Posts Tagged ‘The Kennedy Center’

Emma G

During today’s bike ride, I stopped to watch a street performer playing music outside of the Metro Center transit system station (MAP), located in Downtown D.C.  I had heard her briefly once before, at Christmastime at the Downtown Holiday Market.  But at that time, despite wanting to stay and listen longer, I had to get back to work.  Today, however, I was able to stay for what for me turned out to be an hour-long beginning-of-the-week concert.  The performer’s name is Emma Ghaemmaghamy, but she is more commonly known as Emma G.

Emma G moved to D.C. almost three years ago from New Zealand, where she was the lead singer with the Auckland-based hard rock band Static Era.  After arriving stateside she worked for a few months or so at various jobs in Massachusetts and Connecticut before moving here.  But since arriving in D.C., she’s been focusing all of her time and energy, and her soul into the reason she moved here, to establish a music career in America.  She now works full time as a singer, songwriter, musician, vocal teacher, and actor.  She plays in various local clubs, bars and numerous community events throughout the city.  For example, just recently Emma G was one of the winners of the 2018 Sing Into Spring competition.  And as a result, along with Summer Pearson and Eli Lev, she sang on national television the opening song at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which took place earlier this month here in D.C.  Within the last year she has also played at The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and Arena Stage.

Her career also takes her far beyond our national capital city.  Since moving here she has also completed two tours of California, as well as a nationwide New Zealand tour entitled “All Roads Lead To Home (not Rome).”

Emma G’s music crosses the confines of individual genres.  She describes her music as “always having had a bit of tug and war between rock and pop”, but more recently also incorporating a whole bunch of funk, hip-hop and rap songs.  Her current sound she describes as “having a hint of aggression and sassiness but with a funky edge – kind of Pink meets Adele meets Tracy Chapman”.

A lot of her music also conveys a social consciousness, and not surprisingly for D.C., a certain political aspect as well.  For example, she has described her recent song “Superhero” as being about “using love as a superpower to win out over hate, bigotry, racism and sexism.”  And her studio single “Sold (Take A Shot)” she has described as her “anthem to women in particular with the messaging of ‘my body my choice’.”

It states on her website that she “is known as the ‘Kiwi girl’ who plays great songs.”  But if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to hear her in person, her music is available on iTunes, AmazonGoogle Play, Spotify, and SoundCloud.  And you can even download a free copy of her recent album entitled “Real Talk – Live in Washington, D.C.”

As I was enjoying her musical performance this morning in front of the metro station, I also watched the commuters as they came off the escalators and passed by her on their way to work.  And I felt sorry for many of them.  They seemed to be so caught up in their rush to get to their destinations that they didn’t pause to enjoy the music.  Many of them didn’t even look up to see her smiling, or hear her intermittently greeting them and wishing them a fantastic day.  They simply zoned out and followed each other like lemmings heading off a cliff or, in this case, to their jobs.

But not all of the passersby were oblivious to her presence.  I saw many of them start smiling once they saw her, or when they first heard the music.  Some waved.  A few even gave her a thumbs up.  And some of them exuded an air of familiarity in their interactions with her, much like regulars in a neighborhood bar.  They are the ones I envision having a good day and being happy throughout the day.

At the beginning of this post I wrote that Emma G is a street performer.  But with all due respect to that genre of entertainer, I would come to find out that she is much more than a street performer.  She emits a personal kind of gravity that draws you in.  Her contagious smile automatically evokes smiles from others.  And her music makes you feel like it’s going to be a good day.  She not only performs, but seems to also possess the power to make other people happy.  Experiencing her perform was a great way to start out my Monday at the beginning of a new work week.  And I think it’s going to be a good week.


The sound quality on these videos is not very good because I took them with my cellphone.  But you can
view and listen to her official videos here!

             
[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

worldtour01a

The 9:30 Nightclub

As this year is coming to an end, I have been looking over the statistics that my online hosting service, WordPress, provides regarding readership of this blog.  And this year was the biggest year, with the most number of views ever.  Now, I don’t ride to the places where I do, or take the photos and write the postings that you see in this blog in order to amass statistics.  I do it because I enjoy riding a bike.  And learning about the places to which I ride in order to write about them enhances my enjoyment.  But I must confess, it’s also been interesting for me to learn about how many people view what I’m posting, as well as the other information which WordPress provides, such as the countries where the readers are located.

So that I could put the numbers in perspective in my head, and because I daydream a lot, I imagined myself as a rock star.  And I thought about the people who viewed the blog as members of the audience for my imaginary band’s concerts.  The statistics indicate that we would sell out the Verizon Center here in D.C.  But that would only represent a fraction of the blog views.  The band could then sell out other popular venues here in the city, including the concert hall at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, D.A.R. Constitution Hall, The Howard Theater, the U Street Music Hall, The Black Cat club, and the 9:30 Nightclub.

But even the combined audiences for all of those performances would not equal the total number of blog views.  Which means my band and I could take the show on the road for a U.S. tour.  And since this is just my imagination, a warm-up show preceding the actual tour would first take place at the legendary but now closed CBGB’s in New York City’s East Village.  From there the band would head across town the next night for the official kick-off of the U.S. tour with a standing room only performance at Carnegie Hall.  Then we’d play one more New York City gig, at the Apollo Theater, before we hit the road again.  From there, the band would then play to sell-out shows at The House of Blues in New Orleans, The Troubadour in Los Angeles, The Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, and The Fillmore West in San Francisco.

But even with the combined attendance at all of the sold-out shows here in D.C. and throughout the U.S., the band would then have to go on a brief world tour to increase the total attendance to the point where it would equal the number of views for this blog.  So in my mind the world tour would begin where the Beatles began, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.  There would then be another show in England, at The 100 Club in London, before moving on to Paris and playing at the reopened Le Bataclan.  We would then play Club Ta in Hongdae in Seoul, South Korea, the Ruby Room in Tokyo, and the Ding Dong Lounge in Aukland, New Zealand.   Then we would wrap up the final leg of our world tour with a sold out show in the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

By the end of the tour we would have played in only a half dozen countries altogether.  But based on the location of the readers of this blog, as identified by WordPress, the audience would have been comprised of people from 125 different countries throughout the world.  And I must say, it’s difficult to believe but at the same time amazing to me that people in 125 different countries have read my blog.  There are currently 195 countries in the world.  So my goal for the coming year is to gain at least one reader in each of the remaining countries.  Maybe then my imaginary band and I will go back on tour.  And until then, I’ll just keep riding my bike and exploring our nation’s capital one ride at a time.