EmiSunshine

EmiSunshine

 Madisonville, Tennessee, USA
BandAmericanaFolk

An eclectic mix of Americana, blues and gospel all rolled up with a twelve year old belt singer at the helm. Full with Appalachian ballads, soul tugging hymns and self-penned originals, this young artist, along with her talented family band, The Rain, will wail her way into your heart.

Biography

It’s impossible to explain the exceptional talents of EmiSunshine, an 12-year-old East Tennessee prodigy who has captured the nation’s attention as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Steeped in Appalachian music, she is a true vocal stylist, one who instinctively knows how to interpret the nuances of a song with her impressive range, even though she has yet to gain the life experience and empathy seemingly necessary to fully comprehend the words she sings. Despite a given name that reflects optimism, she is drawn to darker themes of pain, anguish and even murder, like that of The Louvin Brothers, whom she loves.

Whether she’s performing on the Today show, the Grand Ole Opry or taking the stage at the historic Ryman Auditorium, she is fearless, confident and firm in her musical direction. As she says, she sings “old-time music,” but it’s her own unique blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure. Her talent is indescribable and inexplicable, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be understood to be appreciated.

“What makes me want to do this is I just love it,” she says. “I just really, really love it. I wouldn’t trade anything not to do this.”

Offstage, Emilie Sunshine Hamilton is a typical 12-year-old girl who loves hula hooping, her pets and colorful clothes. She’s had a normal upbringing in Madisonville, TN, where her mother worked as a nurse and her father is a recording engineer. But when she begins singing, playing or writing, something else takes over, a phenomenon that began before she could talk.

Before she spoke, at around 10 months old, she began singing pure tones and humming melodies from Tom Petty songs. She harmonized with her grandmothers and great-grandmothers, continuing a musical heritage to a third generation. Great-grandmother Wanda Matthews sang on the Tennessee Barn Dance and gave Emi the same advice that June Carter Cash gave her: Don’t let anybody walk all over you and don’t think nothin’ about what they say.

As soon as Emi was old enough to walk, she began singing in church. She was too little to know the words, but you could hear her harmonies over the others. At age 4, she sang “You Are My Sunshine” at her aunt’s wedding. When she was 3 and 4, her mother, who is a songwriter, created songs for her, but by age 5, she wrote her first song, “My Time to Fly.”

At age 7, she learned how to play the ukulele and used it to write “Little Weeping Willow Tree.” That was the same year she recorded her first two albums, Strong As The Tall Pine and Wide River To Cross in her father’s studio. By age 8, she was stripping down “Hush Little Baby” and rearranging the melody to sing to her pigs.

Her parents filled the house with music by Buddy Miller, Johnny and June Carter Cash and Emmylou Harris, and her musical tastes were formed. Those influences served as a foundation on which she built her own sound. “I always loved that music and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to play. This is what I want to do.’”

She had no idea that someone captured her flea market performance of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 6” and posted it on YouTube in 2014. “It went viral,” she says. “We started getting a bunch of likes and we didn’t really know where it was coming from.”

Again, without the family’s knowledge, the Today show featured the video. “We were really excited and surprised,” she says. “We didn’t know what to think.” There was such a tremendous response to her performance that the show invited her on to perform live, a moment that changed her life because word of her talent immediately spread on Music Row.

It led to performances on Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam during CMA Music Fest, and then to ongoing performances at the Grand Ole Opry.

She performs about 150 shows a year and touring is a family affair. Her mother took a leap of faith and gave up her nursing career to travel. Father Randall plays upright bass and her brother Johnathon is on mandolin. “It’s fun, like how I get to be with my family all the time.”

EmiSunshine’s career moves will be dictated not by opportunities, but integrity. She knows who she is and what she wants her music to be, and her parents remain committed to ensuring that her wishes are not compromised in any way. After coming off a year where many of her dreams came true, Emi is quickly creating new dreams and plans. But her ultimate goal remains the same: “I just want everybody to know who I am.

Discography

Strong As The Tall Pines (04/28/12)
1. Come To Jesus
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
3. North Dakota
4. Little Darlin'
5. Come On Up To The House
6. I Never Told You
7. Pretty Little Miss
8. I Appreciate What The Lord Is Doing, Amen
9. Rollin' In The Deep
10. Me, The Devil And Katie Belle
11. Wide River To Cross
12. The Cannots
13. Fall On The Rock
14. I Smell A Rat

Wide River To Cross (04/28/12)
1. Wide River To Cross
2. I Appreciate What The Lord Is Doing, Amen
3. - blank track
4. Come To Jesus
5. Come Home Good Boy
6. My Time To Fly
7. Fall On The Rock
8. Know My Name
9. Ain't No Grave

Amelia's Song (2013)
1. When I Travel My Last Mile (He Will Hold My Hand)
2. Ain't No Grave
3. My Time To Fly
4. Lay Your Burdens Down
5. Mary Don't You Weep
6. Amelia's Song
7. Know My Name
8. Jesus Loves Mama
9. Fall On The Rock
10. Hush, Little Baby
11. I Appreciate What The Lord Is Doing, Amen
12. Come To Jesus

Black Sunday '35 (01/25/14)
1. Little Weeping Willow Tree
2. Amelia's Song
3. White Dress
4. Mathew
5. Blue For You
6. Black Sunday '35
7. Sweet Lillie
8. Lay Your Burdens Down
9. Creole Boys
10. Madalyn's Hill
11. Me, The Devil And Katie Belle
12. Hush, Little Baby
13. Mary Don't You Weep
14. Jesus Loves Mama
15. Money
16. I Appreciate What The Lord Is Doing, Amen
17. My Time To Fly
18. The Cannots

Forty Acre Dream (04/16/16)
1. A Year x 10
2. I Ain't Famous
3. West Texas Highway
4. I Am Able
5. Porter Wagoner Blue
6. Mama's Girl
7. Blackberry Winter
8. Carry Me Home