Emanuel is a student and creator of R&B that makes the listener shudder with passion, delight, or pain – sometimes all three – but his chief concern is getting the listener to experience the same curative transcendence that the music’s creation provided to him. This is the crux of Alt Therapy, the title of Emanuel’s debut album and his artistic manifesto; “The idea of healing in my music is the most important thing,” he says.
Emanuel learned how to sing with no formal training at age nine, huddled next to his family’s computer with YouTube and his sister as guides. Boyz II Men, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, and Bob Marley were the foundation; projects like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly made him want to make music that can live through us long after the song ends.
Emanuel’s musical journey is inexorably tied to his upbringing. “Black Woman”, the lead single from Emanuel’s second EP Session 2: Transformation, is a love letter to the Black women in his own life and around the world. “I was singing about my mom when I was writing it,” Emanuel says, “and it branched off into me thinking about a more unified view of how Black women have affected history and the communities around me.”