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Emanny Returns To R&B, Explains How Joe Budden, Jadakiss Inspired His Songwriting

January 15, 2021

Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!

Emanny is here to bring back that feel-good R&B we all know and love. Straight back on the scene after a 3-year hiatus, the Bronx, New York native has been in the music industry for over a decade, working with the likes of Tank, Trey Songz, Donnell Jones, Miguel, Ginuwine, Patti Labelle… just to name a few. On the rapper tip, he’s collaborated with everyone from Jadakiss, to Rick Ross to Jeezy. 

Boasting a soulful voice and expressing his deepest thoughts and emotions into heartfelt ballads, Emanny is ready to pick up where he left off. Describing himself as a lightskin R&B singer, he states, “I’m totally engulfed into music. That’s my world, that’s my life. That’s my everyday. It’s my reason for not sleeping. It’s my reason for waking up. That’s me, I’m music.”

His newest single “In Too Deep,” produced by Karon Graham and Blame Ronnie and written by Emanny alongside Mally G, is inspired by the R&B singer-songwriter’s past feelings and fears in relationships. We all have that moment where we fall in love with someone, but aren’t ready to give it our all — “especially when love comes to you out of nowhere,” says Emanny. 

AllHipHop: What was the household like growing up in the Bronx?

Emanny: Funny enough, I was raised mostly in the Bronx but my mom moved every two years. She’s here right now so let me not say this too loud because she might get mad. [laughs] Different borough, different apartment. If we saw a roach or mouse in the apartment, we left. I’ve lived in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx. I’m a New Yorker, I embody every part of each borough. Anyone from New York knows that every borough has its different style, different type of lingo, how they dress. Luckily, I’ve been able to engulf myself in all those different boroughs. I’m from the Bronx born and raised, but I like to tell people I’m from New York.

AllHipHop: Biggest influences coming up?

Emanny: Cliche answer is going to be Michael Jackson of course, but that’s really my answer. The first time I ever realized I could sing sing, my mom had a vinyl of The Wiz soundtrack. One of the songs Michael Jackson was featured singing, I was singing to myself like “oh s###, I can sing.” That was the start of my singing love, Michael was my introduction to that. Everything he did entertainment-wise, I still to this day study things from him and find new things. Things I never noticed that he did that I can try to not emulate, but apply to my studies and what I do. Vocally, it’s Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Babyface, R. Kelly before he got nasty, and Usher outside of that.

AllHipHop: What’s your favorite MJ song?

Emanny: Ooh, that’s so hard. I’m going to have to stick with “Rock With You” for right now, but I know there’s another one that’s going to slap me in the face later like “no, that one.”

AllHipHop: How did you get your name?

Emanny: My name in my family is pronounced Eman, that’s my name. As I got older, I didn’t like how it sounded. At some point, I’m like “Emanny doesn’t sound like an artist name.” I remember watching an interview of Jamie Foxx, Jamie Foxx is someone I really admire. He said he changed his name to Jamie Foxx because it had a unisex feel to it to where whenever you said the name, you didn’t know who was coming up on the stage. Sometimes, it was a pleasant surprise. There’s a girl in my high school named Emani, I thought “oh, I can rock with that.” I stuck with it, that was always my artist name. It got to a point where people would automatically see my name and say that so okay, it must work.

AllHipHop: What was your first biggest placement that you felt “okay, I can do this s###.”

Emanny: I’m very much so a hip-hop lover. I love hip-hop, the 90’s era I grew up loving The Lox like most people, Ruff Ryders. Being able to work with Jada the first time — not just work with him, write a song and send it to him like “oh aight, that’s our single.” Wait, y’all single?! Out of all the joints y’all got? You got joints made with this person, that person. That was okay yeah, I can definitely do this for real. To know the people I respect and look up to have respect for my craft was a sign.

AllHipHop: What’d you learn from working with Jadakiss?

Emanny: The one thing I did learn from Jada, I thought he was very one-dimensional. I listen to his music and everything from his music gave me street. He had his female records, but he’s a hardcore lyricist. When you speak to him about music, he knows his s###. Not just hip-hop, he knows R&B. He knows the classics. He opened my mind not to the musical process, but studying and knowing the craft. You have to go back and learn your history. Somebody that really opened my eyes creatively was Joe Budden, I worked with him extensively in the beginning of my career.

AllHipHop: How did Joe Budden open your eyes?

Emanny: He has no limits in writing. He’ll write about anything. It can sound like the silliest topic, but he’s going to find a way to write about it. It’s gonna make sense and it’s gonna sound good. As an R&B singer, the first thing you think is the only thing you can talk about is love songs, women, and relationships. Working with him taught me that you can go outside of that. You can talk about your life, your relationships, your struggles. He taught me that for sure.

 

AllHipHop: What caused your 3-year hiatus?

Emanny: The music business. I fell out of love with creating because everything I was creating wasn’t getting the proper attention and care on the business side. Some of that is my blame because there are some people I put involved with the business that weren’t able to bring me the results I needed. Doesn’t mean they weren’t good at what they do, we didn’t connect. I got real discouraged. I needed a reset. I needed to find myself again as an artist, find the love for recording again, and that’s what I did. I’m glad I took the 3 years honestly, I needed it.

AllHipHop: What did you learn about yourself in those 3 years?

Emanny: I learned I’m very selfish. I’m very stubborn. I learned there’s still a lot of room for me to grow, not as an artist but as a person. I learned to be more patient with people, I’m still working on that. The break wasn’t creative, it was more of a personal break. I needed to learn myself and really grow as a person and as a man.

AllHipHop: What made you finally feel ready to return?

Emanny: The music started sounding good to me again. I made music throughout the whole process because I placed records and did features, but when you start making records, you start to see “okay, could these groups of records compile and make a cohesive project?” For the first part. I didn’t feel that. I was making good records, but it wasn’t things I’d go run back to listen to and say “oh, this one might go with this one.” I wasn’t piecing the puzzle together. At some point, the song started piecing itself together. It started to feel like a story. The process of creating an album started to feel like that’s what was happening. I started to enjoy that. 

AllHipHop: “In Too Deep” out now. What are you most excited about with this record? 

Emanny: You know what’s so funny, I love the record but I’m so ahead. Now my mind is the next record and what’s going to support “In Too Deep”? Of course there’s visuals I want to give “In Too Deep.” I definitely want the masses to hear it at a high level, my mind is always forward. Now when people want to hear “In Too Deep,” my next thought is damn, I’m pretty sure they want to hear something else now. In the moment, my mind right now is “yeah let me get the visuals done, get it out there. Make sure it’s clean, it looks good. Make sure it delivers,” but I’m ready for the next. I’m ready to go. 

AllHipHop: What inspired the record?

Emanny: I try to not use my personal relationship as the inspiration for too much of right now because it’s something I still want to keep sacred to me. I don’t really feel like sharing the great or the really bad times we go through because she’s not really prepared. She’s not battle-tested as far as Emanny the artist, so I want to ease that into the playing field. 

AllHipHop: Talk about bringing back that real R&B that everyone loves and misses. 

Emanny: I don’t feel like I’m bringing it back because it’s already here, I’m adding to it. There’s a lot of dope R&B artists who do great R&B. It’s up to the outlets, the fans and supporters to go ahead and make sure it’s highlighted. If people don’t stream it and people don’t listen to it, then people aren’t going to listen to it. There’s guys like Lucky Daye, there’s Giveon, there’s Tone Stith, there’s H.E.R., there’s Summer Walker. There’s a bunch of dope R&B artists out there. It’s a matter of adding to it, me making sure what I present is of quality and represents me. I also don’t want to do what they do, I still want to be me. I want to add to what R&B is already doing.

AllHipHop: How has the pandemic affected you in any way?

Emanny: I’ll be honest with you, I’ve done more recording and way more work during the quarantine than before. I haven’t felt the effects of the quarantine when it comes to being creative. In fact, the quarantine helped in a lot of ways. It allowed everyone to slow down. It allowed me to really take my time and not feel the pressure of “okay well something’s dropping.” The people I work with were ready to go, because nobody wants to sit at home everyday. We got to it, we found the inspiration. It sounds bad to say but for me, the quarantine was something positive.

AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?

Emanny: These. [points to gummy bears] I need these all the time. I’m trying to wean myself off of Coca-Cola but that’s a struggle, but I do need a Coca-Cola. I need a bag of the bootleg Munchie: the mix of the nacho cheese and pretzels. If I don’t walk into the studio with those 3 things, I need to go back out and get them.

AllHipHop: What is it that you want fans to get out of your story?

Emanny: That love and loving people isn’t perfect, there’s no perfect way to love someone. Sometimes we don’t know we haven’t been taught to love the right way, so we love other people the wrong way. Love is a process and learning the person you’re in love with or the people you’re having this love for isn’t automatic to where you know exactly what to do in life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and my music speaks to a lot of the mistakes I’ve made and learned from because it’s honestly what got me to this point relationship-wise. Not with a woman, with friends, with everyone. Almost everything I speak about is always love-based because that’s the strongest thing in my life. At some point, we have struggles with it. That’s what I want people to get from my music, nothing else. I’m not going to be talking about cars and money, it’s always going to be love-based.

AllHipHop: What can we expect from your new album 3?

Emanny: I’m talking a lot of s### on there. I sound like a hurt dude on there because I’m drawing from a past experience. You can expect some hurt. You can expect some love, some reconciliation. If anyone has listened to my music in the past, expect growth. Expect to hear me speak on similar topics, but from a different perspective.

AllHipHop: What’s the significance in the title?

Emanny: 3 long years. My next project after this would be Songs About Her 3. My last Songs About Her was in 2014. When I really look back, these last 3 years were really some great amazing times and some of the worst times of my life. I want to document that.

AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?

Emanny: Follow Emanny music on all platforms. No I’m just appreciating this, the opp to talk and get back into this space. I wasn’t sure how I would be because I haven’t spoken to any… this is the first person I’ve spoken to. I’m trying to make sure I’m still media trained.

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