Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
My name is Em Persico (they/them). I am a musician, clown, and podcast host of Artists w/ Em where I interview all types of artists and discuss mental health, queer issues, intersectionality, and how they got started in their art. I am a 4’10 queer non-binary neurodivergent content creator who attacks all types of projects with enthusiasm and joy. I make soulful folk pop music, alternative dynamic clown characters, and audio/visual content that is accessible to neurodivergent people who learn differently. I make a variety of content which is more inclusive of people who are not represented by the white heteronormative mainstream media.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
A unique quality that I have from typical people in the industry is that I don’t learn things easily because I am a left handed dyslexia neurodivergent person. It took me a long time to learn how to read growing up, learning how I learn was never easy for each subject, and the world wasn’t made for me. Just look at your angled cooking spatula and try using your left hand, at that angle you’re not going to pick-up or scrape anything. Many people like to stick to activities that they are naturally good at or what comes easiest to them, but nothing ever came easy to me. Just understanding the directions was a struggle with how I process auditory directions, I’m more of a visual learner with auditory descriptions in tandem with it. I’ve never been good at something right off the bat, but a unique quality that I have is that I have learned to learn anything and excel at it; by learning how to break each activity down into digestible parts that I personally can process. I became my own perfect mentor, who knows how to ask for help, and weed out the abusive toxic people who pretend that they know the best way to do something.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
When I am performing my original music or clown character, I know that I am doing what I am meant to be doing when I see the joy that I am feeling reflected back at me from the audience. The thing about singing to an audience or clowning is that there is no fourth wall to prevent you from truly connecting to the people you’re sharing your spirit with. An audience can feel when you are holding your breath or nervous because they hold their breath with you. When I can express a feeling or experience with an audience, then I know that the world isn’t so scary and maybe they can feel the same.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
One of my biggest challenges that I’ve been working through is stage fright. Which is surprising for many to hear because all the things I do require a stage or audience watching me. I’ve been dealing with performance anxiety since high school where I dealt with a lot of bullying by students and teachers. I’ve been learning how to manage my fight or flight response and anxiety with therapy, clowning in a safe environment, and learning techniques to work through the fear response, and the more I perform and I survive, the more my body relaxes and learns that the stage can be a safe place.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Someone I would love to meet is Dax Shepard, he hosts my favorite podcast Armchair Expert. I took pointers on how to run a long form interview from listening to him and his co-host Monica Padman. We actually frequent similar places like Los Feliz and turn 1 at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, TX, we just haven’t crossed paths yet, maybe I’ll see him on a track day.
Another person I’d like to meet would be Jon Favreau who makes so many fun projects just for fun it seems, like “The Chef Show.” I want to work with people who make content that they like to make as well as consume.
The final person I would like to meet would be Greta Gerwig, she writes and directs her films with such passion and heart, I would love to shadow her.
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(Photo credit) 1. Alan Michnoff 2. Christopher Pedraza 3. Luke Clellan Dellorso