Growing up, Emily Wells says she was surrounded by music. But it was after visiting a self-described “tiny jazz hole in the wall” during her teens that the experimental singer and multi-instrumentalist gained a greater appreciation for jazz and live performance.
Emily Wells: “It was called the Chatterbox, in Indianapolis, where I spent my formative years. One night – I was 16 years old, first car – I had that hunger for something new. I was stupidly fearless, and I heard this music, and it was literally one of those surreal [experiences], wandering around, trying to find where the music was coming from.
“And I finally found it, and there was this old man playing the upright bass. He was kind of motioning to me to come in. And I was thinking, ‘I can’t go in there.’ But I did, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to sit here until I get kicked out. I’m going to take it in as much as I can.’
“And the waitress came over and asked, ‘What can I get ya?’ I wasn’t going to drink and abuse the privilege, so I would drink coffee and hang out in there and take it in – watching these old guys play who were so tight and loose at once. It was so inspiring.”
— As told to Chris M. Junior
Emily Wells’ latest effort is the EP Dirty, which was released May 26 on her own creative control label.
Emily Wells on tour (schedule subject to change):
* June 3: Cafe du Nord – San Francisco
* June 5: NW Pizza – Ashland, Ore.
* June 6: Mississippi Studios – Portland, Ore.
* June 8: The Vera Project – Seattle
* June 10: The Green Frog – Bellingham, Wash.
* June 11: The Triple Door – Seattle
* June 13: Cosmic Pizza – Eugene, Ore.
* June 19: Hotel Cafe – Los Angeles