Quick Q and A with Emerald Rae

Once you witness the power of Emerald Rae’s fiddle playing, you’ll never be the same.  Emerald Rae has a way with her instrument and with the tunes that she sprinkles through the air like fairy dust. Her music can be sensitive and reflective but it can also be wild and vivacious—so much so that you’ll want to get up and dance a jig yourself!

To learn more about Emerald Rae, visit her website.

Here’s a video of “Truly Understand.”

Emerald Rae will be opening for Cold Chocolate at the me&thee in Marblehead, MA on February 8, 2019.

First of all, we’d love to hear about your Massachusetts roots. Where did you grow up?

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, even spending a few years down in Nashville at one point, but I have Massachusetts roots on both sides of my family and my strongest hometown ties are with Gloucester. I’ve been living there for most of the last 10 years or so.

What attracted you to the fiddle?  Were you exposed to both classical music and sea shanties as a young musician?  

I grew up in a musical family where rock n’ roll and country music were prevalent and was singing and performing on stage by the age of 3. I picked up the fiddle around the age of 7, got exposed to classical music and discovered the whole underground world of fiddle music.

Do you have any musical heroes?

Lots! My influences are a real melting pot and my true heroes tend to be more obscure artists. Lots of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle players obviously, as well as many other styles of world music. I would also name my mentors, friends, and peers in folk music among my heroes. I have the great honor and privilege to personally know so many people who I truly admire. One of which is Bruce Molsky, who taught me how to sing and play the fiddle simultaneously when I was a teenager.

You attended Berklee College of Music as a film scoring major.  Did you enjoy marrying the action on the screen with music?  Making key music choices can often affect the audience’s perception of a film, wouldn’t you say?

Ah yes! I took this as a savvy technology-heavy alternative to a traditional composition degree and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to manipulate people’s emotions as an added bonus. I particularly enjoyed writing music specifically to scare people to death.

Your bio indicates that you are a dancer as well as a songwriter and fiddler.  Did you participate in Celtic type festivals and shows? 

I’ve been a dancer my whole life and fell into Scottish and Irish step dancing after getting into fiddling. I taught Irish dance for about 8 years and performed at almost every concert and festival I played at — people love dancing so I always had to have my dance shoes! It would always get requested. I even danced for Natalie MacMaster’s show back in the day.

Tell us about your songwriting process. What inspires you to write?

I’ve been writing songs for about as long as I’ve been playing the fiddle. Writing music and lyrics have always been something that came very naturally to me. Things usually come to me in bits and pieces while I’m out living life and once I have enough to work with I sit at a desk with a hammer and chisel and fit it all together.

Can you imagine yourself being anything but a musician? If so, what would you do?

Like I said, I grew up with music and all my friends are musicians now. I live in a complete bubble! So, no, I can’t really imagine living another life. I did always think it would be fun to be an archeologist — probably mostly because I liked the idea of digging in the dirt looking for historical puzzle pieces. Finding old fiddle tunes is sort of like finding pieces of history, so I did that instead.


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