Check out our interview with talented singer-songwriter Emme Lentino whose latest single “Oceanside” follows the enormous success of “Last Christmas,” the reinterpretation of the classic George Michael song recently featured on MTV and commercial radio world-wide.
“Oceanside” is an impassioned soundtrack to our trying times, a panacea of escapism with a palpable heart and soul and was recorded utilizing Zoom and an assortment of other technological tools, allowing Emme and her team to work virtually during the pandemic.
The new track was co-written with Greg Cortez (The Kooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Kim Deal, George Clinton), produced by Greg Cortez and Dan Antunovich (Jersey Boys, Kitaro), and mastered by Joe Bozzi (U2, Fleetwood Mac, Miley Cyrus).
Follow Emme @emmelentino
Emme Lentino 'Oceanside' Lyric Video
Hi Emme, please tell us a little about you?
I am a New Zealand based Singer/Songwriter, Actress, a Co-host for Heart of Indie Radio & Indie Film Producer and the New Zealand Coordinator of the Golden Nugget International Film Festival. I am actively involved in charity work, teach kids theatre, music and dance and I love to spend time in the beautiful nature of New Zealand
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Kind, Brave, Laugh Queen (I love to laugh and make others laugh as well!)
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
I have always loved music, theatre and performing. I was fortunate enough to be raised by musically encouraging parents. I got my start singing at my local church and began auditioning for musicals when I was 8. Through the years, I ventured into songwriting and performed all over LA, NYC as an indie artist. While in New York, I was in off-Broadway shows, composed music for tv and film and taught kids theatre, music and dance. In 2016, after my husband’s tragic passing due to small-cell lung cancer, I have turned my attention to raising my young girls and using music to help others in their healing. I’ve worked on my musical craft as an avenue for healing from this unimaginable pain. This has brought me into the world of film acting, music-score-writing for film, and producing multiple independent films and most recently a web series.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Inspirational, Upbeat and Melodic
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I believe the inspiration and for starting a career in music has evolved over time. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by music and theatre my whole life. My parents always encouraged my brother and I cannot remember a time I wasn’t singing, acting or performing, because I just loved it so much! I believe there were many influences that led me to choose music. I have always been drawn to strong vocals and as a child I listened to Anne Murray, Mariah Carey, Dolly Parton, Air Supply and Sam Cook. My dad loved country music and we shared the joy of discussing the amazing songwriting and the stories each of these songs shared. Later on in my twenties I was very influenced by the gorgeous vocals and songwriting of Sarah McLachlan, Pink , Norah Jones and Natalie Merchant. As an adult, after going through some very difficult personal tragedies, I have come to know how important music is for the healing of the soul. I choose music for this reason. Songwriting and singing is cathartic for me as an artist. Music brings us all together. I love that. I hope my music uplifts, empowers and reminds folks they are loved.
Do you play any instrument?
I play the acoustic guitar and piano.
Do you ever get nervous?
I do:) A few minutes before an acting audition…. and just before I am about to play live…I get butterflies in my tummy.. It all becomes very real, very quickly. So I make sure to say my fav word.. “YAY” and then breathe deeply. Works every time.
Tell us about your new single “Oceanside?”
I am so excited about this new release!. ‘Oceanside’ was recorded utilizing Zoom and an assortment of other technological tools, enabling my team to work virtually during the pandemic. The new track was co-written with Greg Cortez (The Kooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Kim Deal, George Clinton, and L.A. Guns), produced by Greg Cortez and Dan Antunovich (Jersey Boys, Kitaro), and mastered by Joe Bozzi (U2, Outkast, Fleetwood Mac’s, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Ellie Goulding). It’s been so wonderful hearing from listeners around the globe say how happy this song makes them. That makes my heart so so happy.
What’s the story behind this song?
It was April 2020, we were in lockdown. Songwriting was a good escape and a chance to create a laid back dreamy song about my favorite place to be, the ocean. Co-writing ‘Oceanside’ with colleague, producer and friend Greg Cortez over zoom, was truly a highlight of a difficult year. We loved writing about a time and space when life wasn’t so complicated and easy breezy.
I live by the sea in New Zealand and it’s a big part of my life. Growing up my happy place as a child was by sea. I love how the ebb and flow of the ocean mimic’s life. Life is like the sea… flow of life… Greg and I wanted to celebrate the feeling of nostalgia through relatable lyrics and a catchy melody. It was fun working with our friend, colleague and producer, Dan on this. Seeing the amazing collaboration of such talented producers was so inspiring. I am thrilled with the song. Greg had me send him sounds that make me happy.. so I sent him clips of the ocean, my little girls laughing on the beach. As a surprise he embedded these into the bridge of the song. It is really special to hear this in the music. My girls are thrilled and have told all their friends. Its so cute!
Did you had plans/concerts planned and cancelled because of COVID? If so have you done any online concerts or interaction with your fans?
I had quite a lot of plans to tour and perform in Australia and America and had a musical project in the UK as well. All of this was changed due to COVID. I have started doing small venues in New Zealand as at this moment things are open. I have been a guest for a few Canadian and European live- streaming shows and have been busy performing live for on-air and tv appearances as well. I love interacting with my fans and make sure to do IG stories to connect with them.
Which project is still on your bucket list?
Writing, directing and acting my own original film. All the creative work behind the scenes and in front. An all-encompassing project.
What is fun and rewarding about what you do? And what’s not?
It’s always rewarding to collaborate with others and all work hard towards a common goal. My biggest thrill is connecting with folks from all over the globe with music and film. There have been creative challenges, growing pains… But I see those as blessings and a chance to start afresh.
What’s next for Emme Lentino in 2021?
2021 will bring new music, film and tv projects, a new business venture and more film festival screenings for Golden Nugget International Film Festival. I am also the Executive Producer and actress for ‘Isolation The Series’ (UK, written and created by Steve Leeds) which is in its 2nd season and we are looking into partners and how we can grow the series. I feel positive and truly excited about this year.
What is your favorite song? And why?
‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. from my fav movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ sung by one of the most iconic voices, Judy Garland.
Any loves other than music?
Acting and film, inspiring stories, seeing new places, I love meeting new people and laughing, dancing, nature, yoga, Pilates, cooking and writing scripts ideas
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Dolly Parton. She is the definition of talent, business savvy and has the most generous heart. I would love to meet her, sing with her and have the chance to work with her on a film that would inspire and uplift the world!
Best advice ever given?
Be true to yourself. Never give up on your dreams. Be kind to others. Work hard. Celebrate the little and big wins, laugh as much as you can, enjoy every moment, Talk to God and let him know your worries. Show up on time. Say thank you and mean it. Stay positive. Kindness is not a weakness,
How’s a typical day in your life?
I wake up super early, get some work done, and do yoga or a run on the beach with my little girls. Then it’s getting ready for school and rushing out the door. Then to work I go! My work is quite diverse so sometimes it’s in my home office or in the studio I share with two amazing producers/artists. Doing voice overs for clients, composing music, recording radio segments for Heart of Indie Radio, auditioning for film projects in Auckland and running a princess parties business that is all about inspiring kids to dream. Then school is out and it’s full time mama duties for me. I love the after school madness of snacks, sports. performing arts and dinner with my family. It’s a full day…. As soon as the kids are in bed, I keep working. Much of what I do requires me to work over 5 time zones. So really, there is never a dull moment. I love it:)
Name one your strengths?
Staying both positive and adapting to what life throws at me.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
A morning walk on the beach with my dog, kiddies and my love, Luke, a coffee in hand and then heading to church with my family.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Oh there are a few songs.. mind if I list them?! California Girls(Katy Perry) Ironic (Alanis Morriestte) High and Dry (Radiohead) Building a Mystery (Sarah McLachlan) and Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest) Wonderwall (Oasis) anything from the Beatles and I cannot stop dancing and singing to HAPPY(Pharrell Williams)
What is your own definition of happiness?
Being content within myself, seeing my kids light up with joy, sharing music, good food and laughter with friends and family. As a performer, I believe happiness is found in composing a song, recording it, then sharing it with my listeners. If one person’s life is affected in a positive way, if one soul feels loved by one of my songs.. that is absolute gold to me. Just gold.
Do you support any charities?
Helping others is very important to me. While in New Zealand, I have supported Springboard Mentoring program, The Ronald Mcdonald House, and The StarShip Foundation. In America, I worked/volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club. Just this month, I joined up with the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club and recently donated funds to support the new program S.O.N.G. (Sounds of a New Generation), which teaches the art of writing and creating a hit song to inner city kids. This program is run by the talented Eren Cannata (Emmy award-winning songwriter, producer, musician) and his uber talented artist wife/ manager Kristen Cannata.
Late last year I joined the amazing Harold LeftyWilliams for his DARE2DREAM Foundation, Inc. Which helps kids through sports, educational and character development programs, to help create future leaders. My song, “Dare to Dream” is being used as their official theme song! I am a volunteer for Hands of Grace-Rae of Light which is an organisation very close to my heart. They have three programs to help youth- Teen Suicide Prevention, Anti-Bullying and Music Education. We support and work with Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals and Texas Children’s hospitals. I started working with them in 2019.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Spicy veggie Mexican burritos and nachos
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
No sense of humor and someone who is constantly on their phone.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I think we miss the beautiful little moments in the rush to the future. I will be taking it one day at a time. I will enjoy the journey along the way. Adventures await!….In five years time… I will be ready and present in mind, body and spirit.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Casual with a hint of fierce:)
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a great way to connect with my listeners and share music, thoughts and encouragement. I do think it’s a balance though- being online is a blessing especially when most of us are separated from family and friends. However, I find I need to switch off, be in nature and celebrate the actual moment I am in.
Where we can follow you?
Thanks so much! I am on all platforms and can be reached below:
Quote: “You are loved, just as you are.” -I say that all the time and I really believe it.
Movie: The Wizard of Oz
Travel Destination: Croatia and anywhere in Italy to see my family
Sports Team: The All Blacks (New Zealand Rugby)