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Rhode Island Report

Podcast: Folk singer Chance Emerson on building his music career in New England

On the Rhode Island Report podcast, folk-rock singer and songwriter Chance Emerson talks about Providence’s music scene, his latest album, and juggling fame and college

Chance Emerson is a Brown University senior and independent musician.Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — From the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, downtown Providence was a bit of a mecca for musicians. Venues like Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel would bring in acts like the Foo Fighters, Green Day, Radiohead, Ziggy Marley, and Tony Bennett on any given night. Another popular venue, The Met, was known for attracting bands like Dave Matthews and Oasis in their earliest years.

While those venues have largely closed, there’s still an industry working to keep music in Providence alive, said Chance Emerson, a local independent folk singer and songwriter, on the latest episode of Rhode Island Report.

“I don’t know if I would have gotten this far with my music had I been in any city other than Providence,” said Emerson, a Brown University senior who expects to graduate in December. “I think it would have been totally reasonable for a city to be like, ‘Oh, there’s this international kid coming from Taiwan, playing Americano music, trying to come to Providence ... and play music. Like what? That makes no sense. That’s confusing.’”


Instead, “everyone was so welcoming... I guess I really loved starting my music career here,” said Emerson, who grew up in Hong Kong.

Chance Emerson recently performed at the Newport Folk Festival and is the founder and CEO of ForeverFan.Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Globe

On the latest episode of Rhode Island Report, Emerson spoke about his latest album, gaining more than 1.6 million views on a single song on Spotify alone, the challenges artists face in the streaming age, and ForeverFan — his new tech startup that’s helping independent musicians better communicate with fans.

To get the latest episode each week, follow Rhode Island Report podcast on Apple Podcasts and other podcasting platforms, or listen in the player above.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.