Volume 93, Issue 42
Friday, November 12, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Gryner comes full circle with latest release
By Mark Pytlik
It's a bit of a backwards situation really one that your average pop star should never have to face. Then again, Emm Gryner isn't an average pop star.
Equal parts fireplug, old soul and shrewd marketer, Gryner's music career has taken on an unsteady path of hairpin turns and unexpected drops. In fact, the only constant throughout the whole roller-coaster ride is Gryner's undying love for music.
The story begins innocuously enough. Gryner's first effort, titled Original Leap Year, was released on her own independent label, Dead Daisy records. Although it was a typical small-scale effort, it garnered her enough industry buzz that Mercury Records eventually signed her to a major label deal.
When her ensuing album, Public, was released to critical acclaim, spawning the widely played hit single "Summerlong" in the process, it appeared that Gryner was on the upswing of a promising career.
And that, of course, is roughly when she was unceremoniously dropped from Mercury. The reason? A huge major label merger resulted in some serious corporate reshuffling. The end result was that a handful of artists and industry types were suddenly without a home.
Gryner's reaction to the whole ordeal hints at her maturity. "I didn't take it personally at all," she says. "When I signed I realized that I knew what it was all about. My interest has always been with making music, so whether I'm on a [major] label or not is not the most important thing."
That's not to suggest the mess didn't taint Gryner in any way. She says it was hard to maintain her belief in the record company at times. "You're signed to this label, you go into the office and your posters are up and everyone says they love you, but in fact nobody's really doing anything to help you," she smiles. "It's hard to trust people in that way again."
Granted, it must be a little bit easier now that she's back releasing her music with Dead Daisy. In a way, the recently released Science Fair sees Gryner come full circle. It doesn't take her long to note her experience with Mercury made it a lot easier to appreciate the benefits of label independence. "When you're responsible for your successes and failures, it's much easier to feel good about everything," she coos. "It's a lot of work to do it myself, but that's the only thing that is a challenge really."
In the meantime, she's content to augment her own promotional duties with a few odd jobs here and there. Like, say, touring around the world for a month as one of David Bowie's backup singers. A string of lucky circumstances led to Gryner landing the job and she's obviously still reeling from the experience.
"I'm not always sure that I do it justice when I describe it," she sighs. "It was an amazing learning experience and I'm still realizing things about it after the fact."
Not that she has a lot of spare time to think, of course Gryner is too busy touring in support of Science Fair at the moment. Given that she's taken to playing shows in fans' living rooms in the past, there's no telling how things will end up.
However, one thing is certain to stay the same come hell or high water, Gryner will always find a way to keep putting out her music.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999