Funding the dream

Huntington Beach's Emily Satterlee has improved her musical prospects through two money-raising websites.

December 12, 2012|By Andrew Shortall
  • Emily Satterlee, a 27-year-old Orange Coast College student, sings a song she wrote at her friend's home in Huntington Beach on Tuesday. Satterlee is raising money for her first professionally produced album on IndieGoGo.
Emily Satterlee, a 27-year-old Orange Coast College… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Emily Satterlee's dream is to make music her career. But for now, she's working toward her break and waiting tables at two Huntington Beach restaurants.

The 27-year-old commercial music student at Orange Coast College wants to sell her original songs to music supervisors for TV shows or films. But when she submits demos of her work to music supervisors, she always gets the same answer: "Bring back a professional recording."

That's something Satterlee just can't afford — at least not yet.

Satterlee, a nine-year Huntington Beach resident, doesn't necessarily want to be famous like Sara Bareilles or Taylor Swift, two artists she said her sound is often compared to. She just wants to make music behind the scenes by selling her songs for use on movies, TV and for use by major artists.

"She's in this popular realm but she has this blue-eyed soul to her," said music producer and teacher Gary Gray, who previously taught Satterlee and now works with her. "She has this soul that's just infectious."


Satterlee is a relative newcomer to the music business, without any real background in music.

"I guess I was always into music, but I never realized I wanted to write it myself," Satterlee said. "I was always into the '90s female writers, like Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette. I always liked them but I never put it together that I wanted to be like them until recently."

It wasn't until she got a guitar and started writing songs about five years ago that she realized her talent and decided to pursue it. She was inspired to start writing when a romantic relationship ended, an event she still refers to as her "muse."

There are a number of characteristics about Satterlee and her sound that give her a bright future in the music industry, Gray said. It's most notably her hard work and well-crafted lyrics that set her apart from other aspiring artists.

"The industry right now is rife with average material and average singers," he said. "It's not like how it was when I was growing up in the 70s. … Now it's rare to find someone with such a great voice and insightful lyrics as Emily."

In order to bare her soul to a wider audience, Satterlee turned to Kickstarter, a website that provides artists or inventors with a fundraising outlet, to raise money to record her first professional extended-play album about eight months ago.

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