You know the old adage "don't judge a book by its cover?" It applies to most situations, but not to Emily Kopp and her website -- her being the book, it being the cover. By just browsing through, Kopp just seems like a down-to-earth, sweet musician. And she is. But because of her humility, you wouldn't know that she's performed with musical artists such as Michelle Branch, Boyce Avenue, and Matchbox 20. Her album release party for Serendipity Find Me is at the ever-so-artsy C&I Studios this Friday, so we sat down with the almost 23-year-old to discuss two of her songs, goals for the New Year, glasses being trendy, and how she is like Amy Winehouse.
New Times: Describe your music.
Emily Kopp: I would say that my music certainly encompasses aspects of folk, pop, and soul. My voice has a gritty soul to it, which is the element that people tend to notice right away. The music itself is very melodic, and driven by a sort of pop component with catchy hooks and choruses. My current record, Serendipity Find Me, includes tracks that have the acoustic, more laid-back folky characteristics -- but also includes songs with rocking electric guitar and powerful vocal performances.
However, I'm always writing and continuing to grow as an artist and am seeing changes in my sound and taste every day. For example, I recently co-wrote a song with a buddy of mine, and we chose to dress it up with synthesizers, electric guitars, really roomy drums, and super spacious vocals -- certainly a change from the recent record. However, learning to be versatile and dynamic is something that I feel is truly important as a young artist, or any artist really.
What was it like opening up for Michelle Branch and Matchbox 20?
Those two opportunities were definitely moments of clarity for me in the sense that they reaffirmed my decision to pursue music full-time.
Opening for Michelle Branch happened early on when I was working as a hospitality runner/assistant at a music venue. When I found out that I'd been approved to open up the show, I remember thinking, "Wow, 13 year old me would never believe this!" I came into work early that morning to set up her green room before the tour busses arrived. I worked for a few hours, went home, got ready, and came back to perform. It was an incredible experience.
I opened up for Matchbox just this past year. It was one of the more surreal moments for me, and to top it off, they were so humble and kind. Sometimes, as a support act it can feel a bit awkward -- not knowing your place or how to interact with the headliner. But, Rob Thomas stood at side stage during my whole set which was beyond kind. It was also so exciting to meet a band of that stature who'd gotten their start in Orlando, which is where I currently live. We joked about street names, different music clubs, where they used to live. It was really cool!
You have tracks on Facebook that aren't up on your site, like Potential. Why is that?
I chose not to include that on my website only because I am working to showcase songs on the new record, rather than songs from my 2010 EP. I want those new songs in the forefront, and have them be the first impression people have of me. I don't mean to imply that I'm not proud of Potential -- those were the first five songs I'd ever written, and I'll always be proud. However, I've since developed as an artist which is why tracks from Serendipity Find Me are the only ones on my website at the moment.
How would you describe the difference between "Potential" and "When We Fight"?
The music video for "When We Fight" (first single off of Serendipity Find Me) is the song up on my site. I would say that the main difference between "Potential" and "When We Fight" is the songwriting. "Potential" is literally the very first song that I'd ever written, while "When We Fight" displays the writing of a more developed artist. As far as content is concerned, "Potential" is the result of an unwavered young optimist -- a song with a cute and uplifting message. With "When We Fight" being, well, not as uplifting.
You covered "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse. Is she one of your influences?
I absolutely love Amy Winehouse as a vocalist. I definitely tend to gravitate towards that style of grit and soul. So, I'm sure that listening to her music has left that impression on me somehow.
We see you like to rock the glasses. Why not contacts or Lasik?
I used to wear contacts, but honestly, it became way to much of a hassle. I have an astigmatism, so contacts don't really sit well in my eyes. It just became easier to wear glasses. Soon enough, it became my thing I suppose!
The New Year is coming up. What are you going to do differently?
Well, one huge change is that I will no longer be a college student. Earlier this month, I graduated from the University of Central Florida! The New Year marks the beginning of a new chapter for me. The chapter of real adulthood.
Emily Kopp, Saturday, December 28, 7 p.m., at C&I Studios in 541 NW 1 Ave., Fort Lauderdale. $10 admission. All pre-sale ticket purchases come with free download of album. Visit www.emilykoppmusic.com for more information.