‘Looking past the Pandemic’ with Emi Secrest from Memphis, Tennessee

Keeping travel dreams alive and setting goals has never felt more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been an unfortunate year so far, and almost every facet of daily life has been wrought by this ongoing global pandemic, the start of which now feels like forever ago. The arts has been one of the hardest hit areas, so The AU Review has kickstarted a Q&A series “looking past the pandemic”, encouraging creatives from around the world to share their travel hopes, dreams, and the thoughts or things that are getting them through 2020, while also highlighting essential experiences in their own country.

Emi Secrest (Memphis, Tennessee)

One note of Emi Secrest’s powerful vocals is more than enough to endear you to this outstanding Tennessee-born singer. The warmth of southern soul flows through Secrest’s expressive voice, which has been heard on tour with everyone from Christina Aguilera and John Legend to Macy Gray and Kanye West. In fact, she was most recently heard as part of West’s Sunday Service, which should give you an idea of just how transcendent her style is. But don’t take our word for it; she’s got a new EP titled Yellow, with songs like the urgent “Wake Up”.

We caught up with Emi to look past the pandemic.

When travel opens up completely, the first place I’m going is…

Anywhere overseas lol. Most summers, if not every other summer, I’m overseas. Singing, doing what I love. Australia is my favourite, my fans there are loyal and such a good time. I absolutely cannot wait to get back. 

Beatle St is an icon of Memphis

Three spots in Memphis I think everyone should visit at least once in their life are…

Beale St
Stax Museum
Lorraine Motel – The National Civil Rights Museum

Overton Square is one of the best spots in Memphis

Whenever I have a visitor in my city and I want to show them a good night out, the first place I take them is…

L.O.V.E, it’s such a vibe and is Black Owned. Overton Square is also a vibe, it’s nice and diverse. There’s something for everyone.
We’d end the night at…

Waffle House! It’s always open, and comes in handy after drinks and is open all night!
The most memorable thing I’ve eaten while on the road…

Horse sushi (yuck) I’ve been to Japan 8 times and my very first time going I was super green. My bandmates played a prank on me and recorded the process. It was not funny to me, but hilarious to them. 
The one international venue I’ve always wanted to play…

All of them! I’ve been to 48 countries so far. Only 3 have been me as a solo artist. It’s my goal to go back to every one, this time it will be for me.
The one international destination I’m yet to visit but have always dreamed of

Jamaica! I love the food, culture, and music.
The three things or thoughts that are getting me through this pandemic…

My drive in concert, I launched the first and longest running Drive in concert here in Los Angeles.

I’ve owned a studio that sits on an old Disney lot for 6 years. This pandemic has forced me to use what I have and make something magical with that. I’ve also learned that focusing on my brand, and
nothing else is what it takes to reach the masses. For the first time my EP “Yellow“ peaked at
number three on the R&B iTunes Charts. If I hadn’t used this time to focus and execute, this
expansion of my brand wouldn’t have happened.

For more on Emi Secrest head to her Facebook here. And for more information about the spots in Memphis she mentions head on over to memphistravel.com.

Image: emisecrest.com.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.