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Kathleen from New York Wins 10 for 10 Contest
Val Emmich
I've been told I have a good ability to shut things out and focus on what's in front of me and get things done. I learned to appreciate that. - Val Emmich
by Matt Mrowicki
Val Emmich
Val Emmich

Chorus and Verse is proud to publish the exclusive results of a special contest held by Val Emmich. As announced on Val's Myspace page, the "10 for 10" contest offered fans a chance for an even swap: answer 10 questions from Val and he would choose the best entry. The winner would then get an unique opportunity to ask Val ten questions in return. The contest was an opportunity for both Emmich and his fans to get to know each other better. It's our pleasure at Chorus and Verse to have the opportunity to publish the results and give all of our fans a chance to get to know more about this talented artist.

Emmich's latest album, Sunlight Searchparty, dropped in October 2006, returning him to his indie roots after a undistinguished two-year stint on major label Epic Records.  In an increasingly common story, Emmich built an impressive career and loyal following through a strong touring schedule, and a growing buzz for his music surrounding his debut album, Slow Down Kid. Far from building on the momentum that pushed Emmich to the cusp of national recognition, Epic could do little more then re-release his debut CD and seemingly forget about all of the qualities that drew them to him in the first place.

Now back on track and picking up where he left off, Emmich is returning to form with a fearless and engaging release that touches on topics ranging from from infidelity to personal responsibility. He's embarking on an busy road tour and was featured on the cover of "The Aquarian Weekly" in February. His latest single, "This Ship's Going Down," is receiving strong airplay on alternative radio and, in a true mark of success in our post-modern age of digital music, over 80,000 fans have checked out his Myspace profile. It's an exciting time to be a Val Emmich fan and there clearly a lot more to come.

It's an especially exciting time for Kathleen of New York, NY, the winner of the Val Emmich "10 for 10" contest.  Featured below, first, are Kathleen's answers from her contest entry. Then, following, are her questions to Val, along with his answers. Congratulations to Kathleen for winning this content and for her wonderful questions. Both sides of this interview are great reading. Thank you to all of Val's fans for entering. More fan responses can be found on links at Val's website and Myspace page, www.myspace.com/valemmich.

VAL EMMICH "10 for 10" CONTEST
Val Interviews Kathleen of New York, NY

Val Emmich
Val Emmich "10 for 10" Contest Winner Kathleen

1. You have the ability to bring your favorite dead musician back to life. Any one musician from any part of history and that person will then live forever. The only catch is that your least favorite living musician, the one whom you despise the most, will also live forever AND will become more prominent in your life. For example, he or she will constantly be on the radio when you turn it on, constantly be on TV, in the films you watch, etc. Do you revive your favorite dead musician? If so, who? And who's the living musician you despise the most?

As much as I love and worship John Lennon, and semi-wish I was Yoko, I don't know that I would want to bring him back to life ᾢ because his legacy has so much power: the messages he came to teach of peace and personal reform, and how with his death, his words have had an impact that has changed the course of history. If he were to live and proliferate music, then what he achieved in his short life, musically and politically, would cease to have the meaning that it does. "Imagine" as a song would be a beautiful melody, but if he were still alive, that would end up lost in a catalog that would increase exponentially. Though I have faith his music would be always be genius, it would be far too great a collection to tackle or even appreciate. And that, the inability to embrace his life and work, would be far sadder than a loss of someone too soon who continues to give hope and light to those left behind. Besides, there's no way I could handle Madonna in any more movies! I love her as an '80s pop trash queen but now that she's CRAZY and is convinced that she *is* queen, I have some serious issues with her as a living, breathing narcissist.

2. If you could replace your life with the life of a character from a movie, what character's life would you chose and from what movie? Explain why.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has always pulled some heart strings. Clementine came to life on screen, and people started saying that was me. It was kinda weird, how much I related to her. "I apply my personality in a paste." The fight for love, to keep those memories, that were once fodder for fire and torment, suddenly became vibrant and beautiful and worth every last second that could be saved. (Though watching the special features about the original plotline sorta ruined it for me.) However, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. from "Everything is Illuminated" is pretty premium for an official seeing eye bitch. Now that I got LASEK I might be able to fake seeing, but I definitely wish I were as deranged. I love that puppyface!

3. What's your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why? If you really don't read at all, then tell me the one book EVERYBODY tells you "You have to read!" and you swear one day you will. Then tell me why you haven't read it already.

Who reads? I love reading, I just suffer from wanting to run around more than to sit in one place and think? The Giving Tree is my book with my mommy. It made me cry when I was little. I haven't read it in decades! I love Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, and the poetry of e.e. cummings. I should be able to expound a handful of texts at least, because I just had to read 25 books to finish up college. But the book of ALL books is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain is brilliant, and can paint characters in colors that are brighter than life itself. I think I appreciate it so much, because I stayed up all night the day before it was due, and read how Tom Sawyer came to rescue Huckleberry, and they had this grand vision of a jailbreak. It had me rolling that boys are so dumb. But I hold that one near and dear to my heart.

4. Name the websites you visit on a daily basis. You know, the ones that are part of your daily routine. Whatever it is, whether it's checking your email, band sites, news sites, etc. You can leave out the porn sites. How many hours would you say you spend online in a given day?

Well, shit Val, if you take off the porn, then that leaves me with no reason to have a computer at all! Muahaha. Just kidding. However, I am not at liberty to divulge such information, you would have to sign on the dotted line because I am that much of a nerd, and I am embarrassed for myself. I used to try to read the BBC and something interesting on Encyclopedia Britannica. But I'm a hypochondriac, so I end up reading up on all kinds of things on WebMD. I like to Google images of puppies and other cute animals, I obsess over Couture and look at shoes, clothes, jewelry and purses. I reference IMDB a lot. Check the email I never get, and Myspace religiously, and Facebook when there's very little else to show for myself. It's hard to tell how long I actually spend online, because it's within reach whenever I feel the need or when I can't sleep. I spend enough time…smooshyface.

5. Choose 1. You're a contestant on American Idol and you sing so disgustingly bad that you become a minor celebrity and are asked to record a full album (William Hung style) which goes Gold and puts you on every major talk show and late show except Oprah (she's much too good for you). After that things go downhill. You record a follow-up album that nobody cares about and slip into obscurity. Yet, when it's all said and done you definitely got your 15 minutes of fame which most people never get. OR...A Paris Hilton type porn movie of you and your ex-somebody surfaces on the Internet and becomes a huge viral video. Even though you yourself weren't famous before, this video suddenly makes you a household name. You end up making the most of your new connections as you soon break into acting and eventually end up with your own television show. You make a ton more money than you would if you were the William Hung-type American Idol contestant however despite all your effort you can't ever seem to make people forget about your entry into the business via porn. You're successful and wealthy but never truly respected. You must choose 1: Bad American Idol contestant or Poorly Respected Entertainment Mogul with a history in porn. And tell me why.

No one, God NO ONE would wanna see me in a porno flick, me included. I have no shame however for flailing and wailing, and I already sing so bad William Hung would be handed a Grammy and not even out of mercy. But I never watched American Idol, I would rather punch my future unconceived-unborn child in the face. Seriously. However, Sly Stallone survived his porn past to emerge as an action hero, a comeback king in Rocky Balboa and a shareholder in the Planet Hollywood chain. But maybe that's just because he's a man, and there's that double standard. But Paris did get a lot classier, I mean, she
actually wears million dollar outfits that are no longer just strips of fabric strategically placed. And Pam Anderson was voted #1 hottest rockstar gf by VH1 and as a girl, I could only be envious! ;)

6. Name the city or place that you've visited that's farthest away from your first home. The place you grew up in. Whether it's within your own state, across the country or across the world, tell me what it is. Then tell me what place you'd most like to visit in the world and why.

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, which is my first home, but I didn't grow up there. I lived in Michigan, but didn't grow up there, but I grew up in SC. But Japan is the furthest place I've been other than Korea, both of which are my first home and in close proximity to my first home but furthest from where I grew up. I'm too slow to answer this one I guess.

I want to backpack through ALL of Europe, and I'd like to honeymoon in Paris. I am totally obsessed with architecture and history, and the thought of filling up rolls of film and memory cards with photographs of all these gorgeous places and statues and artwork gives me chills of absolute excitement. And as a Medieval and Renaissance major, I'd sell my unconceived-unborn child to run around and just take it all in.

7. I'd like to know more about how you became a fan of my music. What was the first song of mine that you heard? When did you hear it? What was your first impression of that song and of me as an artist? What made you want to keep listening? What about it made you a fan? Be honest.

You were honestly a part of the best year of my life. You just kinda happened. I was friends with Butch Walker, and I met the American Hi-Fi guys through him, and over the course of The Clash of the Heavyweights tour. I was just intrigued with your lyrical mastery, how you managed to have such raw, honest sentiments free-flowing with emotion, between the instrumentation and your voice. It just takes hold of your insides. I loved the "Pretty Please" acoustic guitar. I think "Privacy Attracts A Crowd" and "Separate Things" were hardcore. But "The Boy Who Cried Wolf' I related to and if I was having a Sad-Bastard playlist kind of day, that one always made the tears come out to play. And that kind of emotional relationship and catharsis is a rare and beautiful thing. Then, my roommate came across some of your older albums like the first Slow Down Kid and The Fifteen Minute Relationship, and then there were some B-sides that were once posted on your Myspace and the fan page and they all just became anthems of our lives and what we've been going through. We learn a lot from the experiences you imbue into your songs.

8. I've selected you to produce my next album and we collectively decide that one of my songs should be a duet with another artist. You get to choose the artist. Who will it be and why? Why do you think we're a good match?

GOSH! Well, based off what I just said about your talent, I would say Jenny Lewis. She is the female mirrored-reflection of you. Her voice is not only pitch-perfect, but it's so expressive and soulful. She can reduce you to tears with a single note because of the vulnerability she allows herself to feel. Her words are just amazing, and she has taught us so much as well.

However, I am all for Gwen Stefani, because she's so fun and has such a great vibe. She also has a real talent for pulling in pop culture and other themes and placing these things at the core of her album and building these audio and visuals around them. It might be fun, girly pop trash, but there is a mathematical genius to her, that all the pieces fit together to make one complete whole. Then of course, I think R. Kelly sucks as an individual artist, but when he produces/collaborates, he owns. And if we could tear Timbaland away from his projected intervention into Britney's career, his beats be bangin'! (Laughs.)

9. Multiple choice: A) a long massage, B) a mouth-watering meal at an expensive restaurant, C) a couch, a tub of popcorn and a good movie, D) a concert, or E) lying on the beach. Choose one. No need for an explanation. As for who you're with when you're doing these things, it can be anyone you want. Assume you're with a person(s) you enjoy being with.

Uhh. how about C minus the movie plus D equals perfection?

10. Let's take the famous question that James Lipton poses to his actor guests and flip it on its head. Let's say you've failed to live a righteous life and you're going to hell. If hell exists what will you say to Satan when you arrive at the fiery pits of the underworld?

Oh, Val Emmich, you are a funny, funny man! Hot damn, I'm here. It's a party now.

VAL EMMICH "10 for 10" CONTEST
Kathleen from New York Interviews Val Emmich

Val Emmich
Val Emmich

"VAL EMMICH DISCUSSES ICE CREAM, VIDEO GAMES & THE POSSIBILITIES OF HIS OWN HOLIDAY WITH ONE SPECIAL FAN"

1. Val Emmich day has been declared a national holiday. What calendar day would it be, what does it stand for (what is it honoring), and what would be done in observance of it? Additionally, how would it be commercially exploited.

VE: Oh my god. This is how this is going to go? Alright. Um, let's see. I want to say May but May has Memorial Day already. In May people are starting to get in better moods because of the weather getting better.  Let's make it April. April 17th. My birthday is St. Patrick's Day so it will be one month later. I don't know why. What would it stand for? Hmm. This is hard. It's hard not to sound bigheaded answering this type of question. Let's see. People would have to go outside, no matter what the weather is like that day because it's supposed to be…like a getting ready for summer type holiday. Consider it a one day spring break type thing. Another St. Patrick's day one month later. An excuse to drink more.

2. Ben & Jerry's just released Americone Dream and Country Peach Cobbler. Anyone can visit benjerry.com and create their own flavor with the flavor generator but you are not just anyone. Ben & Jerry have personally invited you to create a pint that is near and dear to your heart. Given this opportunity, explain the inspiration for the fixings you have chosen and what you would hope this special treat would bring to the public.

VE: Ok. This is easier. I have a Ben & Jerry scoop shop near my house and my favorite flavor by far is Coconut Almond Fudge. But they don't sell pints of that flavor in normal stores so I have to go to this one store to get it. I love coconut based ice-cream so …

KD: me too!

VE: ... but I would alter it a little bit. Let's call it Hyper-Coconut. We can just hype it up a bit. It's got almonds and fudge in it already but I would add pecans and ... maybe M&Ms.

KD: See, you're good at this, Val.

3. If you could go to any era in the history of recorded music, which would you chose and what original quintessential genre-specific band name would you have.

VE: Do you mean a band that already exists or am I making one up?

KD: Like if you were a new wave act you'd have to have a geeky, ultra Eighties name or if you were a Seventies funk band you'd…

VE: Ok, I got.

KD: It could be any era and then the name that would capture that style and era.

VE: Ok. Let's go with the Sixties. You know, with all those bands like The Beatles, The Mamas and the Papas, The Turtles, The Kinks. And I will go with…hmm, they thought of every name actually. I'll be The Trucks. I don't know what that represents but that's what comes to mind and I imagine the press would use every opportunity to bash us by replacing the letters "Tr" in our name with the letter "F." That's probably an ill-conceived name in that regard but oh well. I like it.

4. You are doing PR for an established starlet. However, your client has recently been caught on her worst behavior. What method of damage control would you employ to win public forgiveness. Do you think rehab is the real-life version of the "get out of jail free card?"

VE: I'm not sure that this is a good move as a publicist but I would tell my client and I wish this is what people would say: "Listen, I did some things I shouldn't have. Everyone does. I regret it. I'm sorry. I was drinking, I was in a bad mood, I was this, I was that. I'm working on becoming a better person and understanding myself as everyone is so I hope you'll forgive me while I try to work this out, while I work on myself." I'm not sure why people aren't real about it. Some people are I guess. Just say: "Listen I'm screwed up sometimes. I'm working on it. Aren't you screwed up sometimes?" It's so silly that these people need to seem perfect or super-human. These people are in most cases more screwed up than your average person and that's probably part of the reason they got where they are. So why even try to hide from that. I think the average person can relate to people being real and know when they see someone being real. It probably takes a lot less effort than coming up with elaborate excuses and smoke screens. If you're crazy, let it all hang out there. Like Britney. Just shave it off and go crazy.

5. You are to design a videogame based on the level system of old school Super Mario Brothers. The hero is your all-time favorite character of any source. You are his/her nemesis. Who is this character and what obstacles would you put your hero up against? What is the ultimate reward?

VE: Wow. I love video games.

KD: Me too. If this is really good, maybe we'll take it to Sony and see if they'll make it for Playstation.

VE: Ha. Not them. Hmm, I'd like to think about this. I'm looking around my room for ideas. Uhhh. Ok, I'm looking at my piggy bank. We'll make the hero a see-through piggy which mine is and his goal will be to collect as much change as possible. He'll go around the city stealing change from people's pockets, picking up pennies off the street, breaking into cash registers in stores and the obstacles in his way would be dogs trying to eat him and people trying to smash him with their feet or with whatever they have in their hands. I guess because this piggy is made out of glass or something. And if they break you, all your change comes out and you have to start back at the beginning with nothing. The ultimate reward would be reaching the bank where you cash in all your money and you use that money to turn into a real pig and you become the pet of a nice kid on a farm. You never get slaughtered or anything. You live with other nice animals on tons of acres of land.

KD: I think we just found your hidden talent. I would very much play this game.

VE: It seems fun doesn't it? We have to call it Green Acres or something. It reminds me of an old cartoon by that name I think. Anyway, you escape the city and find solace in the country. Sounds familiar. Ok, what's next?

6. Mother Nature opens up a theme park in which you can experience any natural disaster to its most extreme and yet there is no destruction or injury. You are given one pass to be the first to ride any one that you find thrilling. What would be the ride of choice?

VE: [Silence]

KD: Let me help you. I would ride in a tornado or down a mudslide or something. Again, no one would be hurt in the process.

VE: You took all the good ones. Ok, I think I've actually imagined this before. I'd probably do a volcano. If I couldn't get burned or anything and no villages got destroyed, I'd love to see what happens inside a volcano. Check out the lava and everything. Seems so mysterious. You can shoot into the air when it explodes and ride down the side of the mountain and ride the lava down into the village next door.

7. This is a two part question. First part. Everyone has at least one strength. Chose the one you're most proud of and tell me what that is and why.

VE: I guess my ability to focus which you never think of as a strength until you meet a lot of people who have a really hard time doing that and it ends up effecting their life in horrible, life-altering ways. Whether it's a medical thing and they need drugs to get by or it's just a kind turns into a laziness thing or procrastinating or whatever. I've been told I have a good ability to shut things out and focus on what's in front of me and get things done. I learned to appreciate that.

Ok, well, one day you wake up to find this strength, your ability to focus, has been amplified into a superpower. How would you use it to save what you can of our world?

VE: Now my strength seems so boring and dorky. I'm a super hero who can focus? That's so lame. Geez. How's it going to save us? Uh, I guess I could solve problems like a scientist. Like cure AIDS and come up with new ways to do things. Wow, this is so geeky.

KD: [Laughs] Nah. So what will your super hero name be?

VE: Did you ever see the Simpsons episode where Bart's on Focusen? It's like a parody of Ritalin?

KD: No, I haven't.

VE: Genius. Anyway. Let's see. I need to add some coolness to my character so … I will bite Fugazi and call myself Focazi. They're straight edge and shit. Known for their focus and activism. It's a stretch but I'm struggling here so bare with me.

8. You're going to hate me for this one. Ok, J. Timberlake has honored his word and jetted off to a private island to work with Timbaland on Brit Brit's new album, scheduled to drop in '08. It has now fallen on you to pen and choreograph summer 2007's smash dance sensation. It is now time of press and you must release its name, its hook, and its signature dance move.

VE: First of all, I could totally do this. Ok, the name of the dance and the song will be The Flicker. It will be similar to the pelvic thrust if you will. That kind of thing. But it will be amped up and spastic. Like on speed. As if you're being electrocuted. Have you ever seen "Can't Buy Me Love?" It's corny Eighties but it's great. It's the whole "geek turns cool guy" formula but it's brilliant. Anyway, he does this dance in that movie. Well, I want my dance to rip off that one a bit.

KD: I've never seen that movie.

VE: You must go rent it. Please.

KD: I will.

9. Judging from the absolute preciousness of your new video for "The Only One Lonely," you were probably the most adorable little kid. I was the little girl chasing the cutest boy and giving him mix tapes. So, Val, had I known you in elementary school, you could be found doing most likely what on the playground?

VE: Definitely a sport of some kind. I was annoying on the playground as a kid. At least that's what my brother and friends tell me. I was and still am super-competitive and so I'd always bark at people because I didn't think they were playing hard enough. I hated losing. I'd yell at people for breaking the rules and shit. Pretty lame. I was always annoyed if whatever I was playing wasn't competitive. But if I was courting a girl I would probably be giving her a pencil that I bought at a lunch fair which I did once. I think it was probably a pencil with a football team on it that she didn't want but I gave it anyway.

10. And now for the obligatory future question: In 10 years, what do you hope to accomplish by your own hard work, where do you think extenuating factors might take you, and what changes would you hope to see in the world?

VE: For my personal future, I just want to be able to release records for as long as possible. I hope that I'm in a financial place that I can release records. Just release as much music as I can while I'm alive. If I'm doing that then I know I'll be pushing myself to new places and I'll be happy artistically and thus personally. As far as the world and our country, I hope that we start realizing that the environment and how we treat it is not something that we can ignore anymore. I hope we realize that what we are doing to the environment is not just something for hippies and environmentalists to care about but something that affects our economy, our wealth, and our resources which all ultimately effect our safety and the safety of our children and their children's children. I hope people will wake up to that and force the government to take significant action on that or else our collective future is pretty dismal. In general I think it just comes down to our government and the people in this country believing that everything revolves around us. We have to get away from that kind of egocentrism because I believe it will be our downfall. We talk the talk with phrases like "global community" and stuff like that but we certainly don't walk the walk. What we do affects others and we need to start realizing that there are other people in this world besides us. We are not the center of everything but we act like we are. That kind of belief makes it really hard to truly grow and adapt the way we need to in order to survive. That goes for the individual and the country and the world. It manifests itself in how we treat the earth and treat other people in this earth. We only care about ourselves, right here and now, today. People need to stop walking around with their heads down. We need to fucking look around. Does that make sense?

KD: It does make sense and it's a perfect way to end our interview.

VE: Cool. You know I'm probably going to be pondering over your questions for a while. There are some real brain-teasers in there. Some really good questions.

KD: Ok. One bonus question for all your fans out there who may be wondering. Is that cool?

VE: Sure.

KD: I know you're not on a major label anymore and you have to finance your own tours so that's forced you to do very limited touring runs. Do you have any prospects for national tours in the future?

VE: Good question. People ask me all the time. I'll just start by saying that if it were up to me I'd tour the world ten times over but at this point we simply can't. It becomes an issue of money. As you said, I have to self-finance everything so it's forced us to have to stay home for the most part and spend the money on making recordings. With that said, we're starting to branch out in the next few months and do short regional runs. If that goes well, we'll extend it even further but it's all about the fans showing up and showing support. If the crowds are there, the clubs will invite us back and we can eventually have longer tours and hit more places. In the past we had some great support slots with bigger bands and of course that is the best way to do it for unknown acts but without that the road is a little longer and it takes more time to develop. I just want everyone out there to know that we're trying to reach you and all I can say is to try and support the dates we do have so that we can continue to do more in the future. In the meantime, I'm going to try and release as much new music as possible. I have at least one new release scheduled for 2007. Probably late-April or early-May. It will be my first b-sides album and will feature songs that didn't make the Sunlight Searchparty album. All the demos that the band and I recorded in the house in Woodstock. It's called "Songs, Volume 1: Woodstock" and my hope is that it's the first album of many more b-sides albums. I've got a ton of stuff in the vault so to speak that I'm looking forward to sharing with everyone. I'm just getting started.

KD: Well, we're eagerly anticipating that album.

VE: Thanks. Me too.

[ Website: www.valemmich.com ]

Matt Mrowicki
Matt Mrowicki [[email protected]], is an Internet entrepreneur and owner of Chorus and Verse. In 2002, he founded Impression Technologies LLC (www.imprtech.com) a digital design company offering website development, graphic design, online marketing, social media and technology consulting. He has been interviewed on topics ranging from how bands can best use their websites for promoting their music to current trends in social media. He has successfully launched over 100 websites and branding projects for clients and continues to develop new online opportunities and promote effective uses of technology and online media.
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