10 Questions with singer Emily Afton


Emily Afton’s voice is transporting, a short bio for her proclaims. Deep and smoky, Emily delivers her emotive and honest songs from a place that feels lodged in the past, rooted in a dreamy era of nostalgia. An Encinitas native but now Oakland based, Emily’s music is indie-pop meets an after-hours quest for mischief, with ribbons of R&B-electronica interwoven.

Breaking from her folk-pop start as Emily Moldy, Afton’s band plays vocal-driven narratives in the style of Fiona Apple, followed by dark synths, and uptempo dance tracks that get crowds dancing. Emily spent 2014 writing and recording her first full-length album alongside acclaimed Bay Area producers David Earl and Lila Rose whose musical garnishes add cinematic depth to the once “sweet singer-songwriter music.” Having just toured the South with Third Eye Blind, Afton is now looking towards the release of her new album, an episodic LP which laces together her five-year conversation with the ghosts of life, love and death and is set to be released in 2016.

Question 1: What brought you to Encinitas?

I grew up in Encinitas. My parents moved here from Georgia before I was born. I live in the Bay Area now but I visit so frequently that Encinitas also feels like my home.

Question 2: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

I would love to see more spaces for young people to exist and be creative. The closing of E-Street Cafe was a sad moment for Encinitas because that was a space for people (young and old) to perform on a stage, express themselves, and just be weird together. That was the first stage I think I ever performed on so I was personally really sad to see it go. I also wish there were cultural centers in downtown Encinitas so people from different backgrounds (like the Latino community, LGBTQ folks, etc.) could have more visibility and a place to be celebrated in our larger community. I think that would add so much to this beautiful city!

Question 3: Who or what inspires you? (See answer to number 4)!

All of those people inspire me. I guess I am in sort of a “art bubble vortex” right now... as music is the main thing I’m doing. But in a broader sense, I really am inspired by anyone who puts their mind to something and works really hard at it. I find focus and drive to be super attractive and inspiring.

Question 4: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

This is such a hard question... Kembra Pfahler, Oscar Wilde, Frank Ocean, Tina Fey, Frida Kahlo, CocoRosie (that’s two people), and Amy Goodman! We could drink wine, do poetry readings, talk about how to change the world, and do performances all night! What a dream!

Question 5: What are some of your favorite movies?

I Heart Huckabees, The Princess Bride, and Newsies!

Question 6: What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do, and what’s the most rewarding?

I think staying organized and inspired at the same time is the most challenging thing for me as a musician. The most rewarding thing for me is when someone reaches out to me (especially someone who I have never met) and tells me that my music has touched them, or inspired them. A music career can feel like a very vain pursuit at times, but when I hear that my music has impacted someone and made them feel something, then it reminds me to stick at it. That is a very rewarding feeling.

Question 7: What do you do for fun?

I just discovered that I love roller skating! Someone in Encinitas should make a roller disco downtown! That would be amazing.. Add that to the list!

Question 8: What is it that you most dislike?

When Donald Trump talks. Eh em.. Or in more PC terms... When people spread ignorance, fear and hatred to others.

Question 9: What do you hope to accomplish next?

I really want to do a West Coast tour, performing my news songs from the album that we just finished, and spreading my music to as many people as possible! We just got back from doing a touring the South, which was such a cool experience. But I am really excited to bring my music to the place where I am from and where I identity with and love so strongly: California and the West Coast.

I also want to take a pottery class and join a gym at some point... Goals.

Question 10: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I will say that my life philosophy can be summed up by Koko, the talking gorilla. One could argue that she is smarter than most humans in her perspective about the state of the Earth and the human species. If you haven’t watched videos of her communicating with humans yet, go do it now because she is precious!

10 Questions is an Encinitas Advocate feature spotlighting interesting people in the community.