Em Hoggett is a British singer-songwriter, actress and producer based in Los Angeles.
A trained classical pianist since the age of 4, Em holds ATCL (Associate Diploma) and LTCL (Licentiate Diploma) diplomas in Piano Performance. Em has performed with renowned concert pianist Lang Lang at the Royal Festival Hall (London), the Fazioli Concert Hall (Italy) and other notable venues in the UK.
Em began writing songs at 13 while attending a performing-arts high school in London. She attended the Purcell School of Music in England for two years to train as a jazz singer and study music technology and producing. Although awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Em pursued her passion for acting and moved to New York in 2015 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Em was raped when she was 16.
But she didn’t tell anyone what had happened for a long time.
At 18, after an amazing first semester at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Em suddenly felt depressed when she returned home to London for Christmas. In returning to the place where the attack happened, so did her memories. She hoped that feeling would fade on her return to New York. It didn’t. After successfully suppressing the rape for years, it suddenly took over her life. It consumed her thoughts by day and haunted her dreams at night.
“It was like my body was giving me a message that I had to DO something about it. I called my mum for advice and she suggested I write a letter to my attacker, not necessarily to send, but that getting your feelings out on a page is something that helps many survivors. Naturally, for me, this came in writing a song. In about 10 minutes I wrote “What I Want To Say To You”. It helped, but I still didn’t feel better. Eventually, I realised that I needed to release this song. I was struggling with denial at the time. None of my friends or family knew that I had been raped, so it was easy to pretend that it had never happened. A few days after writing the song, I posted the song on social media, on January 31, 2016.
I did this for 3 reasons:
1) It made the experience feel further away from me, like I was getting it out of me 2) It meant that all my friends and family would know what had happened, and therefore I couldn’t hide it from myself anymore – I had to begin the healing process 3) I thought it could help other survivors feel less alone and more understood
I posted the song and got an amazing response. Both friends and strangers reached out to say that it had helped them, and I was overwhelmed at the number of people, so many of them close friends, who had been through the same thing.
I thought I would post the song and feel fine. That didn’t happen. I was extremely depressed for about six months. I was consumed with darkness, which I think was the result of two years of suppressed emotion all coming out at once.
During that time I wrote two more songs – “Anger”, and “Will It Always Be Like This”. “Anger” expresses the raw emotion that is felt when you understand that you have been abused. This is a totally natural feeling and response. Many people are ashamed of anger or afraid to show it. “Anger” is a very violent song, and something I normally wouldn’t associate with, but it is important to share this song because it was such an overpowering emotion, and I want other survivors to know that they are not alone. And, most importantly, it is OK and NORMAL to feel that way. I wrote “Will It Always Be Like This” shortly after, when I felt like this darkness would consume the rest of my life. I thought the rest of my life would be a dark, painful cloud.
I finally began to feel better, and in 2017 I moved to Los Angeles. I was doing great until the Harvey Weinstein news broke and, during that time, other triggering events happened both in the media and my personal life. I was close to a complete breakdown, at which point I wrote a fourth song – “Get Out”. Music saved me in this moment of utter loss. This song deals with the feeling that your attacker and this experience will always physically live inside your body.”
Since moving to Los Angeles, Em formed her production company, Enfyrian Images, with partner Umar Malik. Enfyrian Images aim to tell important stories, give a voice to the voiceless and bring awareness and insight to relevant and underrepresented topics. They have produced a number of short films and recently produced two shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018 that Em stars in.
One of their shows is derived from the EP itself.
“What I Want To Say To You” explores one woman’s experiences of rape and its aftermath. Featuring all-original music, it now takes to the stage as a physical theatre/dance piece, vulnerably sharing and exploring the detrimental effects of rape. “What I Want To Say To You” aims to raise awareness, help survivors feel less alone, encourage survivors to speak out and expose the horrors of rape.
After receiving fantastic reviews, “What I Want To Say To You” earned a coveted Encore Award and Em is continuing to perform the show after the Fringe Festival ended. The show has also been selected to perform in Joshua Tree in August at the Hi-Desert Fringe Festival.
Ticket sales and net proceeds from the sale of the EP are donated to charities including It’s On Us (USA), founded by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, and Rape Crisis UK and Wales.