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Emerson Hart

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  • Born: South Orange, NJ
  • Years Active: 2000s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

If Emerson Hart's name wasn't a household word when he released his first solo album, 2007's Cigarettes and Gasoline, his voice and his songs were already familiar to millions of fans from his years as the leader of the group Tonic. Hart was born on July 21, 1969, in South Orange, New Jersey, where as a child he became close friends with Jeff Russo. Both Hart and Russo took up the guitar in their teens, and in 1993 the two decided to put together a band; enlisting bassist Dan Rothchild and drummer Kevin Shepard, they formed Tonic and hit the road for Los Angeles. In 1995, Tonic signed with A&M Records, and they released their first album, Lemon Parade, which mixed the band's muscular but tuneful alternative pop/rock with rooty accents. On the strength of the singles "Open Up Your Eyes," "If You Could Only See," and "Soldier's Daughter," Lemon Parade went platinum, and the band produced their 1999 follow-up, Sugar, with the help of Mark Endert and Nick Gatfield. Sugar was also Tonic's first album with new bassist Dan Lavery, who had signed on with the group in 1998. After contributing songs to a number of film and television soundtracks (including American Pie, X-Files: Fight the Future, and King of the Hill), Tonic went into the studio with hard rock producer Bob Rock in 2002 to make their third full-length, Head on Straight, but while the album brought the band two Grammy nominations, it was a commercial disappointment.

In 2003, Hart relocated to Nashville and first stepped out as a solo artist by writing, producing, and performing the song "Generation," which became the theme song for the television series American Dreams, and while Tonic would do occasional live shows, Hart began to focus on a solo career. In 2005, he began writing songs for his first album on his own, and brought in Bob Rock, Jason Lehning, and Mike Napolitano to produce sessions in Nashville and New Orleans. In 2006, Hart signed a solo deal with the EMI-distributed Manhattan Records imprint, and the label released Cigarettes and Gasoline in the spring of 2007. The record reached 15 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and produced two charting singles for Hot Adult Top 40: "I Wish the Best for You" and "If You're Gonna Leave." The next seven years were quiet for Hart but he re-emerged in spring of 2014 with Beauty in Disrepair.


Emerson Hart (born July 21, 1969) is a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and producer. He grew up in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey.


Emerson Hart was born in Washington, Pennsylvania. He is the lead singer and songwriter of the alternative rock band Tonic. Tonic’s first release, Lemon Parade, was a multi-platinum success, featuring the hit songs, "Open Up Your Eyes" and "If You Could Only See" (the former written by Hart and co-writer Jeff Russo and the latter written by Hart), the latter of which became radio's most played rock song in 1997. In 1999, Tonic returned with their second album and the mainstream rock hit, "You Wanted More". In 2002, Tonic released their third LP, Head On Straight. In 2003, Tonic received two Grammy nominations - one for best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal for "Take Me As I Am", and the second for Best Rock Album. Hart also co-wrote the 2005 Ingram Hill hit, "Almost Perfect", which reached the top 25 on the Hot AC chart.

Hart co-wrote the theme song, "Generation", for the NBC drama American Dreams, which premiered in 2002. He earned an ASCAP award for "Best Theme Song of Television" in 2003.

In February 2007, Hart signed a solo record deal with EMI/Manhattan Records to release his debut solo effort Cigarettes and Gasoline. It was released on July 17, 2007. Hart's first single, "If You're Gonna Leave", received airplay on American radio stations beginning in June 2007, while his second single, "I Wish the Best for You", received airplay beginning in Dec 2007.

Emerson Hart's father Jennings sang for the USO and his mother Sandra was a former television hostess. His father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was prescribed medicine to regulate his mental disorder, but he often resisted treatment and he and Sandra divorced in 1977. Jennings may have been off his medication at the time of his disappearance on January 21, 1980. The elder Hart has not been seen since, and in an interview Emerson addresses his "father's murder", which is the subject of the title track written and recorded by Emerson on 2007's Cigarettes and Gasoline.

Emerson married Heather McMurray on September 1, 2012 outside of their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hart's second solo album, Beauty in Disrepair, (BMG) was released April 15th, 2014. The first single, titled "Best That I Can Give", premiered on USA Today's website on January 7, 2014.

Regarding the new single, Hart says: "My wife and I dated for about four years" starting shortly after a divorce, says Hart, 44. "That's a rocky road, because you have to address all the luggage that comes with the past relationships. That was the song I wrote when I almost blew it — but I didn't."

Hart's latest album, containing a full twelve tracks, can currently be ordered from his website, www.emersonhart.com, and the pre-ordered physical CD was a signed copy.

Hart has mentioned in interviews that his songs reflect something he's lived through, and the while 2007's "Cigarettes and Gasoline" dealt more with rocky relationships and personal struggles, his latest release "Beauty in Disrepair" reflects Hart's picking up the pieces and moving on, learning, and happiness re-evolving.

^ "IMDb - American Dreams Awards". Retrieved 2010-12-28. ^ "Billboard - If You're Gonna Leave". Retrieved 2010-12-28. ^ "Billboard - I Wish the Best for You". Retrieved 2010-12-28. ^ "The Charley Project: Jennings Lee Hart". Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
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