Last fall after freshman Music major Emmet Montiecarlo was chosen to perform as part of the “Sessions @33 (on the Road Edition)” at the Sync Chicago presented by What Up Pitches event at Columbia College Chicago, a thought occurred to them. This wasn’t performing or recording in the comfort of one’s home. No, this was a full-fledged performance in front of industry professionals and attendees at a music conference. According to the Houston, Texas native, “In all honesty, I was nervous beyond belief, shaking in my cowboy boots. It’s one thing to write my entire being in a song when it’s just me in my room. However, to perform it for someone else, some being people I just met the morning of, is something else entirely. I tried to just keep to myself, run my music, and let myself know that no matter what happens, I did the best I could. I was happy with the performance, but I know that I have to keep working on it if I want to be the best.”
That self-confidence and belief in themselves is just one of the many reasons that Emmet Montiecarlo should be one of the artists of 2023 that you need to follow closely. From heartfelt lyrics that touch upon inclusion as well as leaving relationships that just don’t work, they’re the type of artist that is true to oneself while gaining fans by the minute through this raw approach to storytelling. According to them, “My music is influenced by what I’ve gone through. Navigating the world as a Chicane in a big conservative state, being in a competitive performing arts school during a pandemic and a family loss, these are experiences that really define who I am as a person. I tend to write music as a way of therapy. That being said, I also write as a way for my listeners to relate and release themselves in the music, or to tell the story of this experience.”
Attending G.W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston, Texas, Emmet was able to build lasting relationships through involvement in choir and theatre, which in turn gave them valuable, lasting skills which have propelled their blossoming career. “The energy of coming together for the common goal, whether it was for a concert, a musical, or just to have a good time was always exhilarating. I think that at times I overworked myself, but my time there taught me lessons in life and in the performance industry I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else.”
Another aspect of Emmet’s growth as an artist was finding mentors that cared. Luckily, those mentors were close by. “Ms. Kenyatta Herring was my choir director in high school, and we worked closely together as I was her Choir President. She worked me hard, but the payoff was worth it. She taught me that practice is everything, to leave it all on the stage, and to just have confidence in myself. I don't think I can ever thank her enough. The Tony Award Winning Mrs. Roshunda Jones Koumba was my Theatre director, and I was her Delegations officer. She also taught me about confidence, about committing to my performance, and gave me the opportunity to perform my song Colorblind for the first time. I will be forever grateful for that opportunity. Finally, there is nothing I couldn’t do without my mom. She has stayed up with me through hell and back and I would not be here today without her.”
With music as a constant in Emmet’s life since their inception, they discussed some of their formative influences. “My Abuela tells stories of putting on Mariachi music in the car or at my bath time when I was younger, and I would belt out these notes and lyrics without even knowing any Spanish yet. It’s stories like this that make me think that maybe I was born for music. But I also think it was artists like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, who came out from being bullied to just be themselves unapologetically. That type of confidence they found in music and themselves is what I wanted for myself.”
Like many artists who are involved with Sessions @33, Emmet gained a great deal of appreciation for the series and how it connects students. “I love that Sessions @33 is giving these opportunities to students. It’s giving people who have always wanted to do this line of work to get their hands dirty. It gives people a background to get a job and make connections. I hope to have more opportunities with Sessions @33 and hopefully collaborate with other students in these opportunities.”
Emmet’s writing prowess knows no bounds. They are already contemplating how impactful summer 2023 will be for them. “I want to be able to release an EP called Color Gels during the summer of this year. In the EP, I essentially color code some of the lessons I learned in high school. Some of being heart broken and trying to heal that, some of trying to want better for myself, and other songs about what it’s like to go through a grief that no one seems to understand. I want to just focus on my music, my artistry, and making connections for the future.”
Sessions @33 is a series featuring Columbia College Chicago music artists performing a 4-song set in an intimate performance space at WCRXFM, Columbia’s very own radio station. In addition to the artists getting exposure, students from various departments. Please support these fantastic up-n-coming artists, as well as the collaborative efforts of the students involved behind the scenes, by watching sessions on YouTube, as well as listening to the podcast version on either Apple or Stitcher.