Meet Emma Cole, the Artist Behind the Music

Updated on March 22, 2018
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FlourishAnyway is a psychologist and music enthusiast who enjoys promoting talented artists and learning about the people behind the music.

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Emma Cole is an exceptional talent with an inspiring backstory of strength and overcoming. Meet the artist behind the music.  You'll not only be mesmerized by her sound but also root for her success.Emma Cole delivers a sound that combines rock, pop, soul, and R&B influences.Emma Cole's gritty Philadelphia roots burst through sassy girl anthems such as "What'd You Say?" and "He Will."
Emma Cole is an exceptional talent with an inspiring backstory of strength and overcoming. Meet the artist behind the music.  You'll not only be mesmerized by her sound but also root for her success.
Emma Cole is an exceptional talent with an inspiring backstory of strength and overcoming. Meet the artist behind the music. You'll not only be mesmerized by her sound but also root for her success. | Source
Emma Cole delivers a sound that combines rock, pop, soul, and R&B influences.
Emma Cole delivers a sound that combines rock, pop, soul, and R&B influences. | Source
Emma Cole's gritty Philadelphia roots burst through sassy girl anthems such as "What'd You Say?" and "He Will."
Emma Cole's gritty Philadelphia roots burst through sassy girl anthems such as "What'd You Say?" and "He Will." | Source

Emma Cole Delivers a High-Octane Elixir of Strength and Personal Empowerment

With emotionally charged lyrics and a voice that floats effortlessly across the musical spectrum, Emma Cole delivers a high-octane elixir of pop, rock, R&B, and soul. At points, her retro-accented musical mix reminds me favorably of an American Amy Winehouse. However, this is a songbird who has faced down her own personal demons and dared to come out stronger on the other side.

Meet Emma Cole, the artist behind the music. You'll not only be mesmerized by her sound but also find yourself, like me, rooting for her success.

Raw Emotionality

In her 2018 debut album, If You Don't Holler, No One Will Hear, the singer/songwriter shares her personal journey through heartbreak and loss. The album is autobiographical, with her journey conveyed in chronological order. Listeners can easily connect with the raw emotionality that infuses her music. "Authenticity cannot lie, and that's what I'm counting on," Emma said.

Her haunting and achingly mournful song, “Is This but a Dream,” will make you ponder what the hell could provoke such pain. Meanwhile, the gritty Philadelphia girl‘s roots burst through sassy female empowerment anthems like “What’d You Say?” and “He Will." Finally, the bluesy feel of “High Times” reflects proclamation of triumph after flourishing in the face of adversity. This is an artist who wears her emotional scars as badges of honor for having lived, lost, loved, and survived.

Authenticity cannot lie, and that's what I'm counting on.

— Emma Cole, singer/songwriter
Emma Cole was always a good girl growing up, but her first boyfriend was a teenage drug dealer. By her junior year she was failing school, abused, and entrenched in the drug culture. By 17, she was pregnant with a child who was later stillborn.
Emma Cole was always a good girl growing up, but her first boyfriend was a teenage drug dealer. By her junior year she was failing school, abused, and entrenched in the drug culture. By 17, she was pregnant with a child who was later stillborn. | Source

Good Girl Gone Awry

Emma Cole grew up in a Philadelphia-adjacent neighborhood jumping rope to the throwback music of The Supremes. The oldest of four kids, she recalled always being the good girl. But then her parents divorced when Emma was 12, leaving her to fill an adult role for her three younger brothers.

Over the next several years, Emma rebelled against the added adult responsibility, and her young life began to unravel. Hanging out with teens who touted “tough boy attitudes,” Emma met her first boyfriend through mutual friends. He was a drug dealer, and she was just shy of 16. The good girl had gone awry.

Emma as a teen.  She could have been anybody's daughter.
Emma as a teen. She could have been anybody's daughter.

Emma embraced her defiant side and a lifestyle that she acknowledged was "negative, ... rugged, and dangerous." She took drugs on and off and made drop-offs for her boyfriend. The doe-eyed teen who initially viewed the hard living, take-no-shit life as exciting, found herself mugged during a drug run. She also suffered physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse at the hands of her teenage boyfriend.

By her junior year, Emma was failing in school, and by age 17, she was pregnant. The dope-dealing father of her unborn child left her for someone else when she was six months pregnant. Her daughter was stillborn nine months into the pregnancy. Stillbirth affects one percent of all pregnancies.

"Why didn't I know this was a possibility? ... It was 2001, and I attended a very progressive high school that educated young mothers and allocated resources towards them... There was even a local hospital training me to fulfill my role in taking care of my baby, but no one talked about stillbirth," she said. As traumatized as the tragedy left her, she still wonders how other mothers with fewer resources cope.

Emma had a dreadful premonition that came to her in the form of a dream the night before learning of her daughter's death. The blurry sense of unreality forms the basis of that haunting song, "Is This but a Dream." Later in the hospital, a surreal scene unfolded as "I awoke sedated with my school principal standing over me telling me, 'We're passing you.' They gave me that leniency."

Escaping Then Finding Herself

People who don't process their trauma often run from it. As Emma struggled valiantly to move on, she eked out a high school diploma, attended beauty school with a focus on fashion, and then moved to New York City. The small-framed Philly girl with big dreams signed with an agent and worked with Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and other designers doing makeup.

Emma Cole had made it. She was big league and fortunate enough to travel the globe. However, what was missing from her life was music, something she always valued. She had also suppressed her personal trauma for the better part of a decade, and it lurked just underneath the surface, waiting to be addressed.

For years, Emma had been "borderline addicted ... partying, but I never went over the edge. ... The music, fashion, and entertainment industries are all the same when it comes to partying and excess." (She added that those excesses are not normal or healthy behavior.)

I empowered myself and took control. My message is that we are each in control. You hold the power.

— Emma Cole, singer/songwriter

Healing from Within

"Seven years after my loss I went to sing along with the radio and found that I had lost my voice," Emma said. "I had always taken singing for granted, so when that happened, I asked myself, 'Who am I without my voice?'" It was a transformative experience which pushed her to seek therapy and make important changes in the direction of her life.

Emma used Reiki energy to help heal. Reiki is a complementary health approach involving touch-based techniques to facilitate the body's innate ability for self-healing. She opted for a spiritual approach to wellness, relying heavily on meditation so that she could hear the voice of loss that wove its way into her everyday life. Remarkably, Emma also reached out to the drug dealer boyfriend from her teen years and finally made peace with him. "I empowered myself and took control. My message is that we are each in control. You hold the power."

Over the next year-and-a-half, Emma took steps to pursue her dreams of a career in the music industry. "I left my job and my family in December 2011 to move to California. I was going for it!"

Because of her direct experience in coping with devastating loss—"What could be worse than losing a child?"—Emma felt responsible for becoming a voice for overcoming adversity. Her desire to inspire others as they confront their own personal challenges prompted the singer/songwriter to share her story the best way she knew how—through music.

The public may think of Emma Cole as a "new" artist, but people don't talk about the "hustle."  She worked a full-time job for 10 years so that she could make her first album.
The public may think of Emma Cole as a "new" artist, but people don't talk about the "hustle." She worked a full-time job for 10 years so that she could make her first album. | Source

"I actually got the idea for the album on the 10-year anniversary of my daughter's loss," she said. "It was time to tell my story." She calls her music "cinematic soul" for its vivid storytelling. Although her specific experience of losing a child is rare, she explained that each of us faces struggles of our own. Emma thus hopes that her audience can identify with her powerful message of survival.

Making the album, If You Don't Holler, No One Will Hear, took Emma three years, but the album was worth the wait. When her first single, "High Times," was released, she finally felt free. Upon first performing it, she understood artistic expression on a whole new plane. "It's my story speaking. It's me being able to express my story. Instead of carrying the weight of my daughter's loss and the drug lifestyle I once lived, it now lives in my art rather than in my being," she said. Particularly for someone who has survived such adversity, Emma retains a remarkably positive spirit.

It's my story speaking. It's me being able to express my story. Instead of carrying the weight of my daughter's loss and the drug lifestyle I once lived, it now lives in my art rather than in my being.

— Emma Cole, singer/songwriter

If you are inspired by Emma's music and the phenomenal artist behind it, Emma Cole's debut album, If You Don't Holler, No One Will Hear, is available in March 2018 on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, and all major streaming services. Robb Torres produced the album.

As she looks to her future in music, two key goals serve as personal beacons for her success. Emma wants to use her music to "connect with people—all people," and she hopes to share her sound and her personal message on tour. "I've always wanted to [tour] on a charity platform, talking at events and sharing my story." She is particularly interested in helping advance nonprofits associated with domestic violence, troubled teens, and parents of stillborns.

When Emma isn't singing, writing songs, or collaborating with other artists, she practices her yoga and meditation, spends time with her boyfriend, and pursues photography. She also volunteers for Play Like a Girl (PLAG), a community organization dedicated to supporting women and non-binary artists.

Her dream duet would be with rapper Kendrick Lamar because "he tells it like it is and comes from a tough background." After having come face-to-face with domestic violence, the drug culture, and an intensely personal loss, Emma Cole is no bubblegum pop music artist. She's the real deal, reaching to her emotional core to deliver music that stirs and inspires. I'm reminded of Ernest Hemingway's famous quote when I think of strong, resilient people like her: "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 FlourishAnyway

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      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

        Larry - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that she's found her center and inspiring others.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 2 weeks ago from Oklahoma

        Turbulent life.

        Wonderful and in depth biography.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
        Author

        FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

        Jo - Isn't she something? I really believe in this young lady!

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 2 weeks ago from Tennessee

        Thanks for introducing me to this talented, resourceful, strong young woman. I hope to hear more from her.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Devika - You are right about determination and perseverance in the face of challenge. Thanks for commenting!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
        Author

        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Rasma - She does exemplify personal strength! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Great talent and challenges make people feel good about what they do. The review taught me lots about the determination one can have when they out their minds to it.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 3 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

        This was an interesting read. Thank you for the introduction to Emma I never heard about her before. A great talent and strong-willed.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Linda - Thank you for your kind support. She has true grit and determination.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        DEEDA - How right you are! NEVER GIVE UP!

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is an interesting biography, Flourish. I'm glad I've learned about Emma. I admire her determination.

      • profile image

        DEEDA 3 weeks ago

        YES, well done. Great story! What a tribute to Emma's persistent.

        I think the message is - NEVER GIVE UP!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
        Author

        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Clive - Many thanks. Glad you appreciated her story.

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 3 weeks ago from Jamaica

        Nice musical Biography

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Heidi - I'm glass I could fix that. Watch for this gal's name in lights!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
        Author

        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Dora - Some folks walk around with such painful back stories and those around them may not know at all. By sharing the inspiration behind her music, Emma helps others realize that they can rise above tragedy. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 3 weeks ago from Chicago Area

        Never heard of her. But as in every other artistic field, there's so much talent that many have never discovered. Thanks for sharing her talent and story with us!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        Thank you for sharing this story. So glad that Emma persisted and broke through her struggles. She is a good model for singers and everyone else.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
        Author

        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Frank - Hey, this is Flourish. You must have Peg on the brain because of their same last names. As far as I know, there is no relation. (Although aren't we all related somehow?) Glad you enjoyed this article. Emma's phenomenal.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Mary - Beautifully said. I agree! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Bill - I am happy to be able to spread the word about this phenomenal woman's talent and the inspiring story behind it. Remember this lady because I think you'll be hearing more about her!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image
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        FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

        Nikki - Emma is a inspiration for anyone struggling with hardship. In addition to her beautiful voice, I love her positive spirit and the way she has overcome tragic circumstances and choices. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 3 weeks ago from London

        Well Done Flourish!

        What a heart touching story it is.A great singer Emma Cole and her sufferings of life.Her struggle to get released her first album, she’s an inspiration for many to follow.Her life and achievement gives you very strong message that never lose hope and keep on trying!

        Thanks for sharing her story dear, you’ve done a great job here.

        Bless you.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Never heard of her, but I have now. I watch The Voice religiously, and this year they have four mentors helping the coaches, and I haven't heard of three of the four, even though they are big in the music industry. The conclusion we can draw from all that is I'm out of touch. :)

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        What an inspiring story of transformation and healing. I can feel that she expresses music from her core. Thanks for sharing.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 3 weeks ago from Shelton

        what a beautiful piece of writing pegcole ,,, I am inspired and also impressed by your writing of Emma Cole... wonderul

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