By Cody Corrall
Emily Blue is a force to be reckoned with. Her debut album, Another Angry Woman, was a vulnerable look into rape culture and being a woman in this day and age. Another Angry Woman was entirely nonprofit, with all proceeds going to R.A.C.E.S: the Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services in Illinois. She is also the frontwoman of two Illinois based Indie bands: BOYCUT, and Tara Terra, who just released their newest album Where’s Your Light? n May.
Since then, Emily Blue has been on a musical evolution. Her newest singles, “Blackberries // Rico Acid” have a more summer pop flavor, but don’t hold back on the messages from her earlier work. We sat down with Emily to talk about growth, her advocacy work, and her love for Chicago.
Your music has really evolved since Another Angry Woman, how has your growth as an artist changed and/or evolved your sound?
After Another Angry Woman came out, I felt absolutely drained. I had put all my time and effort into raising funds for R.A.C.E.S. + the album, in addition to talking repeatedly about multiple traumas. So honestly, I wanted to move toward an outlet that felt joyful, empowered, and fun.
I went to Chicago partially because I wanted to run away from the things that had happened to me -- I was overwhelmed and needed a change. I met my friend Max Perenchio and we started working on these crazy pop tunes, and I fell in love with production and pop music all over again. I’d say I evolved into an artist that wants to spread joy and move forward, to dance around and be silly. There’s so much value in being able to have fun, laugh.
You strive for activism and social change, especially with your work with R.A.C.E.S. Do you think your music is political? Do you revel in that label or do you try to distance the art from the activism?
I think my music is extremely personal, but you know the expression, “the personal is political.” I view my traumas as a reflection of a society that perpetuates very similar traumas. I don’t try to make it inherently political, but of course art always plays a role in the political climate.
At the end of the day I want Another Angry Woman to support survivors, to resonate with them. I want it to challenge rape culture and gender inequality.
I really respect how you acknowledge other experiences and identities, specifically in the "No Pain" video. Why is that so important to you as an artist who speaks on issues like this?
I think that it’s vital to acknowledge that our experiences differ based on our identities. For example, I have the huge privilege of being white and cisgender. This means that I’m less vulnerable statistically to certain types of violence and discrimination. In the video, I just wanted to open it up to anyone who was dealing with the pain of sexual assault. Sexual assault rates intersect in very complex ways based on identities, with trans people of color being perhaps the most vulnerable. We definitely don’t talk about it enough.
How does Chicago act as a home-base for your work? What do you love about the music scene here?
Chicago is beautiful. In my heart, Chicago is this electric entity with tons of different personalities and infinite avenues to explore. I love the hip hop scene especially, because everyone is so genuine, so supportive. I love the artists in the city and cannot wait to dive in even more.