The same goes for the martial arts. After starting off in Tae Kwon Do, Emii caught the bug and proceeded to learn a wide range of styles including American Kenpo, Wing Chun, Muay Tai, Brazilian Jujitsu and Northern Shaolin. “I’m pretty much an addict,” Emii laughs. “I used to do the big competitions and go all out sparring, but then I kind of realized that I might need my face if I want to stay in entertainment – as attractive as a busted lip may be. If I ever go back into metal though, I’ll go crazy on the competitions.”
Like any musician trying to break through, Emii caught a few big breaks early on. The initial bump in publicity came as a result of KISS FM in Chicago, which was the first major radio station to really believe in Emii and get behind her first single, Magic. Shortly thereafter the video starting catching a lot of buzz on YouTube (almost 2 million views), but it was the serendipitous pairing with Snoop Dogg that seems to have really sparked the fire.
“For Mr. Romeo, I had pretty much finished the song and was going back and forth with my producer trying to figure out who would put extra magic on it. Snoop’s name comes up of course, but how in the hell do you get in touch with Snoop Dogg? He’s freaking Snoop Dogg!” Emii remembers bafflingly. “We put the word out, but we didn’t hear anything back. So, a couple weeks later, I’m in the studio recording the final vocals for the song and we were getting close to wrapping it up, when the owner of the studio comes in and loves it. He was very impressed with my singing. Thankfully, I was having a good day. Somehow, the subject of Snoop comes up, and he just happened to have Snoop’s personal manager’s number in his phone. It was literally click, click, click, done. Everything went from there.”
It just goes to show how a little stroke of luck on a good day can make all the difference in breaking a music career. One day, it’s the perpetual grind of toiling away and wondering how to make even the smallest dent in the industry, and the next, the right person likes what they hear and you’re making a video with Snoop to the D-O-double-G.
“I’m pretty sure I got a contact high, ” Emii cracks up in discussing the working relationship with Snoop Dogg. ” He is the coolest, most laid back, and, I say this in a very badass way, most respectable guy. It was overwhelmingly awesome. He stayed for a good hour after we were done shooting to take pictures with everybody. He’s damn cool.”
It goes against conventional wisdom in the music industry, but maybe there is something to that; that actually being a cool and individualistic person can take you places in this business.
Particularly in the cut throat world of mass-marketable popular music, Emii comes across as a rarity. In an era where the next big thing is generally the function of a television talent series, she’s a multi-faceted individual with more to her personality than a big ego, a publicist, and a auto-tuner. Given the notoriety she has achieved with just an EP, it will be interesting to see if she can make the jump to stardom when her first full length album comes out later this year.