Meyer was born in Kyoto, Japan, but grew up in Seattle, Washington. Her father is American while her mother is Japanese and a professor of Art History. Meyer began learning classical piano at age six but expanded to Jazz. Meyer attended University Prep, a school in Seattle.
Meyer studied ethnomusicology and international relations in Los Angeles, including Indian ragas, African drumming and Japanese gagaku (classical court music). She wrote her thesis on the division in the modern Japanese music scene between hogaku (Japanese music) and yogaku (Western music).
She first lived in Japan when she took a study-abroad program in the city of her birth, Kyoto. In 2007 Meyer won the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition, which kickstarted her career in Japan.
Meyer's 2007 self-produced debut album, Curious Creature reached the #1 spot on the iTunes Japan jazz chart after the single "Room Blue" was selected as the Single of the Week. She was already actively performing at events such as the Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Kobe Jazz Festival.
Living in Los Angeles, Emi has performed around Hollywood, including: The Hotel Café, The Tangier, and Room 5. In Seattle, she has performed at The Pink Door, Tula’s, and Dimitrio’s Jazz Alley, and in New York at the Rockwood Music Hall as well as the 92YTribeca with The Shanghai Restoration Project.
In 2009 Meyer performed as the opening act for Yael Naim's tour in Tokyo, and also played at the Fuji Rock Festival.
For her second album Passport, written entirely in Japanese, Meyer teamed up with Japanese rapper and producer Shingo Annen (better known by his stage name Shing02). The record has influences from Brazil, where overdubs were recorded, and incorporates bossa nova and reggae.
In 2011 Meyer released her third album Suitcase of Stones, this time in English and described as a mix of "Jazz, blues and reggae-influenced original compositions" and produced by Grammy winning engineer S. Husky Höskulds (Norah Jones, Yael Naim).
Meyer began her 2011 tour of Japan on May 21, as well as performing showcases at Tower Records stores nationwide. She embarked on the tour despite trepidation after fans sent her messages concerned that artists were staying away from Japan following the March 11th 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
In October 2011 Meyer performed two shows in Seattle, including at the Kizuna Benefit Concert to raise funds for victims of the Tōhoku earthquake via charity organisation Peace Winds America.
In April 2012 Meyer's all-English EP LOL was released internationally, including "On the Road," recorded for a Toyota Prius commercial.
Meyer released her fifth studio album Galaxy’s Skirt in 2013, produced by David Ryan Harris. The music video for the title track was filmed by Canon as a campaign for their 4k Canon EOS C500 camera. Songs from the album have been used in television shows including “Energy” for TV Land’s Younger, “On the Road” for MTV’s Awkward and “Doin’ Great” on the Brazilian telenovela, Sete Vidas.
Her latest album Monochrome, recorded at Studio Ferber in Paris, was released in Japan on September 2 and debuted at #1 on iTunes Japan Jazz. It is scheduled to be released in 2017 on Seattle based jazz label Origin Records, the album will feature original songs for the US market.
On April 14, 2017 the Nappy Roots released the album “Another 40 Akerz”. Meyer co-wrote as well as plays piano and sings on the 9th track “Wings ft. Emi Meyer”.Curious Creature (2007)
Suitcase of Stones (2011)
LOL EP (2012)
Galaxy's Skirt (2013)
Emi Meyer & Seiichi Nagai (2014)