Triumph’s Rik Emmett on Solo Music, Taylor Swift – Interview


Rik Emmett of Triumph playing a Fender guitar.

Interview with Rik Emmett of Triumph – Author Anne Erickson, Courtesy Photo via Chipster PR

Legendary Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett has released a new greatest hits set via Music In Motion Ent, “Diamonds – The Best of the Hard Rock Years 1990 – 1995.” The fully remastered set features a range of rock tracts from his three Duke Street solo releases, as well as two previously unheard songs.

Emmett has a wealth of knowledge about the music world of then and now. Speaking with Audio Ink Radio, he talked about the freedom of writing these songs as a solo artist verses being in a band. As a solo musician, you can really do whatever you want, within reason, of course. You don’t want to totally shock your fans.

When asked if he thinks musicians today are able to delve into different genres of music without a backlash from their fans more than in previous eras of music, Emmett’s answer is divided.

“Yes and no. I think there are some artists who right from their own get-go, from when they start, decide I’m going to be eclectic, and I don’t care what anybody else thinks about what slot I might fit into, and I will build my own career based on the fact that I am this eclectic kind of an artist,” he said. “I would cite David Bowie and Madonna as people that climb right to the highest echelons of the music business doing their own thing and being their own entity.”

He continued, “I don’t think anybody would be surprised if an artist like Beyonce put out something that was real street and then something that was real dance house and then something that was kind of real emo. I think Taylor Swift can do pretty much do whatever she wants to do. She’s had a career as a writer that’s allowed her to do that, and I give her a lot of credit for that. Whereas, at lower levels of the industry perhaps you find things where someone’s in a band and the band kind of builds a following and then people don’t want them to change. They need the same consistency of image and style and genre, and they don’t want that to change. And some solo artists are like that. I think solo gives you a little more flexibility than being in a band or being in an act, because let’s face it, this is show business. So, that plays into it, too. Some folks are really good at the idea of making videos and their music career is really based on the fact that they make good and interesting kinds of video things that they do.”

I totally agree on Swift being able to delve into different styles of music. Except, if she were to do a death metal album, that would probably surprise people, and not in a good way. He concurs.

“If you do metal or death metal or heavy duty rap, there are certain things where the style of that music is the thing that kind of owns it, and that’s what you’re servicing, so things like lyrics and melody become a little less important to the style of what that recording is,” he said. “I used to teach music business, and you write a song, and I used to tell students, you write a song and you can now produce it in a way that might be very different than what you originally intended as a song. Because what you’re doing now is turning it into a record.”

Listen to my full interview with Emmett via the YouTube player above and on the Audio Ink Radio podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here. Find more on the greatest hits collection via

Anne Erickson
Latest posts by Anne Erickson (see all)
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Music, Rock