Typically, our Made in the Stateline segment focuses on manufacturing, factories, or plants, and the workers there who make stuff. Today, the stuff is music.
Emily Bear seems just like a typical 15 year-old, playing with her dogs. But, all it takes is a few seconds listening to her on the piano to realize she’s anything, but typical. Emily started playing the piano just a few months after she learned to walk about a year and a half old.
“I don’t remember the exact day where I’m like, ‘I’m going to go play the piano now,” says Bear. “Its always been around and always been a part of my life. I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t writing and playing music.”
Now, she’s about to release her seventh CD, “Into the Blue.”
It’s a collection of six songs, performed with her jazz trio and dedicated to her mentor, Quincy Jones, who discovered Emily when she was seven.
“I used to call him the walking encyclopedia of music.”
The teenager juggles performing all over the world with classroom work at a Rockford District 205 high school.
“Everyone there has been so incredible in working with my schedule and allowing me to travel as much as I do.”
And, Emily really loves to travel.
“It’s really funny, but I really like long flights. I know it’s weird. But, I really like it for some reason. When do you just get 10 hours to just sleep and watch movies?”
If you’re a fan of the Disney Channel, you may have spotted Emily there over the last few months. She partnered with Disney star, Laura Marano, for a segment inspiring young girls called, “Dream Out Loud.” Some of it’s filmed here in Rockford. It helped steer her in a new direction from the jazz and classical music she’s known for.
“I started writing a pop song just to show people I could write a pop song. I completely fell in love with the process as a singer/songwriter.”
When she’s not making music, Emily loves hanging out with friends and participating in watersports. She was also recently scuba certified. But, music is her passion. While her specialty is the piano, Emily has branched out to other instruments.
“I’ve taught myself to play the ukulele a bit. I like that. But, I also sing. I played French horn in 6th grade band. But, I brought it home once and my family said I sounded like a dying duck.”
Emily’s album, “Into the Blue”, will be released Friday. You can get it from Amazon or iTunes.
Emily is also playing a benefit this weekend in Los Angeles for an international charity that provides medical treatment for kids in third world countries.