Val Emmich is a modern-day Renaissance man. Not only has the singer-songwriter put out six albums, beginning with his first album, The Fifteen Minute Relationship (2002) to his latest album, Little Daggers, he also dabbles in other arts.
In addition to this 29-year-old’s blossoming music career, with hits like Snow Day, from “Ugly Betty,” Val Emmich has a vibrant acting career. Emmich starred in several commercials including a “Got Milk?” ad among a few much larger roles in TV shows like Ugly Betty and 30 Rock. In fact, he played a struggling musician in “Ugly Betty” and his song “Snow Day” was used on the show’s soundtrack. Emmich is also a writer (he recently completed his first novel).
So how does Val Emmich find time to write music? We’re not exactly sure. But we are are sure that Val has a promising career ahead of him.
When I hit high school, the "alternative" thing was exploding. I was very into Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day. That's also when my Radiohead fetish began, and it still continues today. But all of that kind of paled in comparison to my discovery of The Beatles, which occurred sophomore year when [I got] a mixtape of their later material. I knew the early standards ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the like), but I had never heard "Sgt. Peppers" and "Abbey Road." That blew my mind wide open.
As soon as I learned my first guitar chord, I was writing songs (or trying to). That was at age fifteen. It's hard to remember, but I think my first song was called "Gray," and it was probably about how sad I thought I was at the time. It was prototypical insular teenage thinking. The whole "woe is me" thing. Pretty embarrassing.
Because I am most happy when I am creating something. I like [the] process; it makes me feel alive. I've found music gives me that in a lot of ways. As long as I can continue to make a living in that way, I will do it.
I used to get writer's block, but I don't anymore. Writer's block is a misleading term. It suggests someone trying to write but not being able to. I never try to write. If I'm in the mood to write, I do. If I'm not, I don't. I just set it aside and come back to it at a later time. I write because I need to emotionally, or want to creatively, never because I am being made to, by myself or anyone else. Because of that, I don't feel I ever fall victim to writer's block.
The inspiration for lyrics and music usually comes from two different places. For lyrics, it's all about human emotion-- in whatever form. For music, it's often other music that inspires me, but just as often it's film. I'm a big movie buff and I am interested in the drama created through the use of music in film. It's all about the drama for me, no matter what the song.
I admire how Pearl Jam has conducted their career. They were one of those early loves for me, [and] they are true career artists. They act with integrity. When they tour, they always try to do so in an environmentally responsible way. They are very generous and loyal to their fans, and they continually release music, whether it's their studio albums or their live bootlegs.
I like to be by myself-- I'll often have my iPod handy. I get very fidgety. I pace around, my legs shake. It's not out of nerves, but excitement.
I just want to give the audience the best show they've ever seen. I try to conjure up all my emotions and get them ready to launch out on stage. It is my goal to own the attention of everyone in attendance. So I just kind of visualize what I need to do to get that. It's about energy and it's about emotion.
I would just say find what makes you happy and pursue it with all your might. If you enjoy writing songs, then write the best songs you can. If you enjoy the lifestyle of being in a band, then get some friends in a van and start driving. Don't lose sight of why you are actually playing music. If it's just for fun, then keep that in mind, and when the fun stops, either change what you are doing or stop. It took me years to figure this out.