Teen releases debut album

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 10, 2015

 Islands, 13, just finished recording her debut album, “Echo.” The 10-track CD of folk and indie songs will be available in stores June 19.

Islands, 13, just finished recording her debut album, “Echo.” The 10-track CD of folk and indie songs will be available in stores June 19.

Photo by Donna Agusti


MOUNT CLEMENS — Emma Islands is about to take the music world by storm. And she’s well-prepared to keep her fans happy with an arsenal of self-written and composed songs for future albums.

A resident of Mount Clemens and a seventh-grader at Richards Middle School in Fraser Public Schools, Islands, her stage name, has just released her debut album, “Echo.”

“It’s folk and a bit of indie,” said Islands, 13. “That’s the type of music I like to listen to.”

And so do many others.

Despite her young age, Islands is far from new to the music scene. She knows what music lovers enjoy listening to and just how to make the heartfelt songs she creates sound to her liking, thanks to the guidance she has received while working alongside some well-known local and national musicians.

On “Echo,” Islands recorded with Jay Gonzalez from Drive-By Truckers, John Nash from both Electric Six and Witches, George Friend from both Laura Rain and the Caesars and the Twistin’ Tarantulas, Todd Glass from The Muggs, Alex Lyon from Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, and Motor City Josh Ford.

She has also performed live on WDIV Channel 4 news with Lauren Podell, at the Michigan State Fair, at St. Andrews Hall and at the Detroit Grand Prix, in addition to smaller local venues.

Islands is also involved in Relay for Life, performing the national anthem for participants and for spectators at the Clinton Township Gratiot Cruise for the past three years.

“I just always liked singing,” said Islands, who first started playing guitar three years ago. “When I was little, I sang a lot in the car. And then I found out about a production of ‘Annie’ at Clintondale Schools. The first year I tried out, I got the role of July, and the second time I got the role of Annie. But I don’t act anymore.”

She doesn’t call any notable performers an inspiration in wanting to get into the music business, though she did say her dad, Chris, has been a big influence.

“Emma always sang around the house,” Chris said. “She wrote her first song at 5. Almost every word was spelled wrong, but it was cute.

“I noticed she had the potential to be a talented singer around the age of 7. I could not be more proud of what she is doing. For Emma to have written all these lyrics, melodies, harmonies and chord structures before she turned 13 is an amazing accomplishment. I plan on doing whatever I can to support and encourage her to chase her dreams.”

Her mom is Robin, and Islands has a 3-year-old sister named Violet.

Islands, a member of the National Junior Honor Society at Richards, has been attending Interlochen Center for the Arts each summer for the past three years and will be returning in just a few weeks. She said her goal is to attend high school at Interlochen in their singer/songwriter major program.

And are her friends impressed by what she’s accomplishing?

“Some of them think it’s really cool,” said Islands, who names The Magnetic Fields and Eels as two of her favorite bands.

The 10-track “Echo” by Emma Islands became available June 8 on iTunes, CD Baby and Spotify. CDs will be available for purchase June 19, the same day as a release party scheduled at 7:30 p.m. at The Dovetail in Warren.

“I have written about 35 songs, so yes, I do plan on releasing more albums in the future,” she said. “It’s a lot of work and it can be stressful. This one took about a year to finish. It’s both fun and stressful.”

Emma Islands can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmmaIslands. She can be contacted by email at emmamusic2002@gmail.com.