Rolling Stone named EmiSunshine among “10 new country artists you need to know,” but she is much more than country. With a musical style described as “old-timey,” the East Tennessee native performs her own unique contemporary blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, Bluegrass, Gospel, Blues and Jazz.
Known for her powerful voice and masterful ukulele-playing, the 19-year-old singer/songwriter has been attracting national attention since she was 9 years old, with appearances on Today, NBC’s Little Big Shots, Pickler & Ben, Song of the Mountains, WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour the Grand Ole Opry and elsewhere. In 2018, she was featured in the Grammy-nominated Elvis Presley documentary film The King, for which she wrote and performed two original songs—“Johnny, June and Jesus” and “Danny Ray.” In 2019, she received the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Desmond Child Anthem Award for musical excellence.
With 10 albums released under own name and guest appearances on other projects, EmiSunshine’s evolution as a singer, songwriter and musician is on full display. Her latest album, SIDESHOW (to be released on October 6, 2023), explores themes of lost love, diversity, independence and more.
Likewise, her 2022 album, DIAMONDS, explores themes of love, loss, self-esteem and misogyny. In a review, No Depression described the album as filtering “traditional sounds of roots music through pop…into a bluegrass state of mind.” American Songwriter called it “an ambitious offering from an artist whose talent and ambition reside well beyond her years.”
Emi’s 2019 album, FAMILY WARS, which was produced by 4-time Grammy-winner Tony Brown in Nashville, also received outstanding reviews in leading music publications. No Depression wrote that the album “establishes EmiSunshine as a strong creative force… someone bold and talented enough to tackle today’s issues while honoring yesterday’s folk traditions.” Country Standard Time called it, simply, “a superb album.”
Emi has opened for, or shared the stage with the likes of Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker and more. A true prodigy, she began writing songs at the age of 5 with help from her mother, Alisha Hamilton, with whom she still regularly writes. Many of her songs deal with serious themes like domestic violence and addiction, but she is equally drawn to uplifting stories that celebrate equality and offer encouragement to anyone facing challenges in life. Her ideas come from many sources, including watching the news and sometimes even listening to other people’s conversations. “I don’t intentionally eavesdrop, but sometimes it just happens,” she admits.
Emi regularly co-writes with other acclaimed songwriters, including Jim Lauderdale, Vicky McGehee, Leslie Satcher and more. In 2020, she collaborated with Grammy-winning funk music legend Bootsy Collins on the song “Stars” to benefit the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.