The pen behind “New Rules” has so much more in store.
She’s topped the charts as a songwriter and is now making waves with her own voice–Emily Warren’s record speaks for itself, and she’s only getting started. The New York singer/songwriter stopped by Nasty Gal HQ to try on a few clothes and give us the deets on here life in music, why the female voice should be a requirement, her debut solo album, and the power of vulnerability.
So tell us a little bit about yourself–when did you first introduce to music?
My dad is a musician but not full-time (he’s a lawyer) and he has a band with his friends from high school and college that he plays with still. They all have day jobs–they’re called “Normal By Day”. My parents were pretty insistent on my and my brothers taking instrument lessons, which I did classically for a few years. I had a teacher who was a songwriter and she would play a song that she wrote at the end of every lesson. That was when I was like, “oh okay, people write songs”.
What instruments were you playing at the time?
Piano and then I took guitar. For a little while I was playing the harp. The problem with it is that it’s not practical at all–you can’t carry it anywhere.
When did you write your first song?
When I was 11, I was writing about this kid Zach that I had a crush on–all of the songs were about him. One of my friends printed out the lyrics and showed him while I was in the room. I turned purple and left the room.
When did you realize that you wanted to do music as a career?
I think I’m very lucky in this regard because it had become a thing before I was really thinking about it like that. I had a band in high school and I started songwriting more in college. I got signed before I graduated. It was all really organic, I never really had to worry about what I was going to do with my life.
What musicians did you look up to when you were growing up and finding your own writing style?
My dad always played ‘60s rock like The Beatles, James Taylor, and Beach Boys. When I started to develop my own taste, I became obsessed with John Mayer and I still am. I learned a lot from his songwriting in terms of music, melody, and storytelling. I also love the Arctic Monkeys. I LOVE them. And Ella Fitzgerald–I love classic jazz.
How has it been performing so much and touring?
It’s been crazy. Last year I did a tour with The Chainsmokers. It was fun because I was just thrown into it.
“There were a couple of songs in that pile that I just wasn’t willing to give away. So I was like, it’s time to tell my own story.”
What shows are more fun–the small, intimate ones or the huge arena ones?
It’s funny, I think the small shows are so much scarier because you can see people’s faces. When it’s a big room and you can’t see anyone, it’s a lot less scary.
What was the process like creating your album?
It was awesome. I’ve been writing for other people for the last 4 or 5 years. There were a couple of songs in that pile that I just wasn’t willing to give away. So I was like, it’s time to tell my own story. It was fun, I got together with some people I met along the way. It took a long time, but it was awesome. I was really proud of it before we put it out.
Three words to describe your fashion style?
Comfortable, statement, and glam.
What’s your favorite instrument to play?
Piano definitely. It was my first instrument.
“I think if you hit on that vulnerable place, you’ll reach something that everybody wants to hear.”
Being a songwriter and artist, why do you think the female voice is important right now?
I think when I first started writing songs in the pop scene, there were all these weird things that guys would say, like, “Don’t ever make it seem like the guy’s not going to ‘get it’ in the song” and I’m shocked sometimes on the radio when you hear a song sung by a female artist and the lyrics are things that a girl would just never say. You look it up and like six guys wrote the song. There has to be at least one female artist in the room to give that perspective. It’s been really amazing in the last year to see that shift. I think for something like that to change in pop music is huge.
What’s your favorite thing about being able to create something and present it to the world?
When you’re going through something and you hear a song and you’re like, “how does this person know exactly what I’m going through?”. I’ve tried to be really honest and push the artists I’m working with to be really honest because I think if you hit on that vulnerable place, you’ll reach something that everybody wants to hear. That’s the big motivator.
What’s next for you?
I’m working with a bunch of artists and stuff for myself as well. More of the same, but elevated!
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