give your undivided attention to this amazing song writer.

Let's focus on the real thing at hand! Her debut full length album ARCHETYPE is set to be released this summer and has unsurprisingly blazed through it's Kickstarter campaign pledge of $8,000. The Oakland based artist has spent several years carefully crafting this LP and she is now ready to release it onto the world.

To get a little taste, hit play below to listen to her single WORDS FROM YOUR TONGUE. The tune is really catchy, has trumpets (respect for artists using horns) and the chorus reminds me of a Hot Flash Heat Wave song!

The clock is counting down so DONATE anything you can because you'll be so thankful down the line that you helped out such an exceptional artist in her early days. - Tip of the Tongue

"Q&A: Exclusive Premiere of Emily Afton's New Single "Someday""

Emily Afton is an Oakland-based musician from a small town down in Southern California. Her take on indie pop is like no other, mixing her charming Georgian roots with the deeper city sounds of San Diego and the Bay Area. After returning home from a brief tour with Third Eye Blind in the South and Midwest, Emily is now releasing a new track called “Someday.”

Emily’s sound has been described as “deep and smokey… emotive and honest songs from a place that feels lodged in the past, rooted in a dreamy barefoot era.” Her new song “Someday” has a hopeful sound with contemplative and dynamic lyrics about the past, present, and future.

Currently on her California “Someday” Tour, Emily recently played gigs at The Lost Church in San Francisco and The Night Light in Oakland.

TBB: Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up, and how has that shaped your sound?

I grew up in Encinitas, a small beach town in San Diego County. I moved to Oakland five years ago for an internship, and have been playing music here and working with kids and nonprofits ever since. Growing up in San Diego was amazing and strange. Encinitas is heavily influenced by beach and surf culture, but my experience was a lot more surrounded by art and self-expression.

I started writing songs on the piano at home when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until I moved to Oakland (working at a youth center) that I learned how to make beats and started discovering the synthesis that folk, pop, and electronic music can have. That's the direction my sound has taken since then. I think the Bay Area is a really good place for music. Every new band I see makes me think about my sound, and I have met the most amazing people to work with who inspire me constantly.

TBB: Sounds like a cool spot to grow up. Who were some big influencers during that time?

My art teachers in high school influenced me a lot during a really impressionable age. They were the first adults I met who were artists. I remember conversations we had when I was like, 16 where they were encouraging me to embrace my weirdness and pursue an unconventional career if I wanted one. I still think about that sometimes when I think about the choice to do music as a career, as well as a friend’s mantra which aptly sums it up: “the role of the artist is not just to produce art, but to live (and hustle) creatively.” I was really inspired by songwriters like Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes in high school. But I would say my main musical influences were the fierce women like Bjork, Fiona Apple and Lauryn Hill. I think Lauryn’s influence definitely comes through in my singing a little bit. Also discovering “freak-folk” band CocoRosie was huge for me. I was 17 and was like “Yep… this is what I’ve been searching for my whole life.” They are still my favorite band today.

TBB: I’m glad you pursued that weirdness and are where you are as an artist today. So, I hear you just got back from tour with Third Eye Blind. That’s exciting! Tell me a little about it.

Yeah, it was really fun. We opened for Third Eye Blind in the South and Midwest for a week, playing for thousand-person theatres, and no one knew who the hell we were! It was awesome. It was my first tour, so every part of it felt extremely surreal to me.

Even the way I was invited to tour was surreal. We were playing a Sofar Sounds show, which was a secret show in San Francisco, and they don’t tell you the lineup until the last minute. When we arrived, Sofar announced we were opening for Third Eye Blind. It was a truly wild coincidence because my band had just been playing covers of their songs the night before, just messing around at band practice. We performed our set and Stephan Jenkins [TEB singer] opened up his set by saying "Hey everybody, I'm Stephan Jenkins. I'm gonna take Emily on tour with me."

None of us believed him, but it happened! I’m so glad it did, and that we got to take the opportunity so last minute. It was one of the best music experiences of my life.

TBB: That must’ve been such a rush, standing on stage for thousands of people after coincidentally meeting and being hand-picked by Stephan for tour! I’m sure you didn’t feel like you were Losing A Whole Year or moving in Slow Motion. Sorry, couldn’t help the word play — But really how do you feel now that tour’s over?

Haha no I didn't feel Slow Motion at all… It went by way too fast! And my life is the same since I got back. Except... I guess it’s a little more Semi-Charmed now…

No, but seriously, I feel really inspired. We all came back star-struck by the experience and the "rockstar life" (which we don’t actually have but got to pretend we did for a week). It gave us something real and tangible to strive for. Their fans are so impacted by their concerts. There are many stories about their fans sobbing and screaming all of their words from the front row, which is something I’ll never forget because I got to experience it firsthand. I was watching that from backstage just nodding and being like, yep this is what I want to do with my life; create transcendent moments for people through music.

TBB: So, you’re releasing a new single, “Someday,” soon. The melodic vocals are captivating and hypnotizing, kind of like 'falling down the rabbit hole'... Where did your inspiration come from?

I started writing “Someday” while driving my car to the Bay Area last summer for a show. I was living at home in San Diego because my mom had been diagnosed with a highly aggressive type of cancer that gave her a very short life expectancy. She had been in chemotherapy for a while but needed to have a bone marrow transplant, which is a very intense, high-risk procedure that involves replacing all her cells with a donor’s cells. It was a scary time that forced me to look at death for the first time.

This song is that moment in time captured. Now when I play it live, it’s so meaningful because it’s been over a year and my mom’s recovery has been kind of miraculous.

“Someday” is about reincarnation, and how we don't have a choice; we are inevitably part of this life cycle on earth. And it can be read as sort of existential because the song is asking us (humans) “Who do you think you are, that you are not going to die?” But to me it feels hopeful because it’s also about being in love with your life. And really it's all the same; whether you look at life existentially or hopefully, we are all going to die. It's all part of the human experience and questioning it can feel like falling down the rabbit hole. But it's a beautiful rabbit hole! (haha or something like that.. )

Below is Emily’s new song “Someday,” and all The Bay Bridged readers have exclusive access to this early release. - The Bay Bridged

"Professor and Student Jam to a New Beat"

For Professor Burns and Emily Moldy, community is key. It is recognized not only in their music but also in their performance. Teacher and lyrical-narrator Sean Burns and young soul-shakin’ UC Santa Cruz student Emily “Moldy” Moldenhauer shared their songs with each other and the lively audience of The Crêpe Place last Thursday.

The combination of these two artists makes for a beautiful night. The audience and the performers have obvious connections: Students yelled out, “Yeah, Professor Burns!” and friends of Moldenhauer’s sang along to her songs while enthusiastically promoting her extended play, “E is for Eleven.”

In between the plucks of the bass strings and the sharp crash of the snares, the conventional student/professor relationship was being destroyed and reformed.

Sean Burns came to UCSC in 2002 to pursue his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Department as a graduate student. After receiving his Ph.D., he started teaching social movement and history in the American Studies and the community studies departments in 2006. Moldenhauer — who prefers to be called by her moniker “Moldy” — was a community studies student pursuing a music career.

Through his community organizing class, Burns met Moldenhauer for the first time as his student.

Now a fourth-year at UCSC, Moldy explained how she came to work with Burns, a story that — to her — truly exemplifies what makes studying communities so worthwhile. She laughed while recalling how their musical relationship began.

“I was trying to hitchhike off campus one day, and Professor Burns picked me up. I gave him one of my EP’s, ‘E is for Eleven,’” Moldy said. “The next day, he was playing it in front of my entire lecture hall — he always played music before class. I guess he liked it.”

Eventually, however, Burns opted to leave Santa Cruz and UCSC to pursue his music career more seriously. For Burns, the challenge of stepping in front of a lecture hall, of focusing on his students and creativity in that context, is the same challenge as being a performing artist.

“I find an intense continuity between teaching and music,” Burns said. “I strive to be present and creative in a way that will help me grow and that in turn will reach others.”

After Burns left, Moldy found the perfect balance between her passion for music and community studies within her field study in Oakland. She loved the well-fitting field study opportunity at Youth Movement Records, where she helped empower Oakland youth through music.

At the end of Moldy’s field study, Burns asked her if she would be willing to open his show for him at the Crêpe Place in Santa Cruz.

“Hell yes, I was so honored,” Moldy said. “I’m so happy to be reunited with Professor Burns here tonight, in Santa Cruz, where our paths crossed for the first time.”

Anyone speaking with Burns can see how passionate he is about what he does, on and off the stage. The Lilac Field comprises of Adam Kirk, Lathan Spaulding and Adam Burstein and began playing together last year.

After working solo for almost a decade, Burns says he cherishes his “Lilac Field.” The band, which released their first EP “Orange Blossom Blinds” in 2010, is planning on recording new material later on this year. In the meantime they are playing as many shows as possible.

“‘Lilac Field’ is not only a lyric from one of our songs,” Burns said. “But it is also a sonic state of mind. The idea captures the notion of the ecology, beauty and expansiveness of a lilac field.”

Emily Moldy’s performance captures the sounds of soul, alternative-rock, jazz, neo-folk and indie-pop, and gets the crowd funky.

Burns and the Lilac Field change the feel a bit by proceeding to perform a vast array of songs that are types of lyrical narratives. Each song has a story and — fitting for a Georgetown graduate and ex-professor — a lesson. Burns said he kept his stage name, “Professor Burns” because he still considers himself a teacher, just in a different way.

“Although it was a great blessing to be up there on the hill teaching kids like you,” Burns said, pointing behind him in the direction of campus, “it is even more of a blessing quitting that job, starting a rock band, and teaching you similar lessons through my music.” - City on a Hill Press


  • ARCHETYPE (2016) 
 1.) Off Your Skin 
 2.) Words From Your Tongue
 3.) Someday
 4.) Severing the Knot
 5.) Five Years
 6.) Golden Mountain
 7.) Archetype (Feat. Lila Rose)
 8.) Interlude
 9.) My Own One
 10.) Proverb
 11.) Lost



Emily Afton’s voice is transporting. Smokey, powerful, and emotive, Emily delivers her soul to you in the form of nostalgic indie-pop songs with ribbons of folk and electronica interwoven. Solo or with her band, Afton aims to snatch your heart with her live performance, playing vocal-driven narratives in the style of Fiona Apple followed by dark synths and uptempo dance tracks that turn swaying audiences into dancing crowds. Last fall one of her live performances caught the attention of Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins, who promptly asked her to join their U.S. tour as the opening band. An inspired Afton quickly returned home to finish her debut full-length album.

'ARCHETYPE' was released in September 2016 and has been called an "indie-pop explosion from an artist who is clearly on an ascent." The episodic debut LP, co-produced by David Earl and Lila Rose reveals a new edge and depth to the once sweet singer-songwriter's music. ARCHETYPE timelessly laces together the story of a woman/artist realizing her life.

Emily Afton plans to spend the rest of 2016 and beginning of 2017 touring her new album in cities across the U.S. 

Band Members