New Zealand Based Singer-Songwriter EMME LENTINO Discusses Her Newest Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 11 Dec 2018
Emme Lentino is a New Zealand-based singer-songwriter who creates Pop Rock, Soul and Americana music.
Her songs have been featured in various daytime shows including ABC’s One Life to Live and All My Children. Her influences range from Dido and Sia to Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan.
While performing in a successful off-Broadway production, she collaborated with DJ/producer Vasil Gavre, where they recorded and performed a song that was included in the Victoria Secret national BIOFIT campaign.
Lentino’s new single “Oxygen” is currently out in Spanish.
Connect With Emme Lentino Here:
Learn more about Emme Lentino in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
Thanks so much. I am in New Zealand, at the beach, sitting on the rocks with a guitar in hand. I woke up this morning with a new idea for a song and seriously couldn’t wait to play the melody that’s been dancing in my head. But then I realized we have this interview! So I have my iPhone playing back the song idea in the background.
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
This year has been an amazing chapter for me, both personally and professionally. Writing, recording and releasing songs while going through a very tough personal time was quite frankly, therapy. Getting the opportunity to share my heart with others through music, all the while riding the wave of emotion, self-identity and making sense of how to deal with what life handed me, has made my music more heartfelt. I really feel people must have heard the emotion in my songs.
It’s also breaking through on a global level I never expected; overseas where listeners have heard my music on their local radio, they have written me to say, “Oh I am going through such a hard time, thank you for this song.” I had great support from my Spanish speaking listeners for my first single,”Oxygen,” so I decided to sing the song in Spanish, which was a real tribute to the love and support I was receiving from my fans.
This year has been confirmation that sharing my heart through music is how I want to spend the rest of my life. My goal this year was “don’t give up Emme, keep going,” and I have done just that.
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
From a very early age, I understood music had great power. It could be used to express emotion and unite people from all over the world. Music has always been the easiest way for me to share what I am feeling, but also the place where I went to get back on my feet whenever I got kicked down. It was an easy choice for me to pursue music, I feel music pursued me!
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Leaving my performing career in New York City and moving to a sheep farm in New Zealand… yes, from subways to sheep! All because I fell in love with a kiwi bloke. I’m a romantic, what can I say? The move meant culture differences, blending into rural life after a fast paced city, leaving my family and facing the fact that there were no immediate opportunities for me to perform. Well, I sang to the sheep of course (laughs). I asked myself more than once… “what have you done, Em?” I decided to just go out into the local community and help and work as hard as I could to make this chapter of my life matter.
I’ve always loved working with youth in theatre. I saw the need for a performing arts program in the area and started my own. My little school taught classes in Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. I wrote original musicals, and had the most amazing time watching these young stars blossom. My husband and I created a stage at our farm and tons of audiences saw the talent in the local area; it really changed the course of my life. Instead of wallowing in my artist blues, I found an unlikely purpose in encouraging youngsters in their art. It later inspired more songwriting and performances on New Zealand TV, so my performing life did get a chance to exist again.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
The natural Oregon vibe inspired my early songwriting for sure. I grew up in Salem, Oregon, surrounded with beautiful mountains, ocean and much of my childhood was filled with appreciating the great outdoors. I was blessed to be a part of Oregon’s ‘Children’s Educational Theatre’ founded by local legend Mrs. Q. I learned so much about acting, music and dance. I just loved performing and interacting with audiences. It was an incredible tool for me in my later life. It allowed me to shine and also allowed me to work with all sorts of personalities and showed me just how much I love people!
What was it like making your recently released music video for your song “Seasons of Life?” What was the inspiration for this track? How does it compare to anything else that you have released before?
Making the music video was an incredible experience for me; to have been able to articulate the feeling of the song in a visual way was inspiring and quite healing for me. I wanted to create a video that encouraged and uplifted people in the various seasons of their life and my team was amazing to work with. Two gorgeous Norwegian twins who directed the video found really talented actors to portray each character in the scenes. The crew was lovely and we all shared this feeling that we were a part of something so much bigger than us. The excitement in the air as we filmed was electrifying. I still get goose bumps thinking about the early morning shoot- playing my guitar, smiling in the sun.
All of my songs have personal significance to me, but not quite like this one. I began penning “Seasons” in 2016 when my husband, who had been fighting a 15 month battle with cancer was given terminal status. I can tell you there were dark days of tears and stress that could only be expressed in music. I finished the song after he passed… it’s an anthem really. It’s a song of survival and a hopeful shout out to all those who are struggling, in whatever season they’re in. They can overcome the heartache and rise up. I am saying it so loud in the music, “Please believe me. You will get through this difficult time. It is a season. Stay strong, don’t give up.”
When do you hope to release more new music and a full album of new songs?
Oh, I am so happy you asked! My Christmas EP is coming out very soon and I cannot wait to share it with my fans. It contains three traditional songs that have been rearranged in a Chris Isaak sort of style. I also co-wrote an original Christmas song I am very proud of with two friends from Los Angeles. It was so fun working on this project. I hope listeners will be charmed with our approach.
2019/2020 will see the release of my debut album.
What was it like having one of your songs be a part of the Victoria Secret national BIOFIT campaign? What was it like working with the DJ/producer Vasili Gavre on the song that was featured during this campaign?
It was such a shock to get the call that they loved our song called, “Shake it Off.” This was before Taylor Swift’s song came out with the same title a few years later! (laughs) I was thinking, “Wow! Really?! Amazing!!!” To this day, it is still a career highlight. For weeks while the campaign aired, friends and family called and emailed saying “We heard your song!” I think I am still smiling from the memory of how cool that was. Vasili was great to work with! We enjoyed collaborating on a few more songs after that, one of which was quite popular in the club scene, got signed, released and remixed by talented DJ’s around the globe over 20x.
Can you recall what it felt like the first time one of your songs was featured on TV? Where were you when you heard it?
Oh it was so emotional for me. My first song to get placed on a TV program was called “Broken Dreams.” I was actually living in my car in LA at the time, so I seriously needed the encouragement of someone saying “We like your song and here’s some money for it!” I heard the song on the ABC show, called my mom, and we cried together.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
It is my hope that my music connects with people universally. Whether it’s a moment or a feeling on their journey of life, that we can share the journey together.
The ultimate accolade would be my music becoming part of their life soundtrack.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
You know, that is a great question. The world is changing fast–as someone who believes the human connection is how we thrive and survive. I try and be available on every social platform as it can be a challenge to articulate and express everything online especially since every country tends to use different platforms. I like to stay in touch with folks on a global level.
My favorite way to connect has been taking my listeners on a live journey with me as I travel from NZ to America for rehearsals, shows and studio time. Facebook and Instagram Live videos are great! I love meeting people on the street, asking them how they are, hearing their story.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I am in awe of the soothing vocals of Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, the strength and power of P!nk and the positive uplifting messages of singers Lauren Daigle and Rachel Platten. On the male front, I’m truly encouraged by Jason Mraz, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams. All of whom are doing great music, inspiring and helping others. I would love to be a part of a project that brings all these artists together to do something amazing for the world. “We are the World” type song. Because I believe we need that kind of amazing song for these current times.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
That’s easy, my guitar and my bestie. She goes everywhere with me. I imagine I would sneak a kazoo in the guitar case… that whistling wonder would bring a lot of laughter and fun to my lonely island.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I would be thrilled to have my music chosen for that purpose!
I believe my music is suited for any feature film or TV show that has a message, or related to a scene that is indicative to my personal message in my songs. I have in my song bank, recorded unreleased songs that would be perfect for TV and movie sync.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?
I am so happy to share I’ve been invited to perform at the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia!
For Christmas and New Year I will be hanging out with friends on the beach and creating new music to share.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
My music is from the heart and covers many topics that I have faced personally, or that someone I know has been through. I think authenticity and heartfelt music transcends time. It is my hope that a message held within a melody that resonates with people now will be effective for many years to come.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I am so happy to be doing what I love, which is why so many hearts appear in every thing I do! I am working everyday to be the very best musician, songwriter and performer I can be. I feel so invested in the time and relationships I have with my listeners. I don’t want to let them down. There are songs yet to be written that I long to create to honor this global family I now have. This beautiful human connection I’ve discovered with my listeners is truly a gift, and for that I say “THANK YOU!”