Charese Fruge’ Talks To Emmy Meli

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on January 11, 2022 

2022 is definitely her year. In fact, 22 is definitely Emmy Meli’s number for many things. The artist from Long Beach, CA is 22 years old and was discovered when she released a video of her single “I Am Woman,” on TikTok last year, one that now has over 22 million views on it. Ironically, she also has a tattoo on her inner wrist of “222,” and she will be releasing her album this year (2022), a number she feels aligns with her tattoo (222).

The daughter of two artists, Emmy started writing music at the age of nine. “As a young girl I started taking it seriously in high school,” she says. “I went to music school for college and during the pandemic I decided to leave and start releasing music independently. I worked two jobs and grinded for years until I posted ‘I Am Woman’ on TikTok and that changed my life forever,” she explains. “I am grateful to have the platform that I have gained because now I can show the world what I can do and continue to inspire people daily. Music itself saved my life. Anytime that I was going through anything, I had music. Even when I felt I had nobody, I had my favorite songs and I wanted to do the same for other people.”

After the release of “I Am Woman” on TikTok, Emmy quickly went from working at a coffee shop and serving drinks on a golf course to watching her monthly listeners/followers increase “a million times over.” A-listers selected “I Am Woman” as soundtracks for their visual content, and a support group for Trans women told the Long Beach-native her song had become their anthem.

Her idols growing up were Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, and you can hear it in the song “I Am Woman.” The music, her unique and sexy voice, with deep soul and catchy riffs will immediately hook you. Add to that the powerful lyrics and her confidence which can not only be seen in the video but also heard in the audio, and it’s no wonder the song is already an anthem for women all over the world. She hasn’t met any of her idols, but on it’s on her “dream wall” to work with Sza. “She recently added me on Instagram, and I FREAKED out,” says Meli.

Emmy did have her musical idols, and her musical influences growing up were Pop, Motown, and Jazz, but she didn’t have a mentor. “I did everything on my own and I feel like it built character and gave me the opportunity to grow,” she says. “I do see how having a mentor could have been helpful though because I had so many questions and nobody to answer them.”

Although Emmy is somewhat new to the “music business” she’s thrilled with her success so far. “Being on Billboard and sitting on the charts between Adele and Taylor Swift were incredible! But getting to inspire millions of people has been the biggest accomplishment of all so far. It was so beautiful to see so many people resonate with my words.”

According to Emmy, her writing can happen at any given time. “My writing process is kind of all over the place,” she says. “My brain thinks in terms of lyrics. Inspiration strikes whenever it wants. I write multiple songs a day, whether they are good or bad. I always have a notepad or note on my phone that I jot down all of the random lyrics and ideas that pop in my head.”

So far, I haven’t noticed this, because all I see and hear from Emmy is great confidence, but she admits one of her biggest challenges is one we can all relate to. “The one thing I wasn’t prepared for, even though I told myself I wouldn’t care, is the hate,” she says. “But I am working through it and realize that none of that matters. As for all the other challenges in the music industry, they don’t feel like challenges to me because I have wanted and been preparing for this for years.”

A few things you should know about Emmy: “I feel like fans would never accept that I am a huge ‘anime nerd’ and I collect elf dolls,” she says. Also, she just finished binge watching “New Girls” for the fifth time and now she doesn’t know what to do with herself. “The state of the world, my own personal anxieties, and some traumas that I am working through keep me up at night,” she adds. But she does focus on self- care in her spare time. The things that bring her balance: “Meditation, writing, and working out. When I don’t do those things, I feel like I start to lose my mind.”

As I mentioned earlier, 2022 is going to be a big year for Emmy. She is releasing her first album and taking on her first tour. If it’s anything like the intimate settings of her TikTok videos, you’ll experience the hills a few times, and you’ll definitely walk away from her performance feeling like a strong confident woman, no matter what your gender is.