Emily Kresky is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter here in Charlottesville. Her sound is a fusion of funk, jazz, soul and rock–perfect music to listen to live in a bar with a beer in hand or relaxing on your patio with friends or alone (beer optional, but suggested.) At first sight Emily carries a vibe and look that reminds me of a musician that walked right out of the late 70’s/early 80’s era–quirky, artful, confident and fun–I got to see her sweet spirit and kind heart emerge more and more during our shoot as we talked about our shared love of animals and her adoration of her grandmother (whom she adored so much she got a tattoo to remember her on her arm–photo below.) Enjoy Emily’s interview!
Please tell the readers a little bit about you…
Hey there! My name is Emily and I was born in the 90’s into the bustling and gritty state of New Jersey. After years of rambling around this strange and vast country as well as across the pond, I found myself in Charlottesville, Virginia – and 6 years later I’m still here. I’ve been into a lot of things – medicinal herbs, nutrition, farming, psychology, dancing and writing – but what I’m super into right now (and what seems like the path I’m sticking to the most) is music/songwriting. I’ve been writing songs pretty religiously for 5 years or so and have a band called Dropping Julia. I also work for The Front Porch as the venue and artist manager. Music and songwriting seems to make the most sense to me and seems to be my way of understanding my inner world and expressing that to my outer world.
us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Scrambled eggs with chicken sausage, tomatoes, onions and jalapeños.
us: Does pineapple belong on pizza?
us: Do you sleep in your socks?
Heck no (unless I’m camping and it’s really cold).
us: What’s your go-to midnight snack?
Probably either fruit and almond butter or crackers and turkey cold cuts
us: Mountains or beach?
her: I love both, but I’d have to say I feel more myself at the beach. I just love the sea and the introspection and peace it brings me. I especially like the beaches in California because you get the gorgeous mountains right behind the beach!
us: Current favorite song?
her: So hard to name one! I’ve been listening to a lot of Vulfpeck lately, and in particular “Wait for the Moment” by Vulfpeck featuring Antwan Stanley, so that might be my current favorite.
us: Salty or sweet?
her: Salty all the way.
us: Pet peeve?
her: When people are mean to animals.
us: Room entrance song:
her: Haha, when I was 15 I had to choose an entrance song for an exercise I had to do in a therapeutic teen program I was in and I chose “Smile” by Vitamin C. Maybe now I would choose “Sweet Jane” by The Velvet Underground.
us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
her: Ireland. When I was 22 I took a two month solo trip to Western Ireland and stayed/worked on 5 different farms aka WOOFING – Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farmers. It was the most beautiful country – the people were pleasant and neighborly, the coast was raw and rocky, the sea was wild, the cities were quaint and there was music in every pub. I brought my guitar and played music on the streets and in the pubs with other folks. I met so many wonderful people and learned so much from them. I felt like I was a part of the communities I stayed in instead of a tourist.
us: What’s your favorite room in your house?
her: My bedroom and my porch. My bedroom is my haven; it feels comforting – I have lots of things that mean a lot to me in there. My porch has all of my pretty plants and I just love sitting on it either in the morning with coffee or in the evening with wine.
us: Who has been the most influential woman in your life?
her: There have been two. One is my mom. She is my rock and she’s been there for me through so much. She’s such an amazing mom and has always had my best interest in mind. I know that I’ll be a good mom one day because of what I’ve learned from her as a daughter. She’s taught me to be independent, smart, creative, and to give myself a break sometimes and not be too hard on myself. She’s overcome a lot in her life and it’s inspiring to see and know all she has overcome and accomplished all by herself. She’s been in a lot of situations where she’s had to just trust her gut and she’s made a lot of important life decisions that way. She’s very brave and also deep and spiritual. She’s also very strong in her opinions about politics and the current state of the world and it’s inspiring to see her being so confident and sure of herself in these important matters.
The other one is my Nana. My Nana passed away in September at 102. She would have kept living if she wasn’t just totally sick of it and ready for whatever is next. Everyone who met her immediately felt how incredible and special she was. She was so strong, patient, compassionate and kind. I’ve heard some people in our family say that the reason she lived so long is because she had strong emotional intelligence, which I could totally see. There have been times when I would call her balling, so upset about something and even at 95+ when I thought she wouldn’t be able to handle me like that, she would be calm and attentive and always have very wise and reasonable advice. We always had a psychic connection – I’d call her because I would randomly think of her and she would pick up and say she was just about to call me. She was also crazy in the best way possible – crazy like daring and adventurous. She was born and raised in Brooklyn in the 1920’s and her family was very poor, she was 1 of 6 children. I believe this upbringing made her tough and gave her perseverance. In her later life, she traveled to more countries than anyone I know. She also was a model for a dating book at the age of 90. Oh, and she drank a gin martini every evening of her adult life, right up until the end.
us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
her: I just released an album with my band Dropping Julia called “In My Sleep”. It is a 13-song album that I worked really hard on (and the band too!) and I am really proud of it. Each song tells a personal story about female struggles and female empowerment and a lot of the subjects were hard for me to write about but I finally feel like I am not afraid to truly use my voice in the context of my songwriting. The music is a blend of neo-soul, funk, rock and R&B. It feels like it all came together how I was envisioning and that’s a great feeling.
us: If you could give your younger self a single piece of advice, what would it be?
her: I’d tell myself that I’m going to be okay, that I’m going to do the things I’m going to do, and I’m going to go through some rocky periods and situations, but that it WILL pass. I’d also tell myself to stop wasting time on people who do not care about my well being and who are using me or treating me badly; that I don’t need them to do anything in life and that I will be much happier without them.
us: Can you tell me about a challenge that you’ve overcome?
her: When I was 14 years old I went through a period of deep depression. I went through a lot of changes and intense situations for someone at a young age and I just internalized everything and started to really dislike myself. I was really angry and sad. My parents sent me to a therapeutic boarding school and wilderness program for teens in an attempt to get me help. I spent 18 months altogether away from home and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but in the end, it helped me to understand myself better and have compassion and patience for myself. I came out of the program happier with who I am, stronger and better at communicating.
us: Favorite Quote?
her: “There are things to confess that enrich the world, and things that need not be said.” -Joni Mitchell
us: Where do you find your inspiration?
her: Strangers, friends, outcasts, lovers, heartbreaks, places I’ve traveled to, places I’ve lived, coffee shops, honky tonk and speakeasy style bars, long walks, beaches, boardwalks, sleepless nights complete with sunrises, nightmares, trains, subways, the 1920’s – the 1990’s, busy and crowded places and anonymous empty places.
us: Any embarrassing nicknames we should know about?
her: Nothing really embarrassing. My mom has called me Emmers since I was a kid and still does today even though I’m 29 years old. I’m not embarrassed by that though.
us: Any hidden talents we should know about?
her: I’m pretty good at throwing random ingredients together that I have in my fridge/pantry to make a meal that ends up being really yummy.
us: What are you most thankful for?
her: My family and my good friends.
us: What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
her: I love the tight-knit community. I remember moving here in the winter of 2014 and not knowing a single person. Now, 6+ years later and I feel so much a part of this community in so many ways. I love being able to walk down the downtown mall, knowing I will run into at least 5 people who I know and am friendly with.
Quarantine Specific Additions:
us: Tell us one lesson you’ve learned during your quarantine experience?
her: I’ve learned that I am more introverted than I thought I was, or maybe I’m becoming more introverted. I’ve enjoyed the quiet time I’ve been given that has allowed me to take care of myself, cook more, write in my journal and have some introspection.
us: Favorite show to binge watch?
her: Broad City. Two Jewish girls in their 20’s navigating life in New York City – they’re hilarious, loud, assertive and unapologetic about who they are. The show feels nostalgic for me as I am a Jewish girl who grew up right outside of NYC and spent a lot of time in the city in my teens/20’s.
us: Favorite local business to support during quarantine?
her: I’ve been getting my produce from Cavalier Produce weekly since the quarantine started. They have a lot of local produce, meats, eggs, honey etc. and it’s nice to pick up a box of goodies every week.
us: Have you taken on new hobbies or discovered a new talent during this time indoors?
her: I’ve been growing and keeping more plants and trying things with gardening that I either haven’t had time for before or have been intimidated to try.
us: What one thing you can’t live without right now?
her: I wouldn’t be able to get through the quarantine without my dogs and cats. But what I am really missing is spontaneity – which I feel like the quarantine has limited. I miss running into a friend downtown and on a whim deciding to grab a drink or a bite to eat. I miss walking into one of the bars with live music and jumping up on stage to sing a song. I miss going to friends’ houses and taking drives and going on adventures!
Thanks for sharing with us Emily!