Interview with alt-pop artist Emi Jeen

Today on What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with Montreal-based alt-pop artist Emi Jeen.  Jeen just released her second single, “Holy Water,” from her upcoming EP The Other Side coming in late October.  Today in our interview we discuss her musical background, her time with girl group AKA, going solo, and much more.  Another song by Emi Jeen is “Runaway“.


1. Can you first tell us about your training in opera?

Growing up, I was highly influenced by my mom’s musical passion. She was literally always singing in the house and at the age of 40 she started to sing cover songs (Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, etc.) in bars on weekends. So, at a young age I started singing with her during her gigs and realized the passion I had for singing and performing. To improve my technique I had to take some lessons. However, the only teacher in my hometown (3000 people) was only teaching opera. Even if I was mainly attracted to pop music, this technique really gave me a more versatile voice and range.

2. In 2012, you joined a girl group A.K.A. Can you tell us some fun moments with the group or some behind-the-scenes stories? (Describe touring across Asia Dubai, Morocco, Thailand, and Malaysia.)

It was quite an experience to be part of a girl band. Such a fun time and wow, I would recommend it to anyone who is starting in the music business because it gives you a place to grow and discover yourself while being part of a team. Touring was actually my fave part. Kuala Lumpur is almost my second home and I can’t wait to go back. Funny fact, we were about to leave the airport of Montreal on our way to Thailand and we all had boyfriends that we were leaving behind for 3 months. We wanted to be with them till last minute so, we waited to cross the borders to spend more time with them. Well, we waited a bit too long and missed our flight even if we had been at the airport for like 3 hours prior boarding. So, we stayed one more night, had to re-booked our entire flights to Thailand. Our manager was really not happy hahaha.

3. In 2015, you became a solo artist.  How would you describe this decision?

So unfortunately, at the end of our contract in Malaysia the band decided to split. It was really heartbreaking for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start a solo career. For 3 months, I stopped singing completely and was kinda depressed since the breakup.  Then, a friend invited me to sing a couple of songs to her show and the flame came back right away. It took me 5 years to really start again to find my voice and sound as a solo artist.

4. Tell us a bit about your voice and sound?  How would you describe it to others?

My music is Alt-Pop but, I like to call it Dark Pop. Its like a mixture of …… It has pop synths & beats with alternative electric guitar.

5. What can you tell us about your second single, “Holy Water”? What was it like writing the song and recording it in Toronto?

“Holy Water” was the first track that got recorded for my upcoming EP “The Other Side”. I actually was about to quit music (again) because my solo career journey wasn’t going as planned. Then, a friend told me that I should meet up with this producer in Toronto who could actually be a good fit for me. I drove to Toronto, reached out to a songwriter I wanted to write with for a long time, ended up in a session with these two strangers (Derek Hoffman; Alexandra Soumalias) and we wrote “Holy Water”. I think everything happens for a reason because after falling in love with this track, falling in love with this vibe, I ended up creating the entire EP with Derek. “Holy Water” is actually talking about the bad habit of keeping emotions inside until they explode. I kept it all in in my past relationship and I ended up leaving without really saying much. I hope this song will help others to express themselves more before it’s too late.

6. What else can we expect on your upcoming EP The Other Side coming in late October?

I’m so excited to share this project with you. You can definitely expect more of an alternative sound. I am not the type of girl who expresses her emotions out loud, I usually keep them inside. People could say that I am a very bubbly person that’s always smiling. But in fact, it’s just that I keep a lot of pain inside and don’t always show how I’m really feeling. I’ve been keeping it inside for years and was never confident enough to face the truth. Music was the only way I knew how to let it out and let me breathe. Creating this EP (The Other Side) has been like therapy, letting all off this out feels like I can start to breath again.

The Other Side (EP)

  1. Holy Water
  2. No Way Out
  3. Keep Me In The Dark
  4. Runaway
  5. Other Side

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Tags: Emi Jeen, Holy Water, The Other Side

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.