Her name may not sound familiar, but it’s likely you know Emilie Mover’s songs from the occasional TV series (Grey’s Anatomy, Ghost Whisperer, Ugly Betty) and even the commercials in between (BlackBerry, Bounce, Sears and a couple of Telus spots). Born in Montreal, raised in Toronto and a one-time resident of New York, she’s a big city girl with a surprisingly simple acoustic sound. And with a musician dad who routinely performed with jazz legends like Chet Baker and numerous childhood evenings spent backstage, Emilie’s musical career is an obviously heartfelt and natural one.
Tell me about your relationship with music growing up.
Music’s the family business. My dad [Bob Mover] is a sax player and when I was a kid he’d bring me to his gigs. He played a lot at the Rex Hotel in Toronto, but he brought me with him to Europe a few times, too. He’d let me stay up and hang out with his friends while they played music or talked about life, or whatever musicians do until sunrise. When I finally got tired, many a club owner would set me up in a little corner with a couch and a blanket, and I’d drift off into dreamland while the music played around me.
Did your dad encourage you to pursue music?
He encouraged me to listen carefully to every song; taught me a million lyrics and would walk down the street singing them with me until I had all the notes just perfect. We talked a lot about music. He was interested in what songs and sounds I instinctively liked or disliked. He lives and breathes it, so having it around all of the time was just a lucky perk of being his daughter.
What is your songwriting process like?
Mysterious and unpredictable. I’ve had a journal I write in almost every day since I can remember… and there’s nothing better than a walk around the neighborhood to conjure a good melody. I think it’s important to set a good amount of time aside to practice your instrument so that when inspiration comes you’re well-oiled enough to just let it happen. You have to go with your instinct and let it take you…trying too hard or paying too much attention to how people might perceive you…well, there’s a good chance you’ll screw it up.
What songs have you covered and what makes you decide to select them?
P.O.V. Waltz by Harry Nilsson and Chove Chuva by Jorge Ben are a couple. I love singing Paul Simon’s Run That Body Down and there’s a Willie Nelson song called I’ve Just Destroyed the World that is just so beautiful. Lately though, my favourite song to cover is You and I by Stevie Wonder. It’s funny – with some songs, you love ’em to death but then when you actually try to sing them it just doesn’t work. And then some do. I try to only cover the ones that do.
Your music isn’t exactly ‘commercial’, so are you surprised when you hear them on commercials?
Yes! I don’t have a television so I can sometimes forget how neat it is, but I think it’s great that people actually take the time to look up a song they’ve heard for 30 seconds. It’s an interesting way to get the music out there and I love how my family and friends recognize my voice. I’ve been really lucky to have the opportunity.
What are you keeping busy with currently?
I’m going to New York to write the next record. I have a friend there who’s originally from Toronto, and we’ve always written songs together. He co-wrote the song Pain and Regret on Seems So Long. We’re going to hunker down and try to write an album’s worth. There’s also a couple projects planned with my dad: I’m going to help him write his memoirs, and we’re planning to record a Peggy Lee tribute record. She’s one of my favorites – and he knows the right people to play on the record – so that’s pretty exciting.
Emilie’s newest atmospheric and velvety release, Seems So Long, is available now on CDBaby.