Premiere: Keep those eyes open for Emma Peridot
Last April I randomly discovered on-the-rise pop singer-songwriter Emily Morrone at a First Friday event in Indianapolis’ Fountain Square neighborhood, and I was so taken with her talent that I felt compelled to include her in my Hoosier Monthly Digest that month. Since the release of “Used to Being Used,” the Indy-based pop artist has undergone a significant evolution in sound, in addition to a recent name change as well. After releasing her debut track “Pulse” under this new moniker to kick off Pride Month a few months ago, Emma Peridot [pronounced PEAR- ɪ -doe] is now back with her second single “Eyes Open.”
While “Pulse” was a more mid-tempo, low-key banger, “Eyes Open” is a fun, light-hearted EDM-leaning track that Peridot calls “an actual banger” and one “you can totally dance to”—something not nearly as easy to do with “Pulse.” Lyrically, the empowering message of “Pulse” serves as an intriguing juxtaposition along with its sad, melancholic vibe, whereas the lyrics seem to contrast less with the music on “Eyes Open.”
Recently, Peridot and I chatted about why she no longer writes music under her birth name, how being a member within the LGBTQ+ community shapes her musical identity, and what to expect next from her. Of course, you know we also had to discuss our shared scene of Indianapolis. Take a listen to “Eyes Open” and then read our entire conversation below.
On the name change, Peridot credits everything she learned making music under her original moniker as the main catalyst in this transition. What prompted the name change was me learning what my sound is and what I want my image to be. Playing those first shows and creating those initial recordings, I was really just cutting my teeth, so taking on the new name to me marks a growth point between the “Emily Morrone” chapter where I was figuring everything out and this new chapter that is just now beginning.
On being openly gay and how that influences her musical identity: I specifically wanted “Pulse” to be my first single under the new name, because that’s such an important part of what I want my brand to be. I really wanted to start this new chapter with that particular song and the music video [that goes along with it]. It’s something that has been an evolution in my music though: in the past I more subtly hinted at everything, but I was making more of an effort to write super general songs that everyone could relate to.
Over time it’s become more important to write songs that, yes, everyone can relate to, but that more importantly stay true to me. And while “Pulse” was specific to the Pulse nightclub shooting, an event that was incredibly traumatic in the gay community, the overall underlying message of the song is to make the most of your life, because you never know how long you have. I still think that’s something everyone can relate to though. [My music] has gone from being more subtle and accessible to everyone to something where being gay is a prominent part of not only who I am but also my brand. I’m hoping it becomes a bigger part of my fanbase.
It’s great to appeal to everyone but at the same time I want my own target audience. When I was young, having role models in the gay community like Ellen DeGeneres and these [other] influential people that you can look at and say have a successful career and a great life was so important to me. Seeing [that lifestyle] normalized and as something that isn’t a big deal and that I can have too was huge for me, so if I can pay it forward and be that person for somebody else, that’s all I could ever ask for.
On what’s next from Emma Peridot: people can expect to hear a few more singles in upcoming months, and then I’m hoping to drop an album early next year. I [just played] Bloomington Pride Festival, and I have a couple of other fall shows lined up that I’ll be announcing the details for soon. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the live show: I’ve been super focused on putting together one that is killer, so if people are vibing with the recordings, they should definitely come to the live show. I’m excited to see where it all goes.
Since Peridot and I are both well-versed in the Indianapolis music scene, I decided to change up my question I normally ask bands and artists I interview, instead focusing on acts Peridot personally feels are best synonymous with the city as a whole. That is, when people think of Indianapolis, what are the first names that should come to mind? You’ll recognize a few familiar names if you’ve been following my coverage for really any period of time, but she also mentions a few folks I haven’t yet had the opportunity of checking out.
On the pop front, THE WLDLFE, obviously, and Dream Chief too. Dream Chief [recently] went on tour with The Band Perry, and they’re crushing it. I would hope to be included in that list with those two as well. Hip-hop-wise, Double A and Diop; I have a lot of friends in that wheelhouse, but those are the two you must hear. So those four for sure, but I’d also include a few others: first off, my producer McKay Alexander has an EDM project that’s doing fairly well. He plays a lot of shows around Mousetrap; I don’t know a lot about the EDM scene here, but I’ve got to give a shout out to my producer. In the rock realm I’m good friends with In the A.M. and Anna Faye. In the A.M. has this sort of metal and ‘90s rock mix, and Faye has this pop-punk duo with her shredding on the guitar and a drummer behind her. Lastly, my friend One Dollar Bill is like alternative meets hip-hop. He was on the last EP I released as Emily Morrone, and he’s super creative, kind of like a Jon Bellion meets Chance The Rapper. The only music of his out right now is a 3-track EP (last year’s The Graduation Plan), but it’s definitely worth a listen. He has a unique creative thing going on, and he’s a really close friend of mine. If I had to pick just two though, I’d definitely go with THE WLDLFE and Dream Chief. I know I’m biased since those are both pop acts, but I don’t feel like there’s much of a scene for pop here. [Around here] it’s really either hip hop or rock or folk / singer-songwriter-y.
That last part I couldn’t have said any better myself. This is why I’m so grateful for the few unique pop acts that we do have in Indianapolis, with Emma Peridot certainly being one of them. Be sure to follow Peridot on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you don’t miss out on anything yet to come from her.