Canadian singer/songwriter Emm Gryner has been making music for over a decade. Her latest album Northern Gospel was released this past September—she also became a mother last year. Despite juggling music and motherhood, Gryner is on tour, and she stops by Aeolian Hall tomorrow. Gryner took time out of her hectic schedule to talk about her music, the industry and being a mom.
You’re playing all Canadian dates on your tour. Why did you choose to stay local?
I had a baby last year so I’m just kind of staying close to home. In a way it’s nice because I’ve been going overseas a lot and it just kind of wore me out. It’s a little bit more of a challenge [to play in Canada] because Canadians are really well-received in other countries so I feel like you don’t really have to work as hard—you’re sort of different already. But here we have a lot of music coming through a lot of different towns so I think you kind of have to bring something special.
How has motherhood changed you as a musician?
It’s made me want to be a little more honest. And I think I was fairly honest before but I think singer/songwriters can be a little self-absorbed and [my son] has inspired me to want to do new things and to maybe sort of put things behind me—personally. He’s inspired me to go back to my original intentions with music.
What were your original intentions with music?
Well it’s really easy, especially with the Internet, to take in a lot of opinion and criticism and it’s harder to ignore competition. It’s hard and coupled with managers and producers and people like that, it’s really hard to stay on your path if you’re not a really strong-willed person. So I want to just return to what kind of music I wanted to make when I was younger and what excites me about doing music.
Do you have any career goals that you still want to achieve?
I’m actually going to start a new band. I am also working on a book about making it in music on your own terms. It’s the type of thing that I would have liked to have myself. I think a lot of music industry books are very formulaic and outdated because the model has changed. So this is more about the philosophy and the strategizing behind being a completely independent musician.
What do you consider to be your biggest career accomplishment so far?
I think honestly, just making it work without a major label. I was dumped from my major label when it wasn’t cool to be on an indie label and I think there are times where you don’t have the support of other people, when you are thinking, oh well maybe I will get a real job, but I’m really glad I haven’t given in. And a lot of people when they get older sort of just throw in the towel. And I’m glad that I have not gone down that road.
Catch Emm Gryner tomorrow at Aeolian Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door for students.