The world was mesmerized a few weeks ago with Emilie & Ogden’s cover of Taylor Swift’s “Style.” We wanted to find out more about Emilie Khan, the harpist behind the music. Here’s what she had to say…
So, overnight you have become an internet sensation. Tell us about that:
I did a cover of a Taylor Swift song that got a bit of buzz online —Taylor herself retweeted it, which was really exciting! It was a fun and weird experience to get so much attention out of nowhere. Things have gone back to normal since then, but I hopefully reached some new fans in the process.
What were you up to before you got “discovered” online?
I’ve been writing songs, recording my first album and doing a bit of touring!
Tell us about Ogden.
Ogden (which is simply the make by Lyon & Healy) is my one and only harp. I wanted a stage name and decided the project essentially came down to me and the harp, so I went with that.
Can you give us some info on your harp background? When did you start, who did you study with, etc….
I became curious when I saw a harp playing with my school choir about five years ago. I found a teacher on Craigslist, went for a lesson the next day and fell in love with the instrument. From then on I took classical lessons on and off for about three years with a harpist named Stacey Loewan here in Montreal.
You describe your style as “an encounter between a young singer and her harp.” Would you call yourself a singer first or a harpist first?
I would say I’m a singer first. Singing has always felt like the most effective way for me to express myself. I had been writing songs long before I started playing the harp, but was always searching for the right instrument to accompany myself and the harp ended up being that missing piece.
Who are your musical role models?
I’m a huge Joanna Newsom fan and I definitely look up to her. Her music showed me that the harp could be used in a folk singer-songwriter context and inspired me to explore playing the instrument in non- traditional ways. I also grew up listening to a lot of female indie singers like Feist, Emily Haines and St-Vincent, which I think influenced me a lot.
Some random questions: What’s your favorite city, favorite food, favorite band?
I haven’t traveled a whole lot yet, so I’d have to say for now my favourite city is Montreal. It’s my home.
I love fruit in general, but mostly yellow mangos —my tour manager always sneaks them backstage for me. I don’t really have a favourite band, but this past year I’ve actually been listening to Taylor Swift’s album a lot. And a lot of Drake.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully working on a third album and maybe headlining my own tour. I’d also like to own a pedal harp by then.
You have an album coming out. Tell us about that:
This is my first album. It’s called “10,000” and it’s a collection of songs I’ve written over the past three years. The music is driven by my voice and the harp of course, but I also play with a band who add a more contemporary element. It sounds like many things and nothing else at the same time. I’m currently working on a very special launch show which will take place at Gesù church in Montreal on October the 2nd. We will have special arrangements for my songs, special scenography/lighting, and some really awesome guests. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m also preparing for the launch tour, as it will take me in around Canada of course, Europe, US but also in Iceland !