Rik Emmett was born Richard Gordon Emmett in Toronto, Ontario Canada. He changed the spelling of his name from "Rick" to "Rik" because his name was misspelled on Triumph
's first album and he didn't want to recall the record or confuse fans.
Although he's known as the vocalist and guitar player for Triumph, Rik Emmett is actually very familiar with other guitar styles such as classical, flamenco, bluegrass, jazz, and world music. In 2005, he won the Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Guitarist of the Year.
Along with being a guitarist, songwriter, and teacher at Humber College in Toronto, Rik Emmett is also a writer and humorist. He occasionally contributes articles to Guitar Player magazine and during the '80s, he contributed cartoons making fun of the music industry to Hit Parader magazine.
As a member of Triumph, Rik Emmett has won four Juno Awards for Group of the Year, which is the Canadian equivalent to the Grammy Awards. The band took home the honor in 1979, and then again three years in a row from 1985 to 1987.
On July 14, 2011, Triumph had a street named after them. The band's hometown of Mississauga, Ontario named Triumph Lane in honor of the band for their hard work and success through the late '70s and '80s. At the dedication ceremony, the members of the band thanked their fans for their support, especially those in Texas who helped break them into in the US market.
When we spoke to Rik in 2012, he explained that the hardest thing for him to teach his students at Humber College is to "have instinct." He explained that students should always be on the lookout for little bits of information that they can grow in to full-scale songs. His goal in teaching is to help aspiring songwriters differentiate between ideas worth spending time on and growing and others that are just a waste of time.
Rik Emmet says he's a huge fan of songwriters like James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Jimmy Webb, even though he's mostly known for the rock and metal songs he wrote while in Triumph. He told us in 2012 that he listened to bands like King Crimson, Yes, and Gentle Giant as a teenager, but nowadays he prefers to listen to artists like Billy Joel.
Rik Emmett says that even thought he's open to a Triumph reunion, drummer Gil Moore is very busy and not really interested in playing music full-time anymore. Moore owns the hugely successful Metalworks recording studio in Toronto and Emmett says he's a workaholic.