Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Interview with Girl Warrior Emily Braden.

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Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, powerhouse singer Emily Braden, the big, bad beauty from Boise. Winner of New York City’s prestigious “Best of the Best” Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, Braden’s signature sound is an effortless blend of jazz and soul. Her debut album Soul Walk is composed of high-energy originals and “flipped-out” jazz standards. Braden has performed at notable NYC venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club (Late Night Groove Series), Birdland Jazz Club, le poisson rouge, BAMCafe and as well as on international festival circuits. East coast residencies include Richard Bona’s Club Bonafide and Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, the original home of bebop.  Braden has traveled to Burkina Faso, West Africa as part of the US Embassy’s Arts Envoy program.  She recently made her debut as a featured vocalist with Post Modern Jukebox. Her vocal versatility has earned her a place as a front woman with The Sketchy Orkestra, the Matt Parker Trio and Oliver Swain’s Big Machine. Her own group Double Bass, Double Voice released their debut album in the US and Japan in February 2017. See Braden live and she’ll make you a believer. This girl is smokin’, smokin’ hot.

What makes you a Girl Warrior? 

I’d say continually putting myself “out there” and actively designing my life qualifies me a Girl Warrior. My belief that all people (that would include all self-identified women and, hey now, that would have to include me!) are worthy of being seen, heard and loved motivates me to trust and follow my own vision. I want to live a big life. That, and my ability to see an opportunity for growth in everything, everywhere, all the time.

You have a big bold brilliant career. Was music always “it” for you?

I am first and foremost a music lover. I’ve been a singin’ fool ever since I can remember but I didn’t necessarily see it as my career path early on. I would sing along with, imitate and study the greats for the sheer joy of it. It was out of that practice that I developed a voice. It wasn’t until high school when I went for a solo and felt a beautiful force and energy come through me – it was powerful. In that moment I realized that I not only had a voice but also had something to say.

From Boise to Manhattan … how’d that come about? 

Boise, ID to Gresham, OR to Victoria, BC to Harlem USA.  I’ve recently begun to embrace my unconventional beginnings as a jazz singer. I used to wish my story made more sense – that I had grown up in a place where jazz, soul and gospel flowed like water, or that my hometown had a little more musical “clout.”  The truth is that my grandmother introduced me to some incredible music early on and I fell in love with it. I grabbed a hold, so to speak, and have since followed music wherever it has led me.  I had great mentors in both Oregon and British Columbia. I packed two suitcases and moved to New York City in 2009 because I knew I needed to be immersed in the music I loved in order to begin to reach the level of artistry to which I still aspire.

You’ve sung in some amazing places in the world. If you could go back to one of those places to do it all again, where would it be? Why? 



My wanderlust runs deep. I’m crossing my fingers that my dream of having a great career effortlessly marries my desire to see the world. So far, so good. I’m currently in Bangkok for a month of music at a jazz club here and I already want to come back! I came over two weeks early to travel on my own in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. There are so many places I have yet to see that I’m not sure I’d prioritize a trip back to anywhere over seeing someplace new. I loved Burkina Faso in West Africa, though I see myself visiting its musical neighbors, Mali and Ivory Coast, before returning. I also adored Cuba. I am bilingual and sing in Spanish as well so South America is also at the top of my list.

What has been your biggest challenge? 

It’s cliché but I have to constantly fight against my own self-doubt and work to expand my understanding of what self-love really looks like. There is an undercurrent of negative self-beliefs that I am forever examining and pushing back against – the belief that I am not good enough, talented enough, that I am an imposter or somehow unworthy of the incredible things that I have been able to experience. What a buzz kill, really. There are also the very real challenges of being a woman in the music industry and a fat one at that. I rely on friends and fellow women artists for support and have also found strength in the body-positive, fat-positive and queer communities.

What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down? 

Moving to NYC within my twenties with no money and building a music career from the ground up!  Being fat has shown me walls and barriers invisible to many. It could be seen as an obstacle but I choose to embrace my embodiment. It is one small part of who I am. If my size and shape hinders me from getting an opportunity, that opportunity was superficial and wasn’t for me – just on principle.

What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?

Can I just hang out with her and shower her with buckets and buckets of validation? I would tell her that there is space in this world for her and for everything that she has to say and just – to go for it.

What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?  

I would do my best to communicate the idea that they are already in possession of everything they need to find joy and live the life of their dreams. That can be a tough one though – how much time do we have together?

Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why? 

I have role models and certainly look up to the vocal goddesses that have inspired the masses but I’m not so big on the idea of the “hero/ (s)hero.” I am in awe and fall into a kind of love with most people I meet.

What’s next? 

I am working on a new album and it’s been a long time coming. Hopefully a month alone with a piano in a hotel room in Bangkok will result in the completion of some of these song ideas that have been floating around.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I have no idea and I feel great about that! One of most important things I’ve learned as an artist is to do the work and detach from the outcome. I say, “yes” to things even if (or especially if) they scare me.  I show up for opportunities and follow through. I create music.  What comes from that is not really for me to say.  At the same time, I am an avid daydreamer and carry within me an elaborate vision of what I want things to look like and how I want it to “feel.”  I do my best to nurture that and give it my focus. In five years, I’d like to be making music with a killing band in beautiful clubs, theaters and music festivals around the room.  And if I let myself be completely honest, I’d like to be playing Madison Square Garden.

 If a song were written about your life, what would it be called?

Maybe “Songbody.”

You can learn more about Emily @ www.emilybraden.com

Preview Soul Walk on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/soul-walk/id336528400

Follow Emily on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/emilybraden/ and Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/songbody/

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Piss or Get Off the Pot.

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Girl Warrior. Make this the year you piss or get off the pot. This is your great big powerful year where you kick all the excuses, delaying tactics, postponing, stalling and deferring to last year’s dragging-your-feet curb. No more of that. It’s done.

The clock is ticking and the truth is there is no more time to waste. Time waits for no man. Or Girl Warrior. So get on with it.

This is the perfect time to pull all your dreams, plans, schemes, resolutions and to-do lists out of the vault and unleash them. This is the perfect time to show the world just exactly what it is you can do. This is the perfect time to rally your troops and all your resources and get some shit done. This is the perfect time for action not reaction. This is the perfect time to become a force to be reckoned with. This is the perfect time to light that fire in your belly. This is the perfect time to take your life to the next level and beyond. This is the perfect time to have the best year of your magnificent life.

What’s stopping you Girl Warrior?

Take a moment to think about what exactly it is that’s holding you back, keeping you from doing all the things you want to do and accomplish. There’s probably a lot of negative self-talk and emotional baggage fogging up your beautiful brain and clogging your thinking. It’s creative constipation caused by the likes of fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, fear of making waves, fear of losing friends or family, fear of being considered a bad girl, fear of being abandoned and left alone, fear of being thought of as crazy. So what.

Say so what to all of those fears. Odds are, none it’s going to happen anyway. And if it does, you’ll deal with it. Head-on and brave-on like you always do. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit crazy either. It’s the juicy sweet stuff of imagination and innovation. Harness it and make it work on your behalf. Make it crazy vision. Crazy inspiration. Crazy motivation. Crazy inventiveness. Crazy originality. Crazy artistry. Crazy genius. Crazy love.

So Girl Warrior, go completely crazy this year doing all the mind-blowing extraordinary awesome things you’ve been putting off. Make this the best year of your life.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Engage your Radical R Trifecta.

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Girl Warrior. Engage your Radical R trifecta – Rebel, Revolutionary, and Renegade. Especially during make-or-break times and crucial circumstances, the cliff-edge life-changing moments. This is when you will be well served to marshal your passionate determined ass-kicking spirit. The one that knows intuitively when to break the rules, break through the barriers, break the code, break the habit, and yes, at times, break the hearts.

Throw off the cloak of convention. Step out of the box of ordinary. Walk away from the pedestrian. Steer clear of the middle-of-the-road. Bury the garden-variety. Remove all things plain-vanilla, milk-toast and bland from your physical and spiritual diet.

And most importantly, don’t live a life that isn’t worth writing home about.

Live a stranger than fiction life Girl Warrior. One you have exclusively authored. A life that no one else but you could possibly conceive much less, write. Live a life that you are so jazzed about, that is so juicy and spicy and ridiculously overflowing with everything good and bad, ugly and pretty, heartbreaking and joyous, messy and meticulous, bitter and sweet, wonderful and scary, unpredictable and unknown, exhausting and exhilarating, breathtaking and beyond.

Living a rich ample life like this necessitates that you go out on a limb; you make big disruptive waves; you take risks; and do things differently. You don’t go with the flow. Or do the logical, the predictable, the rational or sensible.

And above all else Girl Warrior, you walk the high wire without a safety net. And learn to love it.

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 Photographs courtesy of Melissa Adams.

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: It’s Okay to Fail.

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Girl Warrior: It’s okay to fail. In fact, it’s okay to fail repeatedly. Over and over and over. It’s not the end of the world. Not a catastrophe. Nor a disaster. Never just plain bad luck. It can be quite the opposite, depending on your perspective.

Tweak the lens of your defeatist frame of mind and you will have the power to see things in a different light. Not the end, but the beginning. A mere setback, not game over. Adjust the setting on your viewpoint and you will begin to see the doors and windows of opportunity fling open wide. Just for you.

The catastrophe becomes your good fortune. A disaster leads to your unparalleled success. Bad luck turns into your most profound blessing. You get to experience the awesome wonder of Divine Grace. You get to hear the Heavenly Whisperer’s promise that failing does not make you a failure. It makes you beautifully human. It is simply grooming you to fulfill your Girl Warrior destiny.

Try. Try. And try again. With each attempt you are one step closer to achieving all of your hopes and dreams and wishes and everything your passionate heart desires. All that you crave and hunger and yearn for draws closer and closer. Everything is within reach and ultimately achievable if you are determined, tenacious, resolute, persevering, patient, unwavering, and above all else, unshakable. Be like the dog with a bone.

And know this Girl Warrior, that when you fail you are never alone. A loving, faithful and supportive tribe, who are your collective safety net, surrounds you. And you will always, always, always have a soft and safe place to land.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Have a Grateful Heart.

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Girl Warrior. Have a grateful heart. Count your blessings. Each and every day. There are so many things to appreciate in your life. Right here and now. Take nothing for granted. Don’t squander your godsend.

Concern yourself with all the things you already have. Not with what’s missing or what you don’t have or wished you had. For if you aren’t grateful for what you already possess then getting more of anything else won’t change your heart or fill your soul. It will never be enough.

Know this Girl Warrior, it is imperative that you are first and foremost grateful for the life you have, the gorgeous gift that it is. Look around at the people who surround you and give thanks for their presence. See the heavenly divineness in all things. Big and small. It’s all so precious.

See your cup half full. Always. Express your thanks at every turn. Seek opportunities to acknowledge the lavishness of your life. Just as it is in this precise moment. Look around at the eternal abundance of the universe. And say thank you. Make this your mantra.

Send out Thank You cards to the world Girl Warrior.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Someone’s Blessing Today.

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Girl Warrior. Be someone’s blessing today. A glorious Godsend. Wonderful windfall. Lucky penny. Look for all the ways you can make someone else’s life easier or more meaningful. Lighten their load. Lift their spirits. Ease their burdens. Dry their tears. Make someone’s day.

Listen attentively. And look deep into their eyes. Extend a helping hand. Wrap your arms around the one in need of a hug. Calm the trembling shoulders. Hold the door open. Be of service. Give someone a leg up. Or save their bacon. Do favors and expect nothing in return.

Be someone who can be counted on, trusted, relied upon, and the wind beneath the wings. Most importantly, just be there when needed.

This is the perfect paradox. Bless and be blessed.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Create the Soundtrack of Your Life.

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Girl Warrior. Create the soundtrack for your life. You’ve got the music in you. Let it out. Wherever. Whenever. Don’t be shy about this. Or embarrassed. Don’t listen to your inner judge. The one that says you’re tone deaf. Can’t carry a tune. Or have no talent. For it’s not about that. It’s about joy and wild abandon. Glee and harmony in hard places.

It’s one of the best things you can do for your body, mind and spirit. So get musical. From your bobbing head to your tapping toes. Put a song in your heart. Let it rest easy in your soul. And flow through your veins like Tupelo Honey.

Pick up an instrument. Shake a tambourine. Beat a bongo drum. Stomp your feet. Snap your fingers. Clap your hands. Play the air guitar. Sing in the shower. Or while driving the truck. Join a choir. Or form a girls’ band. You don’t have to be a virtuoso musician. You don’t even have to be any good. In fact, you can be terrifically terrible. There are far worse things Girl Warrior.

Like dying with the music still locked inside you.

Rhonda Broadfoot Girl Warrior Feature Musician 2

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