Musician and multidisciplinary visual artist, Emily Ritz lives a life immersed in creativity. Emily makes tender, exploratory work which draws as much on the harmonious swells and hollows of the natural world, as on personal experience and internal work around self-acceptance and self-love. In a world which prizes singularity and solitude, Emily’s generous, grateful, collaborative work is a refreshing alternative.
A touring musician for over a decade, Emily began her musical career in California, forming bands Yesway and Honeycomb, and sharing stages across the country and Europe with artists including Deradoorian, Laura Veirs, Toro Y Moi and Mirah. After self releasing her first solo record Pattern Recess in 2018, Emily did a two month tour across the US and back and then a tour of Spain and France with Chris Garneau.
Pattern Recess is guided by Ritz’s strong, soulful voice and experimental sensibility. While classic elements of jazz and R&B can be heard, Ritz's sound is enticingly off-kilter due to her subtly unusual melodic choices and inventive use of electronic manipulation. She uses her voice to weave complex harmonies and avant-garde patterns while delivering poignant and romantic lyrics. Confident and idiosyncratic, Ritz calls forth other bold female artists such as Jenny Hval, Amy Winehouse, Circuit Des Yeux, Solange, and early Grimes.
The production on Pattern Recess is varied and fresh. Underneath Ritz’s powerful vocals, her reverb-drenched guitar picking ripples like waves on a pool. Amidst the dreamy fluidity, are moments of charmingly inventive percussion and unexpected instrumentation. Odd time signatures and satisfying syncopation deftly brandish excitement and the occasional sci-fi sound effect adds a playfully cosmic tone. While her intimate songwriting and delicate fingerpicking are akin to the contemporary folk of Jessica Pratt and Angel Olsen, electronic neo-soul twinges call forth the seductive trip-hop of James Blake.
Ritz struggles with Lyme-related arthritis, which at times has left her totally disabled. If you listen closely to her songs, you can hear her experience of feeling trapped in her body, while trying to hold on to the hope for a return to health. The darkness and devastation that comes from loss of mobility is certainly felt, yet the overwhelming sensation given off by these songs is one of healing. It’s rare to find an artist through whom the bliss of creation flows so freely.
Emily just completed her sophomore album In Love Alone to be released in 2020. The new record explores the fundamental duality of existence, playing loneliness against catharsis, longing against healing, and solitude against love itself. Arranged and produced in Inverness and Oakland, CA by Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple this is a record of roomy, expansive neo-soul with a psychedelic pop twist.
For more information about her music video with Camila Falquez check out http://takeitbackproject.com/