Emily Hicks is an up-and-coming Americana singer/songwriter. While she currently lives in Salt Lake City, she has ties to Batesville. Her family are longtime residents of the area and Hicks is a 2012 graduate of Batesville High School. She described her genre, Americana, as “a newer term that's popping up. It's kind of a mix of country, folk, rock, blues – it can be a whole mixing pot,” of genres.

While Hicks was a Taylor Swift fan growing up, saying – “so, I kind of always aspired to like, getting a guitar and writing my own music,” – she didn't take the plunge until high school. She was, at first, more interested in sports:, “I ran cross country and track and I played basketball and all that,” she said – music was more the domain of her older sisters, “they were super into band and all that – I just kind of rebelled against that, since that was their path, I was like, 'I'm not going to do it,’” Hicks explained. “But, something inside me was like, 'no, Emily, you are a musician, you have to do it.' And so, when I had to decide like, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I realized I wanted to do music.” Hicks quit all of her sports, bought a guitar and began singing at first for friends but then for wider audiences.

“I was always so scared to sing – like, I loved to sing and I loved to write music but I was so scared to do it in front of other people. I can't pinpoint – and I wish I could – the exact moment that I sang in front of my friends for the first time. I can't, I have no idea, but I do know that when I would sing they were like, 'wow, you have a really good voice! You should keep singing’,” Hicks recalled. “I remember, I was at – I was really into Young Life when I was in high school,” she recounts her first performance to a wider audience. “And, I was at a Young Life camp at one point and my friend, basically, she like, forced me to go up to the artist,” at a camp performance, “and introduce myself and ask to play some songs. And [the artist] said yeah. So, I played in front of like, 500 campers,” and that was Hicks’ first real performance. “Once I started, I couldn't stop,” she said, “I was just addicted to it – I don't know how to explain it, it was just who I am and the writing came so easily. It was how I expressed myself.”
Fear has been one obstacle Hicks has overcome. “I was afraid that if I admitted this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to write music and sing, that it wouldn't be possible or people would tell me it's not possible. So, I just tried to deny it for so long – and then, once I finally accepted it, I just couldn't deny it anymore. It was who I am and ever since, it's blossomed from there! My fears never came true, it was just something holding me back,” she shared. Hicks went to college and studied classical piano, “that's actually my main [instrument]. I'm a thousand times better at piano than guitar,” she said, “but, guitar is so much easier to carry around!” That background gave her a stronger understanding of music theory and history which “gives me an edge now,” she noted.
After finishing college, Hicks moved to Salt Lake City, where she started teaching music. “And I just was like, 'I can't hide this anymore. I have to do it,' so she found a restaurant that had live music, “and I asked them if I could play and that's how it started. I just kept reaching out to other businesses and bars, restaurants and yeah.” She recently spent two months in Nashville networking after connecting with mentors Anna Wilson and Monty Powell, a country songwriting and producing duo who've created songs for stars like Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and the band, Lady A. “I had a friend who knew [Wilson and Powell] and I asked the friend if she'd introduce me and she did,” Hicks explains how she got to know the duo. “I reached out to them like, 'hey, this is what I want, I want to be like you but I don't know how, no one has ever told me how to do this and I just need guidance.' They were like that first step for me – up until then, I'd been playing cover gigs all around Utah, Salt Lake City, but I didn't know how to take it further to that songwriter/artist career that I now know is possible. I started talking with them, they kind of started mentoring me and listening to my music. They help me produce the songs I have out now and really encouraged me to go spend my summer in Nashville because that's the epicenter, that's Music City, where everyone is trying to do what I want to do. They told me, 'everything you're doing in Utah, all that effort you're putting into networking and getting gigs and all that, if you put that same amount of effort in at Nashville you will get so much more back, because the opportunity is out there.' And they were totally right! I went out for the summer with the goal of networking. That was it, just meet as many people as I could to get my name out there, play at as many songwriter rounds as I could, just really understand the business and the culture because that was all very new to me. It's a whole world, the music industry, and it's very elusive if no one tells you, like, 'oh, this is the process you go through,' or 'oh, this resources is available to you.' But, once I went out there, I accomplished everything I wanted to do!”
What next? Hicks plans to maintain the connections she made in Nashville and hopes to go back there  this fall and next summer, also. She also hopes to build her song collection and release a full album. Currently, though, her big focuses are growing her Instagram following and Spotify streams, both things which record labels “really care about,” according to Hicks. “Like that is the first thing [labels] look at and if you don't have enough, they won't even give you the time of day.” Hicks emphasized she's “really thankful” for all the support she's been getting from the community. Readers who wish to support her music can follow her website or Instagram at the links below: