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Every musician knows the ol’ mantra for releasing new tunes: If you love a song, set it free, if it resonates with the crowd, it’s a hit.
Except sometimes the formula isn’t that simple, which Prateek Poddar found out the hard way with “Emma,” his uber-personal acoustic swan song that left the nest a little sooner than expected. The folk singer rolls out the track live this Thursday, February 1 at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston as his first local gig of the year.
“It’s a deeply personal song, so much so that I initially didn’t want to release it as a single — seeing the way that people responded when I played it live, however, changed my mind,” Poddar says. “A friend of mine said it made her cry. A guy I’d never met before came up to me after a set and said it made him start thinking about one of his past relationships. Taylor Holland (of the amazing band Hawthorn) loved the song, and came in to record those gorgeous, haunting vocals you hear in the chorus. Her dad, who was hanging out in the studio with us, listened to the mix (prior to her singing, I should mention) and said, ‘That’s a great song.’ George Woods, who produced and engineered it, thought I should put it out as the single long before I did. People connected with it.”
Originally meant to be a part of an EP, “Emma” was recorded at The Record Co. last winter, but stood out as the best selection from the bunch of tunes he had worked on in the same sitting. And so, the twangy little tune was uncaged in late 2017 as the unexpected single of the bunch after some convincing.
“[It’s] a pretty personal song about a relationship that went pretty wrong,” Poddar adds. “Initially, it didn’t feel right for it to be the face of a longer release or of my music overall. But, after listening back to the recordings from the first sessions, the other songs weren’t quite where I wanted them to be. ‘Emma’ on the other hand sounded great, so I figured it made sense to finish it up and release it as a stand-alone single rather than not releasing anything.”
Marking the middle ground between Poddar’s debut EP Walking in My Sleep and what’s new to come in 2018, tune in to the stripped-down, honest heartbreak before Thursday’s gig below.
PRATEEK PODDAR + CHRIS DALLA RIVA & THE OUTLIERS + FUNKY GIANT + CAMILA ORTIZ :: Thursday, February 1 at O’Brien’s Pub, 3 Harvard Ave. in Allston, MA :: 8 p.m., 21-plus, $8 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Featured photo by Lawrence Jasper