Val Emmich

Privacy Attracts A Major Label

Val Emmich is set to take his career to the next level.

Emmich, the 24-year-old Manalapan, New Jersey resident who has had two videos picked up by MTV, is preparing for his first major-label release on Epic records, which will contain songs from his local release, "Slow Down Kid".

"Six of the 10 are staying and four new ones will be added," he said.

The CD, keeping its original title, will be produced by Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat Word, Blink 182) and mostly promoted through word of mouth and touring.

"We're trying to do this the long route, through kind of an organic way of people discovering me," he said.

Emmich's "Slow Down Kid" is a melodic mix of vastly-diverse feelings and relatable lyrics. The use of dynamics in Emmich's vocals and the instrumentation in his songs, not to mention his penchant for writing appealing hooks, makes repeated listens of the CD inevitable.

Emmich credits members of his team, including his lawyer and manager, for his success.

"Now Epic's part of the team and [so is] my A&R rep," he said. "We basically put our heads together and made the plan that would make me a credible artist."

Though trying to create a hit song works for some bands, Emmich would prefer longevity in the music industry and turning people onto his music through touring.

"That's awesome when [writing a hit] works, but I was very adamant that that wouldn't work in my situation," he said.

Emmich's songs convey a wide range of emotions.

"It's just really if I have a feeling of anxiety, for example, I just pick up my guitar and that's the feeling that comes out and that's the lyrics that come out," he said. "It's really an in-the-moment process."

After his emotions are recorded through his song, Emmich goes back and fine-tunes its structure.

"Even though my initial feeling is organic, I definitely go through [my songs] with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything is in place," he said.

The goal for Emmich is to make his songs sound effortless, but for them to still flow.

"At the same time, lyrically, I like to jar people and make people think about themselves and the people around them," he said.

Words are important to his songs, so he spends a great deal of time tweaking them. Emmich tries to stay honest with himself and said he feels ashamed "if I don't get the exact nuisance of what I feel."

While his songs aren't always about him, Emmich said he writes in the first person to take ownership of the emotions he expresses lyrically.

The Beatles are his favorite band and had a ridiculous effect on various aspects, including the harmony and lyrics, of music released by bands in subsequent eras, he said.

"I think it's impossible to be influenced by music without somehow being by [the Beatles'] music," he said. "I'll buy anything they put out."

His other influences include Pearl Jam, REM and U2.

Music, Emmich said, makes him feel less alone. Artists like Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder gave him something to relate to. He was partially moved by Vedder's lyrics in "Daughter," where the grunge singer pretends to be an abused girl.

"I just found that to be incredibly real and important," Emmich said. "I felt like what he was saying was important to him, so I felt moved by it."

Emmich began as a musician after Lyme's disease forced him to quit playing sports at age 15. The disease forced him to quit his soccer team and left him bedridden. After his parents bought him a guitar, he began learning Nirvana and Green Day songs from the radio. He joined bands with his friends and went solo about two years ago.

When not on tour, Emmich's band plays mostly Hoboken's Maxwell's and clubs in New York City.

"We frequent Asbury Park because it is right around the block and that's where one of my first bands played when we got together," he said. "So we always seem to go there for a gig now and then."

The band last toured in June, but stopped to make a video. Soon after, Emmich was signed to Epic. The tour was heading cross-county, but stopped before hitting the west coast.

"It was like a 30-day mini tour and then we came back and did a tour in June in Florida," he said. "We'll probably be out again for the rest of the year starting in April."

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Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.