Emii

There are two different sides to rising pop star Emii. The sexy singer behind “Stilettos” and “Mr. Romeo” (recorded with the recently rechristened Snoop Lion) certainly knows how to work her goddess mojo, but at heart she’s a geek who feels at home discussing X-Men, having “nerdgasms” at Comic-Con, and quoting Star Wars. Her diva half loves going out and performing for fans; her private side relishes kicking ass in martial arts or chilling in her room, which looks like it belongs to a teenage boy. “I have a Terminator Endoskull sitting on the shelf in front of me,” she says, describing the de?cor. “There are Storm-trooper helmets. I have a 14-inch Indiana Jones figure. There’s a little Yoda …and a big box of comics.”

The goddess and the geek coalesce in her music. “The music thing kicked in the moment I came out of my mother’s womb,” she says. “I say that in all seriousness, because ever since I could make sounds I would be singing something, even if it was nonsense. I’ve always been writing songs. When I was little, I would write songs for family members and random strangers. I would jump up on a stage that wasn’t meant for me, and I would sing at inappropriate times.”

It seems completely appropriate that her star is rising, with a full-length album planned for release by the end of the year. If you want to categorize the blond singer as just another dance-pop vocalist, then download her single “Zombie Boyfriend” to hear some post-grunge rock energy. “My influences over the years have ranged from Elvis to The Pretenders to Michael Jackson to System of a Down to The Offspring,” says Emii. But don’t count out her rock side. While she laments that she can’t roar like Disturbed frontman David Draiman, she will always love heavy sounds. “A song like ‘Zombie Boyfriend’ shows the rock side of me, and that will never, ever leave. I write more zombie songs than I can count.”

When she started out, the singer says she had to learn to loosen up onstage because she was so used to the stances she learned in Tae Kwon Do, American Kenpo, Muay Thai, and boxing. She turned to martial arts after encountering some mean girls in an early ballet class. “I wanted to go somewhere where I could learn and not have people throw popcorn at me or try to trip me up intentionally,” she says. “I was a bookworm and wasn’t into things that other girls were into.” She says martial arts are like rocked-out yoga: “It balances me out.”

It also served as inspiration for the tattoo on her right arm. The tiger and dragon piece was a 10-year martial arts anniversary gift to herself a few years back. Like her other ink, it was done at Squirrelly’s Skin Art, in Hubbard, OH. “The tiger-dragon tattoo is the symbol of the balance of power,” says Emii. “It’s also representative of the oppositional forms of martial arts. The tiger is the harder, more aggressive styles, and the dragon embodies the more defensive and fluid-motion styles. It’s a reminder to me that I found the balance within myself and to maintain that and maintain myself.”

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