Differences Magazine

Interview with Singer/Songwriter/Musician: Emily Rupp

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Emily Rupp is just like you, just like me, and completely unlike anyone else! I first met her at the Unite for Girls Rally last September and was immediately awed by her talent, intelligence and how "normal" she seemed! Being a shy girl, I could never imagine getting up on stage in front of a large group of people and performing pieces that spoke my truth, pieces that revealed my inner most thoughts, fears and ideas.

I watched Emily do exactly this, playing a girl- just like you or just like me- in a performance by Project Girl Performance Collective. She spoke and sang from her heart and everyone in the audience believed in her words and emotions. She was captivating.

Emily began performing when she was a sophomore in high school in Lake Orion, Michigan after friends encouraged her to go to an open mic night. She was "bit by the performance bug" and hasn't stopped since! She and her family formed a band and enjoyed playing at local festivals but she wanted more. She made her way to NYC to pursue an acting career and attend the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, School for Film and Television. A couple of years later she stumbled upon an audition for a performance called GirlPower: Survival of the Fittest. She was required to write her own piece for the audition which terrified her. She had never had an audition which required that. She wrote a heartfelt piece and was cast! This success of this performance led to the group deciding to develop a non-profit organization performing and workshopping year-round called Project Girl Performance Collective. Within PGPC, Emily is a company member, a published writer, a mentor, and a director. She has performed at the Chicago State Theatre, The United Nations, Ms. Magazine, and even the White House! Emily strives to be an advocate for women's empowerment through her acting, spoken words, and music. Last year she directed and performed in a National Tour with the United Nations Foundation's campaign, Girl Up, which aims to empower young people and show them how to help girls and young women in developing countries around the world.

An established singer/songwriter/musician who plays the flute, piccolo, acoustic guitar, and ukelele, her music has been heard on international news networks, UK radio stations, online broadcasts, and on the streets of New York. Last Fall, Emily entered her first singer/songwriter contest with Recording Artists Development, Inc. and was awarded with the Grand Prize, resulting in a mixed and mastered track now available on iTunes! Currently she is in the studio writing and recording songs for her debut EP to be released this year. She is also performing a lot in the tri-state area, developing her web page, and auditioning for film and television projects! Emily is following her dream. She said, "The world is an exciting place and exciting things are happening all around us; we just have to observe and absorb its happenings. For now, I'm going to enjoy today and do what I love to do... be myself." Recently I asked Emily a few questions so we could all get to know this rising star a little better. Here is my interview with SHEro Emily Rupp.

What did you write your first song about?

The first song I ever wrote is called "Hold My Hand". It's an inspirational song about feeling lost in the world but being guided by a higher force. Holding the hand of something and being able to trust that force so that you'll be safe and confident enough to deal with whatever each new day brings you.

Who inspires you?

First and foremost, my parents. I am extremely lucky to have supportive parents who not only raised me well, but who continue to provide me with the advice and confidence I need to take on difficult decisions as I grow up. I'm inspired by nature, too. I'm very curious and I like to explore and see different things and experience different things.

In the celebrity spotlight, I really look up to Kelly Clarkson for inspiration. Kelly is someone I look up to as a musical icon. She is the type of artist I strive to be; she is true to herself and has music that really makes you feel something. She has never given in to the hype of the press or media or negativity that can ail an artist.

Tell me about your favorite performance piece.

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My favorite piece so far is the PGPC performance of "It's Been Arranged". It's about child marriage in developing countries. This piece was something I directed, wrote for, and performed in, as well as arranging the script and leading workshops for the writing of it. The piece was created for the Unite for Girls Tour. The cast members were so eager to learn and to explore the issue of child marriage, and eager to find a way to help those affected. The workshop exercises we'd do and the research we'd share with each other was astounding. Directing and script editing was fairly new to me and I took on the task with pride and confidence under the guidance of the PGPC executive director and artistic director. Taking a pile of poems, songs, monologues, and scenes and putting them together is like a giant word puzzle. After that's complete, to watch it be put up on its feet in rehearsals (which sometimes were late at night in my Brooklyn apartment or in the middle of Manhattan in Bryant Park on my lunch breaks) was really great. We are a true collective and create performances as a team.

What fears do you have and how do you handle them?

I fear the feeling of inadequacy. This can be a very frequent feeling, especially in the entertainment industry; waiting for an audition, not getting a part, hearing about close friends successes, watching the singer on stage before you etc. I deal with trying to not feel that way by reminding myself that only I can do what I do, the way that I do it, and the best that I can do it. Each person is very different and it's important to accept and embrace that other people do things differently than I do, and to do what I am comfortable with no matter what. A great quote from Ken Venturi about conquering the fear of inadequacy is, "I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be."

Also, I'm afraid of the dark so I always have a night light and I'm afraid of prunes because I had a recurring nightmare when I was younger that I ate some and all my teeth fell out! I handle that by walking very fast past them at the grocery store.

Where does your confidence come from?

You know, I've never really thought of where my confidence comes from. I know it comes from the proper upbringing within my family, and it's their guidance that has helped me to be confident on my own.

It comes to me so naturally and I think it's because I'm very in touch with my emotions. I've felt nearly every emotion imaginable and can pinpoint a time when I felt it. Having that sort of range of life experience allows me to know not only how I will react, but how to react in any situation. I strive to be very grounded, patient and calm, to accept that there are things beyond my control. The only thing I can be confident about is myself. Sure you can be confident about decisions or about others, but that confidence is you, it's coming from you. I can strive to be in control of myself, of my actions. I cannot control other people's actions or their emotions, nor will I ever try to. I think a main factor of confidence is the whole "action/reaction" strategy. You must always be confident in your reaction realm of thinking. If and when you mess up, react with proper, positive confidence towards others and you can accept your wrongs and learn from them to become a better human being.

I should also mention that I'm not always confident. I make mistakes, I experience fear, I struggle with my inner monologue, too. But confidence comes from within, and I'm pretty happy with what I've got inside. Confidence is defined as "full trust", and I fully trust myself to be the woman I want to be.

Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite music artist is Kelly Clarkson for her confidence and her honesty through her art. From the acting world, Meryl Streep is phenomenal. Not only is she an extremely talented film actor but she is the epitome of what a person at her level should be: someone using their talent and power for good to better the world. In interviews, she is nonchalant and truthful; admitting to funny behind the scenes stories, vulnerable moments in her life, even donating her entire salary for the film "The Iron Lady" (based on the life of Margaret Thatcher) to the building of The National Women's History Museum.

I like to bake cupcakes too! My specialty is tie-dyed cupcakes. What's yours?

Awesome! I LOVE cupcakes. They are positively my personality, in an edible form. I think my all-time favorite creation is a spiced pumpkin cake with a nutmeg infused marshmallow cream cheese frosting dusted in crushed graham crackers. I love autumn and the comforting taste of pumpkin. Brings back memories of childhood trips to the pumpkin patches in Michigan.

You're changing the world with your voice. What is the most important message you want the world to hear?

The message I'm truly striving to convey is awareness. Not awareness of a certain topic, or a certain issue, but of society. Everyone gets caught up in themselves and in different things from time to time, which is okay, but I think it's important to have patience, curiosity, self motivation and confidence. We should ask questions and educate ourselves, especially know that you don't learn everything inside of a classroom. Humans need to be more aware of themselves and of others. We can all benefit by communicating out loud, in person, with human contact, it will raise awareness to others and yourself – I think when you say something out loud, it sometimes 'clicks' inside of you and you can discover something you hadn't before. I love social media and the way that technology has really evolved and propelled awareness. However, I think that natural communication, using your own voice, is the most moving and captivating experience; for the ones who are talking and for the ones who are listening. Be aware of your senses, your emotions, your nerves... knowing yourself better will allow you to absorb more of others.

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I so appreciate you saying you think of me as a good role model for girls and boys! In PGPC we've talked about stereotypical names like feminist, hero, history and in discussion have brought up humanist – because we're advocating for men and for women, women just happen to be the ones struggling and affected more from events; SHEro – this is one that some of the girls say when we congratulate one another; and HERstory – I love this term, the feminine side of words is gonna be a new thing, I'm tellin ya! I love people, men and women, and I love that each person is different. My hopes are that we can be treated equally while still keeping our personal individuality.

Emily, you are definitely a SHEro!

Comments  

0 Kelly Himsl Arthur 2012-04-02 11:24 #
Very impressive voices! Emily Rupp is inspiring. I hope more girls have the opportunity to hear her and, in the process, discover their voices.
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0 Emily Rupp 2012-04-04 15:44 #
Thanks so much, Kelly! I know that I'll have plenty of opportunities to spread my voice and inspire and empower men and women of all ages, even if I create the opportunies myself!

www.about.me/EmilyRupp
www.facebook.com/EmilyARupp
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0 Jessica Morris 2012-04-05 13:41 #
Emily you rock our world! Couldn't be prouder. Lots of love for all of us at Project Girl Performance Collective. xox jess
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