Lyrical philosopher and storyteller of the contemporary human experience, Emily uses unabashed honesty and humor to punctuate the complexity of the entire escapade. Emily found her way to songwriting as an outlet for her struggles when she was studying to be an actress in New York City. Over time, she realized that songwriting and sharing her personal stories connected her more closely to her community than her attempts to be an actress. The more raw and candid her songs were, the more people seemed to be drawn in. So, she packed up and moved back to California to pursue writing more studiously. Hilarity and devastation continue to ensue, and so in turn does she.
Songwriting, for Emily, is a meditative practice. Rather than starting with a structure or an external idea, it starts small, hidden, and is uncovered with reverent care, like a dinosaur bone. The stories have always been there, and they aren’t necessarily only hers. They’re everywhere, always, hidden in our histories, just waiting to be discovered.
Through songwriting, Emily seeks to foster healing and sincere connection by writing instinctually. She writes songs that excavate shame and shine a light on the goodness and humor buried under each painful moment.
Emily’s influences stem from all corners of the musical spectrum. However, her affinity for well-organized lyrics and carefully crafted melody bring her a sound reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Ani DiFranco, and Norah Jones.
In 2009, Emily Zisman released her debut album Naked Day Alone in which she unfolds little glimpses into the inner workings of her mind with unapologetic honesty. Bringing her soulful voice to folk-Americana music once again, Emily Zisman returned in 2014 with her second self-released album Weeds & Wildflowers. With her heart firmly rooted in the Bay Area, Emily is currently performing throughout California in support of this release. She is planning to release her third album in 2022 in conjunction with a tour of the Pacific Northwest in the next few months.
In addition to her solo work, Emily Zisman is part of the electronic duo Chance’s End, a violin-electronica project with her longtime collaborator, violinist Ryan Avery. Emily is also an in-demand vocalist, performing regularly around the San Francisco Bay Area with groups such as Jazz Collective, The Americano Social Club, and the funk/soul band Grand Avenue Soul.
Quotes and Album Reviews:
“This album brings together Zisman’s lovely, playful vocals with down-to-earth songwriting and relatable lyrics. Weeds & Wildflowers is a well-structured and excellent record. Enjoy it. It is worth owning.”
– Aaron Mannari (Lemonade Magazine)
“A voice planted firmly in the earth, mature and vibrant. If Mother Nature was singing a song, she would probably sound like Emily Z!”
-Tia Carroll (KPOO Radio and Tia Carroll)
“Whether she’s covering songs she wishes she’d written, or performing the deeply felt story-songs that come from her own experience, Emily infuses her entire heart in a seemingly effortless singing voice that’s both gentle and powerful.”
-Mark Schaeffer (Rose Avenue Acoustic Delights House Concerts)