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How singer-songwriter Emma G would spend a perfect day in D.C.

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In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Music has always been medicine for singer-songwriter Emma G .

“If it weren’t for music, I would not be alive,” she says. “It helped me overcome brain damage. My brain function would not be what it is because music stimulates your left and right side of your brain. So I’ve always known that music was my thing.”

The New Zealand native, who underwent 10 brain surgeries by age 15, landed in Washington in 2015 on a lark: “I discovered D.C. by accident on a road trip and fell in love with the city.”

She moved here shortly after and has become deeply involved in the music scene, launching the creator-driven cooperative Capitol Groove Collective and becoming a mainstay at local venues. When the pandemic hit a year ago, her creativity went into overdrive: She was live-streaming living room shows, hosting a podcast and writing constantly.

“I was releasing a song every six weeks back in 2020,” she says. “And I recognized how powerful that was for my mental health.”

That led her to create a new venture, Youth Empowerment Through Music, where she virtually coaches teens on songwriting and helps them record fully realized songs. “I started that as a way of helping young people, because that’s what I needed the most: to help them channel their frustrations with life and the pandemic through songwriting,” she says.

The kids also inspired her. In February, she launched a song-a-day challenge, where she wrote 30 songs over the course of the month. She’s already recorded the best of the bunch for a new album, “Born in Crisis,” full of stripped down acoustic guitar and piano tracks — a departure from the produced pop she usually creates. “I think having that raw, real feeling behind the song on the album is really important,” she says. There’s also an accompanying documentary of the same name, which follows the challenge, her virtual coaching and the recording sessions. The album is available on Bandcamp and arrives on other streaming services May 1; the film will follow soon after.

“I’m a big believer in the idea that life doesn’t happen to us, life happens for us,” she says. It’s an ethos that Emma G, 32, carries into her perfect day in her adopted hometown.

One of the things I have learned about myself in the last year is the power of how we start our days. The first thing I do in the morning is wake up and cuddle my cat Arya for 15 minutes. She’s just over a year old, and she’s my favorite. My new thing is I turn on Clubhouse, I meditate for a bit and then I listen to these motivational speakers on Clubhouse to help me fill my mental space with positive thinking, manifestation, love and life.

I cannot have a day that I’m not working out because otherwise my body just doesn’t work. I would go to KravMaga CDK. It’s a Krav Maga school in Chevy Chase run by my partner DJ Stephens. I would start with doing a workout and then I will do Krav.

Then I would take myself and DJ out for brunch because brunch is the best meal of the day. I would have chicken and waffles at the Highlands on 14th Street. The great thing about their chicken and waffles is they give you good fried chicken, and you have it with lots of maple syrup and lots of hot sauce, which is something that I hadn’t thought would be a good combination until very recently.

Then I’d probably have a couple of meetings with the music collective that I manage, the Capitol Groove Collective. One of the things that I have recognized is the importance of celebrating together and growing together as musicians with a coopetition mind-set, as opposed to a competition mind-set. I really like to stay engaged with them and make sure that everybody’s happy, healthy and thriving, and has a system put in place for the day.

I would then go to the Mall at Prince George’s for a shopping spree. The mall has a great deal of boutique shops that are very different. I’m really big on thrift shopping, because I like to experience different cultures and how they express themselves fashionably.

I would then have a remote interview with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show,” and I would talk to him about my escapades. I’m working on a new book at the moment, the documentary and that sort of stuff.

Then I’d have a late lunch at this awesome Middle Eastern inspired space in Takoma Park called Olive Lounge. My favorite thing on the menu is a burger, but with added halloumi, which is a fried cheese, and it is the freaking best thing in the world — the magical touch. I’d also get a side of fries, and they have this amazing rice pudding that I would have for dessert alongside a good hearty IPA.

By that time, one of my best friends will have finished work. Her name is Solia. She’s another singer-songwriter here in D.C. So I’ll catch up with her, another one of my best friends who used to live here, Gillian Thomas, and one of the collective members, Stephanie Mathias. Gillian used to work for the Australian embassy in D.C. I would also bring back Janine Krippner, who used to work for the Smithsonian. She’s a volcanologist and she’s actually been one of my best friends since I was 19 years old. We grew up in neighboring towns in New Zealand. We’re going to go get facials and get our nails done in Georgetown. There’s some great nail salons and beauty salons there.

Then we would go catch a movie: “Judas and the Black Messiah” at Landmark’s E Street Cinema. I like the setup there. I like that you can have a meal there. It’s very indie. I think that movie is incredibly powerful. I’m still exploring the Black experience, which is something that I’m learning about, as a brown-skinned person in the States. I’m still learning about what it is to be Black appearing.

Then we’d go out for a glass of wine at Pearl Street Warehouse down on the Southwest Waterfront. They’re an organization that really supports the music scene here. When Mayor [Muriel E.] Bowser lifted the restrictions a little, they brought me on to perform a show for them. It was surreal, but it’s still nice to still get to see people’s masked faces and you can interact without lag. I’m really thankful for their ongoing support.

Then we’d head to Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe for dinner. Adams Morgan is another wonderful area, and Songbyrd is another phenomenal venue that has supported local musicians amid this pandemic. I’d probably go for a chicken salad or a lamb salad or something like that because I’m trying not to eat so many carbs at night time. But I would make up for it by having a banana split for dessert because banana splits are life and anybody who tells you different, obviously needs more hugs in their life.

If I could see anybody live, it would be Lady Gaga. It would be an intimate showcase at Pie Shop. I know it’s not a Lady Gaga venue, but this is an intimate showcase for people in the music industry. I would also have the opportunity to do a duet with her on a song that I’ve written. They’re an incredible venue that really supports the local artists, and they have, I think, the best music setup for a small venue in the entire DMV. And that’s because their owners are musicians. It’s intimate and it sounds brilliant. And they have amazing pies. My favorite being the samoa cheesecake. That is based off the Girl Scouts [cookie] and I freaking love it.