Rarely does such a phenomenon happen, which makes the story so much more intriguing.
Emily Bear distills exquisite lead vocals, tight song-craft, expansive orchestration, mind-blowing piano performance, and cinematic scope into emotionally-charged pop. Moreover, she does almost everything herself, drawing on virtuosic talents, film and television composition experience, and production acumen. The craziest thing is the songstress doesn’t even reach legal voting age until the summer of 2019…
At just five-years-old, she made history on her professional debut as “the youngest performer to play the Ravinia Festival” before going on to become a regular on Ellen a year later. She would grace hallowed stages everywhere from Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Hollywood Bowl to Montreux Jazz Festival, Blue Note Tokyo and New York, performing compositions of her own and classics alongside orchestras and ensembles. Among numerous accolades and honors, she became “the youngest person to win the Morton Gould Young Composer Award”, won two Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Awards, received the 2018 Abe Olman Scholarship at the Songwriter Hall of Fame Awards, and garnered the 2018 Order of Lincoln Award from her home state of Illinois -- an honor also bestowed upon First Lady and Senator Hillary Clinton, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, athlete Jean Driscoll, and more.
Along the way, she played in nearly every corner of the globe. Enchanting a bevy of legends and music royalty, she attracted none other than her idol and mentor Quincy Jones to produce her jazz debut, Diversity, in 2013.
“She’s the most delightful human being I’ve ever met in my life”, Quincy says. “I am astounded and inspired by the enormous talent that Emily embodies. She is the complete 360-degree package, and there are no limits to the musical heights she can reach. Emily has a unique ability to seamlessly transition from classical to jazz, from be-bop to bossa nova, from blues to classical, to popular music; her potential is truly endless. I have been in the business for over 70 years now, and I have yet to see another artist like her.”
Developing an international following, she “became the youngest lead performer of the Night of The Proms” 25-city sold-out Stadium Tour in Europe at the end of 2017. She wrote and arranged all the music, 70-piece orchestra, 30-voice choir, and rock band. As part of the production, she flew over the audience on a platform -- while playing the piano, no less. A documentary about Emily notably received an EMMY® and generated over 40 million views. Not to mention, she has raised millions for various charities from her performances, events, and songbooks. A percentage of all CDs is also dedicated to charitable contributions.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, Emily continued to quietly infiltrate the mainstream on stage, on-screen, and in the studio. She took over Millennium Park in Chicago on Independence Day 2018 for Rhapsody in Blue. She performed at the Hollywood Bowl twice and composed the opening and end titles to Warner Brothers’ Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. Additionally, she played piano on renowned composer Mark Isham’s score for the upcoming Universal film A Dog’s Journey. On May 17-18, she returned to the Hollywood Bowl for Little Mermaid. Not only did she join a 70-piece orchestra that night, but she also crafted the original score for a classic short animated film to kick off the festivities.
All of this set the stage for her formal debut as an original pop songwriter and vocalist.
“Film scoring, orchestral music, and piano will always be a part of me,” she exclaims. “To me, combining jazz, pop, and classical should be a ‘thing.’ My big goal is to bring all of these influences into a mainstream sound and change how we classify styles altogether. I like to think of it as ‘declassifying music’.”
She formally realizes this vision of “declassifying music” on her 2019 single “I’m Not Alone” and forthcoming EP. Blurring the lines between her traditional roots and future-forward alternative pop, Emily’s ethereal voice takes hold with delicate verses and a hypnotic hook.
“‘I’m Not Alone’ is really special to me,” she says. “Although I wrote it to a very specific event in my life, these words can be applied to so many different situations. Even when you are in the most pain, know that you are not alone.”
No matter what Emily does -- whether conducting an orchestra, composing for a film, or performing a pop song -- she makes a lasting connection.
“I’m just a musician at my core,” she leaves off. “I write music. Regardless of what I’m writing for, I want people to feel something. I create. I perform. I tell stories. The basis of all music is emotion. That’s the most important thing. That’s the one commonality. Is what I’m doing giving me and listeners chills? If it is, I know I’m on the right track.”