To empathize with your audience, you can submerge in the physical community of your audience and observe them – what they do, what they say, how they behave, what motivates them, and how they react to different things.
This is actually the best way to understand your audience, because interviews sometimes may not give you the full picture. People often say totally different things than they really do. So you, as a skillful observer should be able to notice the true motivations behind their actions.
If you have an opportunity to submerge in your target community – start taking notes on your observation of their behavior which would help you to define the problems they face better and the current ways they deal with them.