Geneva student’s local band Emerson Jay set to perform charity show Saturday night

New Year’s Eve 2015, the lights dimmed at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE as Emerson Jay took the stage. Over 2,000 people in the crowd cheered as the band took in the moment before playing for their largest crowd yet.

The band Emerson Jay originated from Jared “Emerson Jay” Gulden, 23, who after graduating from high school in Pittsburgh studied at Columbia College in Chicago. He majored in audio engineering, further shaping his creativity for music and lyricism. He took on the stage name Emerson Jay for his independent work in Chicago.

When he came back to Pittsburgh around two years ago, he met up with three of his high school friends—the four had a band together before college. Among those friends is Geneva senior business management major, Dan Evans.

“When he [Gulden] came back, he had a couple of songs written … we really liked them and decided to start playing together,” said Evans.

And thus their new band was created, using their front man’s stage name as the official band’s title: Emerson Jay.

Evans, the bassist and saxophone go-to, originally studied music at Duquesne University, but made the switch to Geneva this past year after his brother, Mike Evans, also a senior, convinced him to join the business department at Geneva.

Although Evans has always enjoyed music, he felt it was an unrealistic major by itself. He joked that while at Duquesne he thought to himself, “I should probably get a degree in something that will actually get me a job.” This cemented his decision to transfer to Geneva and pursue a degree in business, while still devoting much of his time to Emerson Jay.

Emerson Jay has played across Pittsburgh and at several music festivals, including the Strip District Music Fest last month. Before that, during one of their concerts at Club Café in Pittsburgh, the manager of the band Lotus saw the group performing and asked if they would open for Lotus when the band featured at Stage AE.

That New Years Eve concert was the largest crowd Emerson Jay has ever played for.

Evans said that moment was “definitely one of the coolest opportunities we’ve had so far. One thing that made it exciting was the fact that we had [our own] dressing room backstage.”

As the opening band, Emerson Jay wasn’t sure how many people would hear them play. But when the band walked out on the stage, they saw “a sea of thousands of people,” said Evans. They opened the show in front of a sell-out audience.

Emerson Jay’s indie-electronic sound is similar to well-known bands Foster the People and Passion Pit.

Their music is available across most media sharing platforms, including Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Pandora and Amazon. The band’s music is basically “anywhere you can get music online,” said Evans.

Their top song currently on Spotify, “Move,” starts out with an electronic xylophone intro, which blends well with Gulden’s smooth vocals. The track has accrued nearly 90,000 listens.

On Saturday, Feb. 20, Emerson Jay is playing at Johnston Gym on Geneva’s campus. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $5.

All proceeds from the concert benefit Feed My Sheep, a ministry created by Randy Herbe to help feed the homeless. Herbe, the owner of Z Town Café in Zelienople uses his restaurant to cook food, which he then takes downtown Pittsburgh to give to the homeless.

After hearing Herbe speak to the business club, Evans thought giving Herbe 100 percent of the proceeds would be sort of like “a giving back for spending time with the business club.”

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