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Local musicians talk community, music while preparing for GRPM Planetarium show April 6

Local musician Emma Loo of Emma Loo and Sam talk about their band, community involvement, and their performance on April 6 as the final concert in the series at GRPM Concerts Under the Stars.
Emma Loo and Sam perform at Tip Top Bar

Emma Loo and Sam perform at Tip Top Bar /Ben Baker

Emma Loo and Sam at GRPM Concerts Under the Stars April 6

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Emma Loo and Sam can be found performing and connecting with the community all over Grand Rapids. The band started in 2012. Emma Loo was raised in Lowell and Sam was raised in Chicago. With their unique psychedelic folk sound, the band has taken off in the community as it has intrigued many listeners.

Justin Stover from shares his take on the band. "Emma Loo is an artist of contradictions. Musically, her work fluctuates between the whimsical and the downright weird. But behind it all is a respect for craft and a keen understanding of what makes a song a song. When it comes to performance, her concerts move unpredictably between the controlled and the chaotic. Stylistically, her work balances precariously between the traditional, soulful pop of Diana Ross and the unfettered art-rock of Laurie Anderson."

Their music has brought the community together, creating awesome experiences at many of Grand Rapids’ hot spots, including Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grille, The Intersection, Mulligans, Rocky's Bar & Grille, Flamingo Lounge, and the UICA. They also perform at house shows and play benefit shows. Some of these include assemblies at Lincoln School and for the Grand Rapids Veterans. Emma Loo taught at Girls Rock Grand Rapids as a Band Teacher, and loves connecting with all ages.

At the 2017 WYCE Jammies, Emma Loo was the recipient of a few awards. She shares, “It was an incredible honor to receive Listener's Choice: Best Album of the Year, and Listener's Choice: Best Album by a New Artist. I have been a guest in the WYCE studio for several years now. I always have a really good time! I know and love the people who devote their time to WYCE and get to see them outside of the studio at different venues. We all are a part of each other's lives, if even in the smallest of ways. That's what I love about WYCE; you hear a song from your friends' album, and right after that, a song by your favorite artist. All time favorite!”

Some of Emma Loo’s new original work is what will be played April 6 at the GRPM Planetarium show. She shares what inspires her to write this unique funky music. “What inspires me to write depends on the song. Some of my newest ideas are inspired by a saga of musical communication with a particular person who happens to be living in another dimension. This person has an entangled memory of the music so that we can communicate through it. This is also what I am writing a book about alongside the album.”

John Sinkevics, of, said, "Emma Loo creates unusually striking music, constantly shifting ‘inter-dimensional communication,’ armed with a keyboard, vocal effects and an uncanny knack for writing catchy, quirky, boundary-pushing songs."

The GR music scene and its people is what means the most to the band. Every year feels as though it gets better for them as they connect more. Emma Loo speaks of the depth she feels within the community. “We see the world for how small and close it really is, and even if we all don't agree, we still try to make it a 'family-like' community. I try to reflect the love that I receive and show that I'm thankful for all my friends out here, and hope I spread that love and gratitude.”

The Planetarium has been somewhere the band has wanted to play for many years. “The rehearsals have been beautiful. We are trying to create the perfect sound alongside Nate Eizenga's visual accompaniment to bring the audience something uniquely entertaining. We want the viewers to enjoy the difference in genres and textures while being guided by the transitions we have arranged to bring the songs together. We have been practicing outside of the planetarium, trying to step up our game and really make our set just right for this particular show. I'd like to add that the GRPM employees, especially John Foerch and Emily Hromi, have done a lot of great behind the scenes work to make this happen. It would be impossible without them!”

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