Emma Jacob
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Emma Jacob

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"2,232 Miles" - Released October 6, 2009 on Black River Music Group.

"What If We Fly"
"With You"



“Someone like Emma doesn’t come along very often,” says Karen Staley, a premier Nashville songwriter whose songs have been cut by Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Reba McEntire, among many others. She first learned about Emma Jacob through a friend who heard her sing at a showcase. The friend told her that Emma was just a teenager, but that she was doing an extraordinary version of one of Staley’s more challenging songs titled “With You.” The following week, a skeptical Staley met with Emma’s manager and listened to a live recording of the performance. “It brought tears to my eyes,” says Staley. “Not just anyone can sing it because of the vast range, but Emma wears it out. I was touched that someone so young could convey the sentiment so well.”

Through the years she developed a powerful yet subtle voice and the ability to wring emotion out of every line of a song. The rest – a passion for music and life, her charismatic stage presence, and her clear sense of purpose – are quickly evident to those who have come to know Emma in person.

Her new CD (to be released in 2009) will give the world its first look at a young woman who has been immersed in music since she and her mother sang together while Emma was still in her high chair in Costa Mesa, California. She recalls listening to her mother’s Aretha Franklin records, and then hearing Patsy Cline, who set off a lifelong love of country music. Somewhere amid the elementary school chorus, holiday programs and karaoke CDs at home, Emma’s parents figured out that she had a real gift. She took vocal lessons from the legendary Seth Riggs – she once ran into Ray Charles at a lesson – and earned a spot as first soprano in the Pacific Symphony Children’s Choir.

“I just heard ‘Georgia On My Mind’ on the car radio the week before I met Ray Charles,“ she notes. “I had even commented to my parents that it is such an incredible song. Because I knew very little about Mr. Charles, they went on to tell me about him and the songs he had recorded during his career. So, it was truly an amazing moment when I walked into my vocal coach’s offices for my weekly lesson and heard him say to me, ‘I would like to introduce you to Ray Charles. Ray this is Emma.’ I was floored and humbled as I shook this icon’s hand. It was a very sweet moment that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

She began performing at nearby county fairs, and at the age of 11, she attended an Los Angeles audition for “Showtime at the Apollo.” She turned her affinity for gospel music into a win and a trip to New York for the nationally broadcast TV show. She swayed a skeptical crowd with Aretha’s “You’re All I Need To Get By” and earned a standing ovation. “It was one of the most memorable moments,” she says. “Really cool. That was pretty much when I thought, I really want to do this. I really want to be a singer.”
Her love of gospel and R&B competed with the love of country, but country emerged as her clear favorite. Those around her would often say that she is a natural country singer. “I suppose it must have been my love for country music showing through. Country tells a story, and it can make you laugh or cry. It’s pretty much like a show in a three-minute song.”

In the meantime, she and her family moved to Colfax, California, to help her grandfather recover from surgery. He was about to sell a local theater he owned unless she and her parents would take it over. They agreed, and Emma’s 13th birthday present was half ownership of the Colfax Theater. It would be the site of the performance that led Paul Worley to urge that she give Nashville a shot.

Her recording experience in California had been minimal, so her first Nashville recording session, “was a little nerve-wracking,” she says, “but once we started, it was awesome”.

Though she is that rare 17-year-old with the poise and talent to attract some of the cream of Nashville’s music community, she is also very much a teenager. Her passions include creations of fashion designer Betsy Johnson (“I’ll go to her store every chance I get”) and anime, the Japanese animation genre. In fact, animators developed an anime short that follows Emma’s own adventures.

Although for Emma, nothing holds the thrill of entertaining. “I love being on stage,” she says. “I love to look back and see my band having a really good time, or to look at people enjoying themselves. It’s pretty awesome.” Concert promoter and venue owner Bill Fisher, who booked Emma to open a show for Jason Aldean in Butte, Montana says, “Emma’s performance was seasoned beyond her years. I was blown away by the power of her voice and what a natural she is on stage entertaining! I expect her to be back in this arena headlining soon.”

During the last couple of years, Emma has traveled to the four corners of the country doing what she loves to do the most - sing and perform. One of the highlights of last year was opening for country music legend Charlie Daniels. She says about the