When Emmy Lawalin, who goes by the stage name Emmy Law, performs, she prefers an intimate space where she can connect with her listeners up close.
Through her soft melodic voice and indie-pop sound, the Gainesville native is gradually making a name for herself. For four years she dove into Atlanta’s music scene, playing at the city’s top venues, like Eddie’s Attic, Red Clay Music Foundry and the Music Room at Smith’s Olde Bar. Law, a University of North Georgia grad, recently moved to Nashville where she recorded her second extended play record, “Bitter Heart.”
“I feel this call,” Law said. “I just love it (music) so much. I can see how my songs have gotten better, and it excites me for where they’re going.”
Law remembers playing at her first gig when she was in her early 20s at the old Monkey Barrel in Gainesville. Before it closed down in 2016, the restaurant and bar offered a prime spot for rising musicians.
“It has been such a journey,” she said. “I remember being shy and new, not understanding sound equipment. I’m so much more confident now.”
Since then, she has played in a variety of notable venues across the Southeast, including Isis Music Hall in Asheville, North Carolina, the Crimson Moon in Dahlonega and the Evening Muse in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she opened for national touring band The Arcadian Wild.
In 2014, Law won the John Jarrard Foundation songwriting contest, which was judged in part by members of the Zac Brown Band.
Law said she discovered her passion for music at 8 years old when she took her first piano lessons. Her zest for the art form progressed in elementary and middle school as she sang in her schools’ choirs. She later attended both Georgia College & State University and UNG on a track scholarship, pursuing a degree in music education.
“I knew I wanted to study music, and that I’m naturally drawn to it,” she said. “It wasn’t until the end of college that I thought it would be cool to explore songwriting.”
To pay the bills while she creates her own music, Law said she teaches piano, voice, guitar and ukulele lessons. On the side, she streams her music on Twitch.
“I have a Twitch family that comes and supports me,” she said. “I’ve been streaming on Twitch during COVID, and it’s been a nice side-hustle for me.”
Five years from now, Law said her goal is to make most of her income from her songs.
“I would love to find my niche of listeners,” she said. “I’m not trying to be Taylor Swift. I want to find people that like my type of voice and my style.”
Although her new four-track EP is called “Bitter Heart,” Law assures listeners that it embraces a positive theme. She wrote all the songs on the record last summer and released them in May. The EP is produced by Mat Poole, who is based in Nashville.
Law explained that unlike her first EP, this one includes lyrics that draw entirely from her personal experiences. She said if listeners take anything away from these four songs, she wants them to feel a sense of hope.
“It’s about letting the past go,” Law said. “‘Bitter Heart’ is it’s easy sometimes to feel bitter about things, but there’s hope, it doesn’t have to stay that way.”
If Law could give advice to people wanting to pursue a career in music, she would tell them to “be fiercely yourself and authentic.”
“Allow yourself to be drawn to the kind of music you’re drawn to,” she said. “Make it as authentically you as possible. Music doesn’t know an age, no matter what age you are, don’t let that deter you.”