“Arresting” is too mild an adjective for the voice of Emah. “Mesmerizing” might be powerful enough to convey the effect Emah has when she moves onto the stage with the bearing of a queen and turns her voice loose on an audience.
Emah is unique. Her voice, her reedlike frame, her presence are unlike any other vocalist among the very talented bevy of jazz divas who perform for Women in Jazz. She came to this career rather late, following the debilitating effects of lung surgery. Developing the strength to sing and project her voice was part of her healing process. She said, “God has blessed me with a brain and spirit to overcome any obstacle. As long as my health and breath holds out, I’m not letting anyone else take charge of my life. My last and final occupation is to sing.”