A GoPride Interview

Emmy Meli

Emmy Meli discovers a rainbow thanks to “Aura”

Tue. June 4, 2024  by Jerry Nunn

I love being onstage!
Emmy Meli


photo credit // ashley osborn

Singer Emmy Meli sets the stage on the bleeding hearts tour

Singer Emmy Meli burst onto the music scene in 2021 with “I Am Woman.” The track became a viral hit on TikTok and was selected as the theme song for Megan Markel’s podcast Archetypes.

This led to her opening for Fletcher and Hayley Kiyoko plus playing outdoor music fests such as Lollapalooza and Firefly Music Festival.

Her Hello Stranger E.P. dropped in May and plans are in the works for her debut album. The future looks bright for this talented singer to take the world by storm.

Meli talked backstage after her set on the bleeding hearts tour where she opened for Alexander Stewart at Schubas in Chicago.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Where are you from originally?

EM: (Emmy Meli) I am from Long Beach, California.

JN: Did you always want to be a singer?

EM: Yes. Singing has always been my biggest passion and my driving force my whole life. It is the thing that gets me out of bed.

JN: You recorded music in high school?

EM: Yes, I recorded music with a friend of mine secretly after choir practice. We went to his garage and he would play beats that I would sing over. We would put them on Soundcloud. We didn’t tell anyone about it. We just did it for fun. It made me think about doing it for a career.

JN: How did you get your work in front of a label?

EM: Honestly, I put one foot in front of the other. I had no idea where to start, but I moved to LA. I went to music school. For years and years, I put out music with a band and no one listened to it. I would put stickers on all of the telephone poles from my home to where I worked at a golf course. I played local shows and saved up my tip money.

I had to pay for rehearsal space. I finally made an account on TikTok.

I was just playing random stuff on TikTok from affirmations that I had on sticky notes on my wall. The song “I Am Woman” was from affirmations that I had for myself. I was just singing them for fun.

I just propped my phone up, made a video and posted it. I didn’t even check my phone for the rest of the night. I woke to a thousand missed calls from my friends.

From there it just spiraled. It was over 20 years of hard work combined with a stroke of luck one day.

JN: What an inspiring story for anyone following their dreams. Were you booked for Lollapalooza because of its popularity on TikTok?

EM: Yes.

JN: Do you want to go back?

EM: Yes, I can’t wait to go back. The year I played I was so sick. I had five shows in one week. I had never lost my voice before that then I lost my voice. It was bad and I had to take a steroid injection before I went onstage. It was terrible. I opened the festival and then had another show later that day, I opened for Fletcher the next at her show and then I had two more shows.

I couldn’t have fun or enjoy myself because all I could think about was getting my voice to work.

JN: Anxiety must have made it worse.

EM: Yes, that’s because anxiety makes our throat close up, which is so counteractive. I really want to play Lollapalooza again and not be sick!

JN: After opening for Fletcher and Hayley Kiyoko you must have gained a nice-sized LGBTQ+ fanbase.

EM: Yes and most of my friends are in the queer community.

JN: Baby Tate on your song “Aura” identifies as queer. How was it working with her?

EM: She was great. I have had a few features in the past that didn’t work out, not because of anything personal but because the timing didn’t work out. No one so far showed up with their verse ready to go, but she showed up and hit the nail on the head!

JN: You made the music video together. Were you driving around California?

EM: We went to a couple of different locations. We went to an aura shop and had our pictures taken, both individually and together, which was really cute.

We did a photoshoot in a warehouse and then just drove around in my car with the top down. I have a yellow Camaro with a drop-top. I couldn’t help but get one since I live in California. It was fun and an easy way to make a visualizer.

JN: What color is your aura?

EM: It was a rainbow the first time I did it. This year it was pinks, reds, purples and blues. The colors change depending on what a person goes through. I recently fell in love so I think that is why it was pink and red heavy. Red is passion, so I think that is because of the new music I am putting out. I think the pink is the love part. The blue and indigo can represent being spiritual and introspective.

JN: Your red dress looks good on you.

EM: Thank you!

JN: Is The Matrix your favorite movie since you have a song with that title?

EM: I have never seen it. I was at my previous manager’s house working out since I was too broke to have a gym membership when I put that song out. I noticed the brand of the treadmill that I was running on was titled Matrix. It was “another day lost in the Matrix.”

JN: That inspiration was completely different than I expected. What about for your song “Throwin’ Up StRaWbErRiEs?”

EM: That is a true story. I went out with some co-workers and drank the night before work. I had therapy before work and was eating strawberries for breakfast. They just didn’t sit right in my stomach. My therapist said that I looked sweaty. I went to my car to get a check for the therapist and threw up next to my car in a dirt planter.

I went to the same therapist for years and eventually, strawberries sprouted up where I had vomited. It must have been the seeds!

JN: You have an interesting life.

EM: I am one of those people who have lived a thousand lives and lots of stories.

JN: Do you have a favorite piece of merchandise that you sell at your shows?

EM: My favorite piece so far is a shirt that says, “It’s Emmy Meli Bitch” but no one seems to get it.

JN: It’s a Britney Spears reference right?

EM: Yeah! I think once I find my core people they will get it.

JN: What would you like people to know about you as an artist to help grow that fanbase?

EM: I want people to know that I really care.  I don’t make music because I want to be famous or it sprung into my head on a whim.

I do it to impact people and bring people together. It is the one thing that we can all come together and share. We come to shows to share a memory together. The memory sometimes lasts with people forever. People take home the songs and lyrics.

What I say I mean. The more music I put out the more people will get to know me.

JN: The audience tonight in Chicago certainly liked you.

EM: Yes, even with a technical difficulty it allowed me to interact with the audience while my earpiece was being fixed. I got to have a moment with them that I usually don’t have when everything goes smoothly.

JN: It makes you more relatable and you did great.

EM: I wish I had more time with the audience but I eventually will.

JN: You remind me of a singer named Raye who interacts a lot with her audience at her concerts.

EM: That’s a huge compliment.

JN: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

EM: I am going to put out a full debut album and I foresee a lot more performing. I sing about anxiety but I don’t have it when I am performing. When I have a bigger stage I will do choreography, but tonight was a stripped-back intimate show with a guitarist. I love being onstage!

JN: We can get you at a Pride festival one day.

EM: I am dying to do some Pride festivals!


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.