When it comes to love, local musician Chance Emerson gets real on his latest album Ginkgo, released on May 5. Ginkgo, chronicles the cyclical nature of young love.
The album’s release coincided with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Emerson was excited to share his labor of love while celebrating his heritage. On the album, he collaborated with long-time friend, Brown University classmate, and roommate Jack Riley, to chronicle love “in real time,” as it happened.
“This record is as close to method acting as it can be,” Emerson said. “Love is like the growth of a tree, but then you can get buried alive by it, like (I am) on the album cover.” His end goal was to make the record “incredibly honest and vulnerable,” as an “honest depiction of love and life.”
Emerson’s last record The Raspberry Men, which was released in 2020, was made during what he calls his experimental phase, with the record taking on a life of its own. Prior to that, Emerson released a few singles and his self-produced EP, The Indigo Tapes, which made it to the top spot in the iTunes Singer-Songwriter EP category.
Emerson has described his sound in a variety of ways, most notably as spicy flannel rock, but now sticks to folk pop rock. He played The Met on the night of his album release and plans to play shows in New York, Boston, Maine, and California as well.
Of all the shows he’s played to date, Emerson most enjoyed playing with brother and sister act Lawrence. He also enjoyed sharing the stage with Blues Traveler at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut, where he had a very special guest in the audience. “My mom was able to go to the show in New Haven,” he said. “It was really special to have my mom there, since she hadn’t seen me play before.”
Another memorable live show was an acoustic folk night held at The Avon Cinema in Providence. “We did an hour-and-a-half set of originals and covers and it was lovely. At the end, we did a sing-along with the audience. It was so cool.”
Emerson’s dream gig would be to play at the Newport Folk Festival, where he was introduced to many of his musical inspirations. And while he has nothing set in stone yet, he would love to play in Taiwan as well. “It would be special to go home and do a show.”
Emerson is now most excited about his new album, which has him feeling like a life in music is within his reach. With other records, he felt as if he were testing the waters but now, he considers himself “a musician through and through.” “The Providence music scene welcomed this kid who wanted to make Americana pop music with open arms and that was special,” he said.
He credits his success to the mentors and supporters he has found in the community, most notably Dan MacKnight and Steve Domenici at Fete Music Hall, and Rich and Sarah Lupo from The Met.
“They have been instrumental in converting me from a dreamer to actually doing it,” said Emerson.
Emerson expressed gratitude to the music community in PVD for getting him to this point in his music career and he looks forward to what is ahead. “Thank you so much for giving me a chance and letting me turn my dream into a reality here.”
Learn more about upcoming shows and the latest album at chanceemerson.com