A Vibe: Emi Secrest’s Soulful Anthem Reminds Women They Are The Prize

Emi Secrest: A Vibe (Interview)
Photos by @xgreenwell | Courtesy of Elementi Creative Agency

Women of Color (WOC) have a natural flava that’s sweeter than any candy in the world! We add the spice, the sugar, and the extra pizazz to life. We are THE mood board. “A Vibe” is a series by BrownStyle Magazine that highlights some of the culture’s most fascinating people. If you get it, you get it.

Memphis, Tennessee is known for more than its delicious BBQ, it is also known for its legendary Blues music. From the comforting sounds of Carla Thomas to the keeping-it-real lyrics of K. Michelle, the town’s rhythmic sounds run deep through your soul, much like the rippling sounds of the Mississippi River. 

It is also where we met Grammy-nominated singer Emi Secrest, who embodies her hometown in every lyric she sings. When we were introduced to the singer-songwriter, we instantly vibed with her positive spirit, eye-catching style, and overall intention behind her music.

Establishing herself as an influential singer and composer on the music scene, Secrest’s journey in the industry is marked by performances alongside music legends such as Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, John Legend, and Macy Gray.

We also learned that her influence extends beyond her vocal skills. From lending her voice to the theme song of the hit talk show, The Real, to composing the anthem for the JC Penney “So Worth It” campaign, Secrest has earned national acclaim. 

Ahead, get to know more about Secrest, find out where she draws inspiration, and find out why she created “Lucky” to be a women’s anthem.

Her Musical Influence And Unique Style

Emi Secrest: A Vibe (Interview)
Photo by @xgreenwell | Courtesy of Elementi Creative Agency

“If Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix had a granddaughter, that would describe my sound,” Secrest tells BrownStyle Magazine exclusively about her musical influence. “Queen Aretha Franklin is my vocal Bible. From energy and tone to vocal control and ability, she has it! She sang from her soul. Her powerful vocals pull from a place that feels like home.”

She adds, “All of my instrumentation is live, and I write a lot from the guitar. That explains my Hendrix inspiration.”

Nominated For A Grammy

A pivotal moment in Secrest’s career came with her nomination alongside recording artist Cory Henry at the 66th Grammy Awards. The two were nominated for the Best Alternative Jazz Album of the Year for Live At The Piano

When asked about how she feels about being recognized at the historical event, Secrest humbly expressed her excitement about solidifying her status as a versatile and recognized talent in the music industry.

“It was really organic,” she explains about the collaboration. “Cory is a really good friend of mine. He was writing at the studio and called me in one late night. The songs were so good that he wanted me to keep them coming!”

Her Music Evolution

Emi Secrest: A Vibe (Interview)
Photo by @xgreenwell | Courtesy of Elementi Creative Agency

Although Secrest says she can see the evolution in her music, she feels like she’s just getting started. 

“Earlier in my career when I was releasing my first album Blue, it was me trying to find myself as a woman and my sound as an artist. But now I’m not second-guessing the music that I’m writing or who I am as a woman in life right now. I know that my moral compass is legit. The confidence that I’ve gained as a woman is now showing through my music,” she explains.

Navigating Challenges In The Music Industry

Secrest says she has experienced many challenges in and around the music industry. However, she quickly learned to adjust thanks to the wise words of her dad. 

“I think, no matter what arena you’re in, there’s going to be challenges just because of life,” she notes. “My dad—who is also my hero— instilled in me the ability to adjust and keep it moving. That has been my sanity in this industry.” 

Secrest says she also experienced a mindset shift that’s helped her learn to give people grace. “When I was in my early 20s, if I saw that you didn’t uphold your end of the bargain, I thought you had a character flaw. What life has shown me is that we’re all flawed. You know what I’m saying? People are going to mess up. How they handle messing up is what you have to judge, not necessarily what they did,” she elaborates.

Manifesting Her Dream Collaborations

Secrest is all about manifesting her dreams. When asked about her dream collaboration, she was more than happy to speak it into existence. “I definitely want to collaborate with Babyface. He has longevity, knows how to change with the times, and still keeps his sound,” she shares.

She also mentioned that she would like to work with the incomparable Missy Elliott. “She is absolutely amazing! She’s a trendsetter, a trailblazer. So just to see what she would pull out of me—amazing!” 

Preparing For A Live Performances

Emi Secrest: A Vibe (Interview)
Photo by @xgreenwell | Courtesy of Elementi Creative Agency

When it comes to live performances, Secrest is all about giving her audience her undivided love and attention. “Some people who come to my shows are dealing with life drama like finding out that their partner is cheating or their kids are acting up. As an artist, I know I have to break through all of that before I can even open you up to my music and we can enjoy this energetic moment together,” the singer explains.

Secrest says that once she is on stage, she loves every moment. To keep the energy clean, the singer turns to her self-care routine backstage to give her peace.

“I’m really cognizant of the energy around me because I’m just so energetically sensitive,” she explains. “Backstage, I like to prepare with candles, sage, and a beverage.”  

Her Latest Music

At the top of the year, Secrest released her hit single, “Lucky.”

“It is a woman’s anthem. You often hear men talk like they are the prize because they are paying the bills, treating you to dinner, or buying the fashion. However, we are making our own money. We have our stuff poppin’ and we’re still able to be partners, wives, and mothers. In most cases, you’re lucky to have us too,” she concludes.

Feeling Emi Secrest’s vibe? We encourage you to check out her YouTube and add a few of her songs to your playlist. To learn more about her journey, be sure to visit her website.

Heather Elitou is the Senior Managing Editor at BrownStyle Magazine, where her expertise has led to the publication's success. A devoted mother of three brilliant young women and a loving wife, she finds joy in nurturing her family. Beyond her professional and family life, Heather enjoys savoring the delights of a well-crafted cheese board. She is also known for her love of soulful conversations about living a soft life.