Annalise Emerick definitely qualifies as a “Road Warrior.” Since 2011, the Nashville native has spent a lot of time on the highway, spreading the word about her music. She tells Billboard if you are going to build a career in the music business, full-throttle is the only way to go.
“I’ve been playing shows as much as possible the past three years, but have really been going full-time with touring since March of this year. That goes along with being a full-time artist. I needed to play as many shows as I could.”
Emerick is awaiting the Sept. 16 release of Field Notes, an album that she feels showcases the art of storytelling. “It’s kind of a conceptual thing. I’m a very adventurous person and consider myself to be an explorer of people’s stories. With Field Notes, I wanted to come up with 10 or 11 songs that tell stories — those are my favorite kind of songs. I like telling my story, and a lot of times, that’s where people can find their own stories inside of it and relate to them in their own way.”
In addition to telling her own stories, Emerick admits she loves drawing inspiration from observing what others are going through. “I think that I have a good ear for things like that. I also listen to a lot of podcasts because I’m driving all the time. Those are really inspiring. Sometimes, it’s hard to pull all the details out of a conversation, but it definitely inspires you to delve a little deeper into your opinion of what you saw — and finding a way to relate it back to yourself. It’s always easier to write a song about yourself than it is to write a song about someone else’s habits.”
If you try to put Emerick’s music inside a box, you just might be wasting your time. She tells The 615 that it’s not an easy description. “I’ve been in Nashville long enough to know that I really don’t want to fit into anything. I just want to write good songs. If you have strong songs, you should be able to make people like you.”
Emerick admits that looking at her schedule — with the calendar full through November — can be a little daunting, but she’s doing exactly what she needs to. “I just want to get myself in front of humans and get a fan base. I’ve been fortunate to play so much and find people who will book me. I believe that if you tour, people will start to follow you. And it’s been happening a little at a time. Eventually, it will be less gigs, and more money per gig, but right now it’s as many gigs as you can get, it’s better. Touring is the best way to build a fan base.”
Field Notes is full of varying moods and styles. Fans of ’90s female country performers like Patty Loveless will be drawn to the riveting “Home,” a song that Emerick says comes from a place way down deep. “I wrote that song when I was living in Boston, and it’s really near and dear to my heart. It was one of those songs that literally just falls out of you. I was thinking about how I travel so much, and home is such a strange concept to me. ‘Home’ is about the people that I feel the most comfortable with. It’s totally a state of mind. If you’re around people who love you, it doesn’t matter where you are. It’s always been more about relationships than a location.”
On the other end of the spectrum is “Patti Smith,” a song that Emerick admits was years in the making. “That song took me about three years to finish. I had the first few stanzas for years but couldn’t really figure out what I was trying to say. I had a co-write in Nashville with Jamie Floyd. She heard the last line (which ends with) ‘Rock & Roll,’ and she said, ‘That’s the whole idea. You’re giving it all for rock and roll.’ From that, we just wrote the rest down on a piece of paper. That was really trying to tell someone that you give everything you have to that one goal that you want to achieve — whether it be farming, law school, music. For me, it’s rock and roll. I think it translates well to whatever your goal is.”