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Nashville-based Otnes (fka Emily Blue) returns to Cincinnati

Emily Otnes has had a big couple of years. They moved, they changed their stage name, they’ve put out quite a bit of new music and toured consistently with a five-piece band. Now, they’re returning to Cincinnati for the second time this year and performing at the Comet on Sunday, October 8th.

An Illinois native, Otnes is hardly a new face to Cincinnati audiences. They’ve played here numerous times over the years, including a notable performance at Ladyfest in 2017 and a show with local icons Leggy this past June. With a genre-bending style and incorporates electronica, indie, pop, and more, audiences all over the country have come to appreciate their music. Performing from a very young age, Otnes started getting recognition in the music press nearly a decade ago. Over the years, they’ve cultivated followings for both their solo efforts and as the lead singer of indie rock outfit Tara Terra. Early tracks like the infectious “Blackberries” sit at over 2 million streams on Spotify, while Tara Terra’s powerful track “Like the Clothes” was praised in the Huffington Post. Otnes has released music through the legendary independent Chicago label Audiotree and in 2019 was awarded a Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago award for Best Pop Artist.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Emily lost their longtime producer and co-writer Max Perenchio in a tragic car accident. Following this event and with time in quarantine to spare, they began writing new music and exploring their gender identity in depth. Identifying as pansexual and nonbinary, Otnes has been a steadfast supporter of LGBTQ+ rights over the course of their career. It was during this time that they decided to drop the stage name Emily Blue in favor of their surname, and relocated from Chicago to Nashville. “Using my real last name feels very authentic,” Otnes said to the Daily Illini earlier this year.

Otnes will be part of a unique mixed genre show at The Comet on October 8th featuring Boston-based emo group Villain of The War, Dayton-based punks Good Soup, and local indie rockers Painting Parallels. The show is being put on by Burrito Boys Booking, a local collective of artists who book and promote shows all over the city. As with most events BBB puts on at Comet, the show is done on a pay-what-you-can donation basis. With four bands on the bill, donations of all sizes are strongly encouraged. The show will begin at 9:30pm and is for ages 21 and over.