Consistently recognized as one of Manitoba’s most promising young country stars, Emma Peterson is known not only for her captivating performances, but for a powerful voice and all too relatable lyricism. It’s that gift for telling familiar, relatable stories that continues to set the singer/songwriter apart. Growing up in Winnipegosis, MB (which at last count boasts a population of about 617), Emma knows first-hand what it’s like to grow up country proud. And while she may have since moved on to bigger digs, it’s those fond hometown memories that continue to fuel the fire, and initially lit the spark on her country music career — no matter how cheesy she thinks her origin story may sound.
Always a fan of singing and performing for family for as long as she can remember, it wasn’t until her sister played a certain CD on their way to Dauphin one summer that Emma truly realized what path her dreams were to take. “She wanted to listen to some Taylor Swift, and she said she thought it would love it,” the musician recalled, adding the pair had spent the money their parents had given them for the day on the disk. “Right then I knew I wanted to play her songs. So, not long after, we Walmart and bought a $50 guitar and my parents thought I was crazy.” With no guitar teacher in town, Emma searched for YouTube tutorials on how to play some basic chords, and the rest is history. “I would watch those videos over and over and music really became the love of my life,” she said. “I still can’t imagine doing anything else.”
In 2016, Emma’s debut took home top spot in CMT’s Chevy Tailgate Contest, resulting in one of her original songs being featured on the Chevy Top 20, while she made a name for herself as one of the Top 4 finalists in the country. She also got the chance to meet American country heavyweights Lady A backstage, which was nothing less than a full-circle moment. Over the past few years, Emma has continued to perform at numerous venues across the province and beyond, including an appearance at Dauphin’s Countryfest, sharing a stage with some of the country’s biggest breakout stars, Andrew Hyatt and Chris Buck Band. In 2019, she headed to the Manitoba Country Music Awards in Winnipeg with a slew of nominations including Fans’ Choice, Female Artist and Music Video of the Year, ultimately taking home a win in the Emerging Artist category. “Everything has really solidified for me, in a way. Every time I hit the stage, I take a deep breath and can’t help but enjoy every minute,” she said. “I'm so lucky to be where I am, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”