In this candid and heartfelt interview, we delve deep into the origins, influences, and aspirations of a passionate musician, navigating through both their triumphs and challenges.
1. When and where did your passion for music first ignite? Can you recall a specific moment or experience that made you decide to pursue music?
I loved singing and writing from a really young age because I grew up in a house where music and lyrics were really important. There was always music playing. I think the moment I found real passion for it was when I was 9 years old… my Dad was playing in a band in the local pub and I got up to sing with them. The whole place went super quiet and I remember thinking, “This is what I wanna do.”
2. Who were your earliest musical influences, and how have they shaped the artist you are today?
In the house when I was little my parents were always playing artists like Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Stevie Wonder… real true songwriters you know. I totally fell in love with the idea of telling a story through song and I think that’s really shaped my style of writing. When I started listening to music on my own, it was a bit more pop leaning – Maroon 5, Pink, Usher. I was obsessed with catchy, ear-wormy melodies and tried hard to learn to write them in my own songs.
3. Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you go from an initial idea or inspiration to a fully-fledged song or piece of music?
I always start with lyrics. For me, telling a story is the most important part of my songwriting so I’m always jotting down little anecdotes, ideas and concepts whenever I’m out and about. My notes app on my phone is FULL of randomness. I like to start writing alone, just me and a guitar – come up with a chorus/main idea – and then I’ll often sit down with one of the producers I work with and bounce ideas back and forth until we form the whole song. It’s my favourite thing in the world to sit down at the end of a day’s writing and listen to a full new song I can be proud of.
4. How important is collaboration in your work? Do you prefer to create in solitude or with others? Can you share an experience where collaboration significantly changed a piece you were working on?
I think collaboration is essential in my work. Although I always start by writing alone, often I’ll get really in my head about something until the point where I put it down and never come back to it… I’ve got so many half written songs lying around that I didn’t think were good enough to see out ‘til the end. When I’m with other people, who I trust and know I can be myself with, that’s when the creativity flows. For example, I have a song coming out soon called “Gone.” I knew I had a great idea but, when I sat down with my friend Jacob Attwooll and explained it to him, it really formed into something beautiful. I’ll never forget that day.
5. In what environment do you feel most inspired or productive? Is there a particular setting or time of day that enhances your creativity?
I have a little studio set up in my home. I love going in there in the evening, playing some ideas on the guitar and trying to form my random notes into something understandable. That’s definitely where I feel most creative.
3. Writer’s Block
6. Have you ever experienced writer’s block or creative stagnation? If so, how did you handle it?
When I parted ways with my previous record label in 2021, I went through months of struggling to write anything. I lost a lot of confidence and wasn’t sure if people would still want to listen to anything I wrote. It was my girlfriend who pulled me out of that block. She’s an extremely driven person and she endlessly encouraged me to continue pursuing music. She reminded me that it’s my dream to be doing what I’m doing.
7. What strategies or rituals do you use to overcome moments of doubt or periods where inspiration seems lacking?
I remember one period in particular a few years ago when I was lacking inspiration. It had been a while since I’d written anything new, because I was releasing so much music in such a short space of time. So I booked a cheap air bnb in the countryside with my friend and spent a week creating away from the chaos of London life. I came out of that week with a whole new EP. Sometimes I think it just takes a change of environment to overcome those moments, stepping outside of your normal daily routine and experiencing a new place.
4. Goals and Aspirations
8. What’s been the most fulfilling moment in your musical career thus far?
Honestly, it’s been these last few days for me. Finally getting to put music out again after 2 years of waiting, and seeing people feel genuinely excited to hear it – I feel very fortunate for that! I have a great team alongside me now and somehow, this release, feels better than ever.
9. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years musically?** Are there specific milestones or projects you’re aiming to achieve?
I’d love to play some amazing sell out shows, travel further and get to perform to more people around the world. I just want to be consistently releasing music and hopefully see people enjoying it. I said to my manager recently, if even one person uses one of my songs as their first dance at their wedding, I’ll feel like I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.
10. What is your ultimate goal as a musician? Beyond the accolades and achievements, what deeper purpose or legacy do you hope to leave through your music?
I feel very fortunate that I get a lot of messages from people telling me that my music helped them in some way. That’s the most special part of it for me. I only hope to continue brightening someone’s day or letting them know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling.
Check out her latest single ” Balcony Floor”
Connect with Emily Burns