Emma Hill

Emma Hill has until March 23 to raise $18,000. The local Americana and folk musician has raised $10,527 with 139 backers and less than two weeks to go.

Hill recently recorded her seventh studio album “Magnesium Dreams” and is looking to raise money to kickstart her promotional efforts. She said this will help take her musical career to the next level.

“Because of our excitement over this album, we are planning a bigger release than we have ever done, including CDs, vinyl (finally), digital downloads, three music videos, both European and US tours, and a full press campaign,” Hill stated on her Kickstarter page.

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Hill, 31, recently said that her musical career is established now, about to release her seventh studio album “which is crazy” and she feels fortunate for garnering so much support along the way.

She said that she’s learned a lot in her journey. Looking forward, she said that she wants a musical career that’s sustainable and allows for growth both musically and spiritually.

“It’s been a lot of hard work but we make albums the way we want to. We save up the money and go in. We do the work,” Hill said.

Hill’s mother Barbie said that her daughter has been musical inclined all her life. She said that even as a young child, she wrote and sang her own music.

“She sang when she first started talking,” Barbie said. “Always, always, always singing.”

Hill was born in Palmer and lived in the small village Sleetmute off the Kuskokwim River until she was high school age. When Hill reached that age, she moved to Palmer with relatives so she could attend Palmer High School. She said that she immersed herself in the school’s music programs like the symphonic choir and the jazz choir.

“Even in high school, music was my life,” Hill said.

Hill graduated high school early after receiving a scholarship for UAA. She moved to Anchorage and played gigs on the weekends while attending school. Still just 17, she was invited to join a local band Black Bird Productions. She collaborated with several local musicians before moving down to Portland, Oregon. She lived there for five years before returning to Alaska.

“I think that music is the glue that holds everything together. Art in general but I think music especially is the most universal language,” Hill said.

Hill said that when she returned to Alaska, she wanted to invest into her community like never before. Since she’s returned, she’s collaborated with numerous local artists, such as Evan Phillips and the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.

Hill said that she is passionate about encouraging local talent, especially young musicians. Once a month, she hosts the Spenard Song Circle in Anchorage. This event is designed to encourage musicians of all ages and backgrounds to play original music.

“I think it’s really crucial to make live music available to young people, especially if we want our scene to sustainable and continue to grow,” Hill said.

Barbie said that Hill is fairly connected in the local music scene and even helps bring artists from the Lower 48 up here to play.

“We work with fantastic artists, everything from our graphic designers to our t shirt designers to our album artwork. It’s all done by people that I know personally and love,” Hill said.

Barbie said that Hill has always been personable, and that’s probably why she prefers to do shows where she can interact easily with the audience.

“Making music is not even an option for me. Making music is how I communicate. It’s my therapy. It’s how I take everything that the world throws at me and try to make it make some sense,” Hill said.

Hill said that she writes personal songs with her heart on her sleeve. She said that she writes a lot about mental illness and her own dealings with that, striving to break down the stigma.

“I think that my desire to continue sharing it is that I’ve seen that it touches people. I’ve seen that it helps,” Hill said. “To me, as long as it still feels that way then I’m still going to want to share it.”

Hill said that she still travels frequently and typically tours about four months out of the year. She’s toured to Europe three times and toured the Lower 48 several times. She said that the first time she went to Europe, she discovered her love for house concerts, not to be confused with house shows.

“She tells stories with her songs,” Barbie said.

While similar in several ways, Hill said that house shows are more of a basement or garage feel with a punk rock vibe feel while house concerts are more intimate settings with a listening room style show. She said that house concerts are part of a “big movement” on a global scale.

“It’s treated very much as if we’re going to a theater or a concert of any kind that there’s talking and visiting beforehand and afterwards but during the concert, people put their phones away. They sit down quietly. We all experience something together,” Hill said.

Hill primarily does house concerts at this point, but she said that she still does other kinds of shows, even the more conventional kind. She said that the house concerts are “magical experiences” that helps her connect with people on a more personal level.

“It’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” Hill said.

Hill said that she plays in the Valley about five to seven times a year. She said that she plays at the Alaska State Fair every year and frequently plays at venues like Vagabond Blues and the outdoor stage at the Palmer City Alehouse.

“In Alaska in general, I think it’s amazing. I love our local scene. I think it’s a really community driven one. I think everyone’s really supportive of each other,” Hill said.

Hill said that some of her favorite bands are based in Alaska, not just as her favorite local bands but as some of her all-time favorites. She said that acts like Evan Phillips, Termination Dust and the Super Saturated Sugar Strings are up there on her list.

“I’m friends with all the members of those bands but I’m also a legitimate fan,” Hill said.

Hill said that her newest album will include a vinyl LP. This is the first time she’s done this. Making vinyls are more expensive than compact disks, and said that she couldn’t justify the cost beforehand, but the continues trends are encouraging. She said that it’s not just a hipster fad.

“Vinyls have made a really big comeback,” Hill said.

Hill’s music is available on various platforms like iTunes and Spotify. Magnesium Dreams is set to release on May 10. Hill will be touring with her band through the western United States from May 5 to June 1 to promote the new album.

For more information about Hill, visit her website at: www.emmahillmusic.com.

According to the Kickstarter page, this is an all or nothing project that will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, March 23 2019 7:50 AM AKDT.

Contact Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at Jacob.mann@frontiersman.com.


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