At the annual Lacombe’s Got Talent competition held Sept. 27 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, 21-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist Emily Oud walked away with the first prize of $500 and blew the minds of audience members with a performance of her original song Carried Away.
Oud said her participating in the contest was a last minute decision. Having been away from Lacombe for two years while going to school in Rochester, New York. When she returned to Lacombe, Oud saw some posters for the event that caught her attention. She said that she hadn’t performed in a while and decided to enter the contest.
“I love performing,” said Oud. “I missed it.”
Interested in music from an early age, Oud said her parents, who played guitar and sang in church, sparked her interest in music. She has been writing songs since the age of eight and got her first guitar at age 11.
Especially for those who heard her performance on the Lacombe’s Got Talent stage, it may be surprising to learn that Oud has no formal music training. She said she taught herself to play by ear, mimicking sounds heard in other songs and music. She then began putting those sounds together and making up her own songs.
Also interesting is that Oud considers her involvement with music purely a hobby at this point, albeit one she is very passionate about. She even decided against pursuing a musical education and opted instead to study photography and graphic design.
“I was drawn to many different aspects of creativity.” She added that she sees both photography and music as outlets for her creativity and part of the reason she enjoys both of them so much.
Much of the creative aspect in Oud’s music is explored through her songwriting process. She said in order to write a song, she needs to be inspired by something, unlike other musicians she knows.
“I know some people who can just whip out songs. But for me something will happen that either my friends gone through, or I’ve heard that someone has gone through or my own personal experience and I don’t know, it just comes I guess. I sit down with my guitar usually and then write down words.”
Carried Away, the song Oud performed at Lacombe’s Got Talent, was inspired by her own experience from this past summer. She said it was about embracing every moment and cherishing the little things.
As a self-taught musician, Oud does not read music. When she writes songs, she only writes down the lyrics. While performing, the words remind her which chords to play at which times, meaning half of her song-writing process never leaves her own head.
Sharing her songs is what Oud enjoys about performing. She added she actually prefers performing to larger crowds as it makes it possible for her to share without having to focus on any one person.
That doesn’t mean that Oud never has to overcome a bit of stage fright though. She said that it is normal for her to get butterflies before performing, but her anxieties usually disappear once she takes the stage.
“My hands (will be) shaking, all of that,” said Oud. “But as soon as I step on stage, I’m almost in my own world.”
While music is only a hobby to Oud at this point, she said she would like to go further with it at some point in the future. She has been in contact previously with record labels but the timing was never right for her to start a career in music.
Instead, Oud said she is happy to test the waters of the music industry at least for now. She said that maybe it will lead to something bigger down the road and maybe not.