There is nothing forced about it. Emily Ann Roberts speaks from the heart and her voice rings with strength and courage. From “The Building” to “Whole Lotta Little” and “Change My Tune, Emily Ann crafts songs like stories we all know, full of heart.
We had a beautiful conversation with The Voice finalist while filming Our Story Our Song, and because we can’t fit it all into one episode, we’re taking you behind the scenes. Catch the full episode at YouTube.com/RootandVine and be sure to subscribe, like and comment for more live music.
What was it like growing up in the mountains of East Tennessee?
I’m so thankful that I was raised where I was in East Tennessee because it truly made me the girl that I am today. And all the incredible views, that alone time that I’ve spent in those mountains, the inspiration that I’ve drawn from them. It shaped me as an artist and as a woman. When I sing songs, like change my tune, when I say it’s in my blood, and it’s in my bones, I mean it, it’s just who I am. I could try to be somebody else but it ain’t going to come across as real. It’s just who I am.
Your song “Whole Lotta Little” has a central theme of gratitude. What do you experience the most gratitude?
I find my gratitude when I look around at the things that money can’t buy. I was blessed to have a sweet family and I’m so thankful for my mom and daddy and my big sister, and then now, I’ve got an incredible husband. That is just the biggest gift from the Lord, those relationships, the love gained from those relationships are things that you can’t put a price tag on.
What is the story behind your song “The Building”? How do you feel when singing it?
I grew up in a little church and my great grandfather was the pastor there. My Nana was a church secretary and it’s where my dad and his brother were raised, where my uncle answered the call to full time ministry. It’s where me and my sister were raised. I have to say, out of all the songs that I’ve written, this one has to mean the most, because no matter where I go, and no matter what I do, no matter what stage the Lord allows me to sing on, at the end of the day, that’s where I’m rooted. That’s where I met the Lord. That’s where I learned that I was loved just as I was that I didn’t have to earn it. Even more than the home that I was raised in, that church raised me up to be the woman that I am today.
Where do you go when you need to find a little peace and quiet?
When I need to feel close to the Lord, and get all the distractions away, I leave my cell phone at home. And I go somewhere all by myself, I go to a quiet spot, either by a creek or by a lake or if I’m in East Tennessee, I like to go and look at the mountains. I just go anywhere where I can hear the birds sing, and feel the wind on my face. And just be still. I think it’s so important for us, no matter what we do for a living or what our lives look like, how busy they get, it’s important for us to take time to step back and to be still. Just to listen.
When you are in a beautiful place like this, you see the diversity and creativity that the Creator provided, what does that show you about your own creativity?
It is absolutely incredible to get out in nature and to see all the beautiful things that are around us. It’s a little overwhelming to know that the God who created all of this, created me, knit me together in my mother’s womb, every single detail about my life. When you see the mountains, when you’re able to see a beautiful creek or a lake or the ocean, it’s overwhelming because it reminds you how vast and big and incredible God is. And it reminds us kind of how little we are. It always brings me back and reminds me that I serve such a creative God and what a blessing to be able to be creative. I know that’s from him. We’re all created in His image and all the things that make us unique, they’re just reflections of our Heavenly Father. How cool to be able to express ourselves through music and through art, through whatever it is that speaks to us. We know that that’s God given and look at how creative he is. It’s just incredible.