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A Musical Life: Emily Deaver

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Emily Deaver is a classically trained musician whose work includes work with jazz bands, an all-encompassing cover band, Annie Up, and a folk rock duo. A former Miss Kansas, Deaver is a graduate of Wichita State University, where she studied jazz piano. She has worked in television as a music reporter but is currently pursuing music as her full-time career. You can learn more about her via her website, http://www.emilydeaver.com

My name is Emily Deaver and I am a singer-songwriter/composer/pianist.

When I was in high school I tried to ditch the music and go into sports, and that failed tragically because I ended up in music again when I was in college and I tried to ditch it again for “adult life.” But that failed again and I’m back in music, so it’s this hilarious relationship with me, back and forth.

To me music is about exploring. That’s what I love the most because I feel that I have had a lot of… ever since I was a young child I’ve had a lot of big questions for life and now, as an adult, I’m starting to learn that I can use my music to explore those.

Classical music really helped me learn how to put a song together and think about form and the jazz really helped me think about mood and emotion. Lyrics are still a struggle, so thankfully I’m marrying a writer. [Laughs.] So, we’ll work on that.

Ever since I was a little girl I did understand that there was a clear difference between an artist and an entertainer. I would always say, “I’m gonna go to New York ‘cause that’s where the artists go. You guys go to L.A.” That’s where you learn to entertain. I definitely do think that there’s a difference between entertaining and artistry as a musician.

I really do believe in the power of music to change lives. But the only way that music will change your life is if you shut everything else off and you focus on it.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.