Courage is often seen as fundamental component of success and the most important of human virtues. History is replete with instances of extraordinary accomplishments that came as a direct result of bold convictions. Scientific discoveries, medical advancements, human rights victories and military conquests support this notion. One occupational endeavor where this is most clearly exemplified is in the area of arts, specifically in the field of music.
Italian singer/songwriter and musician Emmanuela Marrone, better known simply as Emma, resonates with equal parts resolute devotion and indisputable talent. She was born into a musically-oriented family in Sesto Fiorentino, a small "comune" (town) in the province of Firenze in the northern region of Toscana on May 25, 1984. While still a child, her parents re-located back to their native region of Puglia in the southeastern area of the peninsula. Her father, Rosario was a guitarist in several local bands, and began encouraging Emma to study music theory. By the tender age of nine, Emma began accompanying her father's group. These early experiences instilled a fervent commitment to pursue music as a full-time profession.
Upon completing high school, Emma's first professional musical encounter was her overwhelmingly successful participation in a local talent show along with her band-mates, Laura Pisu and Colomba Pane, capturing first place. Their triumph was rewarded with a recording contract from Universal Music Italia and the trio was christened "Lucky Star." Their first public appearance occurred at the Italian Music Awards as they presented their first single "Stile." The recording however received tepid reviews and soon the group split due to artistic differences. "Lucky Star" would reconcile and re-unite in 2005 and release their first album "LS3" (2006), which featured dance-pop compositions. Again, the results were disappointing and they disbanded a second time.
Emma desperately desired a "fresh sound and new direction" so she re-formed the group, named it M.J.U.R. and was responsible for all the songwriting. Their second recording, "Mjur" (2008), now featured a more hard-edged, alternative-rock ambiance. Mediocre response to this album would convince her that this would be the last time that she would record and perform in a band setting.
Seeking a complete overhaul to her career and image, she officially launched her career as a solo artist and the results were immediate and remarkable. Emma began by appearing in the 9th Edition of Maria De Filippi's prestigious "Amici" talent contest. After a long and grueling competition, she was crowned the champion on March 29, 2010. She re-signed with Universal Music, but this time as a soloist, and her first release was the EP (extended play) "Oltre" (2010). The first single "Calore" garnered her instant recognition and would go onto sell over 120,000 units earning her platinum status and was the second-best selling album in Italy that year.
She went on road in support of her debut release and dubbed it the "Ahi, Ce Sta Passu Tour," which was the Salentino dialectal phrase for "Ahi, Cosa Sta Passando Tour" (Hey, What is Happening Tour). Emma received the coveted "Premio Miglior Voce Femminile" (Best Female Vocalist Prize) at the 2010 Venice Music Awards.
Before the year would end, she released her first full-length album "A me piace cosi" and the recording would go on to again sell over 120,000 units earning her a second platinum certification from FIMI (Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana). The album yielded four singles, including the hit "Arriverà," which was performed with the popular Italian Rock group Modà and captured second place at the 2011 Sanremo Music Festival.
Emma was chosen as the opening act for American recording artist Taylor Swift during the Italian leg of her international tour and she also opened several shows for ageless and legendary Italian rocker Vasco Rossi. Emma's great fortunes continued the next year as she participated in the 2012 Sanremo Festival and captured the top prize with her entry "Non é l'inferno." This song made its way onto her second full-length recording "Sarò libera" (2012). Album sales again reached 120,000 units, earning her a third platinum award and yielded five hit singles.
Her latest release, "Schiena" (2013) has received both critical and popular praise and features Emma at her best, displaying mature and introspective songwriting capabilities and she now has taken to performing live with the guitar. Emma has also involved herself in several notable social causes, supporting efforts and foundations that combat elderly and child abuse, advancing women's rights and health advocacy, teen drug prevention and awareness education, refugee immigration and anti-nuclear energy activism. In 2011, Emma publically revealed that she herself was a cancer-survivor, after being diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2009. After aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the disease has since gone into full remission.