Stephen Emmer is an independent Dutch composer hailing from Amsterdam (NL). His first project with Pledge Music was ‘International Blue’.
Now he’s back with a new album entitled ‘Home Ground’, which sees him delve into the world of classic soul and enlist the talents of a selection of musical icons from the last 5 decades. The impressive featured-artists line-up includes CHAKA KHAN, PATTI AUSTIN, ANDY BEY, KENDRA FOSTER, FRANK MCCOMB, MARY GRIFFIN, DWIGHT TRIBLE, URSULA RUCKER and the late LEON WARE. We asked him some questions and here are his answers.
1. How did you first hear about PledgeMusic and tell us about your latest PledgeMusic project Home Ground?
we had a really succesful collaboration earlier on with PledgeMusic with our previous album called International Blue, so we were ‘in the know’ already:)
and for the same reason we thought, lets work together again for this new album.
2. Very impressive line-up of artists on the new project, I guess two of the most high profile are Chaka Kahn and Patti Austin, how did you first connect with them and tell us a bit about their specific contributions?
it was through a new york agent that we could approach them. they get lots of offers, so i didnt have my hopes that high up. so when it all got the green light, i was still a little surprised, but the real reward is that both of them, in their hectic lives and schedules, really took the time to learn the songs, f.e. Patti rehearsed the song for a full working week and Chaka gave so much more then merely a vocal performance as she also is willing to help promote it where and whenever she can.
3. You’ve nominated War Child as the charity you want to support with the Home Ground campaign, it kind of ties in with some of the ideas behind the project, can you explain?
well the worst possible victim of any war i think is actually a child, so thats about the most important reason choosing them, but i also liked the idea that they a.o. operate from the hq in amsterdam, such as myself: two dutch parties trying to do good on an international scale.
4. What’s the last album you bought and the first that you purchased with your own money?
the last one is called orphee by johann johannsen from iceland and the first must have been something like the Pretty Things EP wayyyyy back, hahaha!
5. What one question would you ask your musical hero and who is that person?
it would be to maestro ennio morricone and i would ask him: why not make one last non-soundtrack type of album, art for arts sake and make it into your most personal musical statement? he’ is in his 90s now and still touring….
6. Who in your opinion has taken music forward in the last 5/10 years or so?
good question that!, let me see, kendrick, frank ocean, johann johannsen, kamasi washington, bowie!
7. What fact about you/hobby/pastime may surprise fans?
my ever changing state of mind? i mean one day i think: lets study spanish, another day i m considering to go to a buddhist retreat and next i feel i should help other people more often, but in truth i m totally dedicated to my oldest friend: the music…
8. Which band would you most like to have been in and why?
i guess that would be ermm Radiohead. i kind of envy any collective, but especially theirs as they have evolved themselves through many stylistic periods and still are together, its remarkable. and i do like the total idiosyncratic stance they have toward anyone outside the band: the industry, the press, the fans, their enemies even.
9. What would you want your headstone epitaph to say?
Panta Rhei (everything flows)
10. What would you like to be if not a musician/producer etc.?
someone who is a totally dedicated specialist in whatever, i love the devotion of any craftsperson. but i wish i could sing or paint!