An Interview With Well-Known Singer-Songwriter EMILY WARREN On Her Debut Album, Working With The Chainsmokers and A Lot More!
Posted On 15 Oct 2018
Known for being on the songwriting team behind Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” to Sigrid’s “High Five” and 11 Chainsmokers tracks (including Grammy-winning “Don’t Let Me Down”), the singer-songwriter Emily Warren finally released her debut album, “Quiet Your Mind,” on October 5th.
“I’m always pushing artists to be really honest, answer questions, and say things that make them uncomfortable,” she says. “As a writer, I’ve tried to figure out how to get emotions out of the talent I work with. It starts with the person and telling a story. One day, I turned the light on myself. I was like, ‘I know what questions I need to ask myself in order to dig out the most honest music. So, I’m going to try.’ It’s definitely harder to ask yourself those questions though. It was a challenging learning experience, but the final product is honest. I essentially decided to tell my story.”
That’s what Emily does on “Quiet Your Mind.” During the summer of 2017, she first commenced work on the album. It started with two songs—“Just Click” and “Not Ready To Dance”—that she couldn’t part with. In between sessions for a myriad of other artists, she carved out time to finish solo material.
Here’s what Warren has been up to lately:
-Latest Release: The Chainsmokers “Side Effects ft. Emily Warren” – Emily co-wrote this one!
–SOLO Work: “Hurt By You”, “Something To Hold On To”, “Poking Holes”, & “Paranoid”
-Current Single “Paranoid”: Emily *LIVES* for classic Hollywood glam & cinematography. Check out the VIDEO HERE. (Premiered on Teen Vogue)
-Notable 2018 Cuts: Bebe Rexha “Don’t Get Any Closer”, Sigrid “High Five”, Anne-Marie “Trigger”, Galantis “Satisfied ft. MAX”, Sean Paul, David Guetta, Becky G “Mad Love”, Jason Mraz “Unlonely”, Era Istrefi “Prisoner”, & all of The Chainsmokers‘ releases this year: “Side Effects ft. Emily Warren”, “Somebody”, “Everybody Hates Me”, “You Owe Me”, & “Sick Boy”.
*635 MILLION+ on Spotify this year!
– Emily’s Songwriting Cuts To Date = 5 BILLION+ Spotify Streams
Connect With Emily Warren Here:
Learn more about Emily Warren in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
My pleasure! I’m actually in Portugal right now, just outside of Lisbon. I’m here with a small group of amazing writers at the house of a guy named Thomas Troelsen who’s an amazing writer himself. We’ve just had some breakfast and we’re about to start writing!
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you andyour career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
2018 has genuinely been the best year of my life. I feel like the big lesson I had to learn was to find a balance. Whether it be between work and time off, friends and loved ones, writing for others and writing for myself. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the balance exactly right, and some of the magic is in the chaos and the failing and trying again. But I’ve definitely prioritized my own personal happiness this year and it has been well worth it.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Can you see yourself ever doing anything else?
Music always was a big part of my life, for sure. My dad and his friends have a band they started in college and there was always music in my house. My big brothers used to blast music from their rooms as well so I was being influenced from every direction. Luckily for me, it was such a natural progression going from being just someone who did music for fun to having it be a career so I never really had to make a conscious decision about making it my life. I do have tons of interests and would love to dip into a few more things in the creative arts, but music will always be my first love.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I think the biggest surprise is that you can make money doing something like this. It always seems ridiculous when I feel like I’m just hanging out with friends chatting and a song starts to take shape. It’s kind of the best job ever. There are definitely challenges though–being a creative comes with (for me at least) at times crippling insecurities plus self-inflicted pressure. But I think that the uncertainty is the best motivator.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
My music is definitely influenced by having been raised in New York – I was lucky enough to have access to Broadway musicals, plus my brother sang in the opera, and we could always just walk into any number of gigs downtown. But I really believe location has a huge influence on inspiration. For me at least. I’ve actually been living out of a suitcase the past 5 years, traveling between London, LA, and spots in between and taking every possible opportunity to travel places to write. It’s always insane when you realize people are writing songs all over the world and it’s the best way to meet like-minded strangers.
You have released a ton of songs with other artists so why now have you decided to release your own debut album next month? How would you say that your previous tracks are similar or different to your forthcoming collection of music?
I think the main deciding factor behind putting music out was I finally felt like I had my own story to tell. There were a few songs I had written that were so personal that it felt wrong to have someone else sing them. Once there were a handful of those popped up, my manager sat me down and was like… If you want to do this, let’s do this. After that we started setting time aside for my own stuff and eventually the album came together!
What was it like putting together your debut album? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How do you plan on celebrating the actual release of it?
It’s been quite a process to be honest. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve experienced the full range of emotions, and it’s been really creatively liberating to step out on the other side of the curtain and have a hand in artwork, videos, everything from A-Z that i don’t normally get to have a say in when I’m writing for other artists. I think I’m constantly learning up to the last minute, about myself, about writing, about collaborating. And when it comes out, I’m planning on celebrating with everyone who helped make it happen!
While it’s hard, can you pick out a few of your favorite songs on your debut album?
That’s definitely hard. “How it Ends” is a stand out for me. I wrote it with Mac & Phil and it’s the last one we did for the album so it’s just really fresh and exciting still. Another couple of faves are “Just Click” and “Not Ready to Dance” because they’re the oldest–those are the songs that inspired me to write an album in the first place, and I wrote them both with Scott Harris.
You have worked with The Chainsmokers a lot so I’m curious what this collaboration has been like over the years? Why do you find that you work so well together?
It’s been amazing. I think our ability to collaborate comes directly from the fact that we’re friends and have known each other for a few years. When we get into the studio to write it’s different than with people you meet for the first time because you save the time it takes to get to know people and get comfortable. Being able to tour with them after the first album came out was not only an amazing experience but meant I got to watch first-hand how they were dealing with criticism and acclaim and their launch into success. We wrote a lot of the songs that are being released during that time and having been there and writing it while it all went down just means that it’s all very honest.
Your newest track with The Chainsmokers, “Side Effects” is currently a contender for song of the summer. What was the inspiration for this song?
Ah thank you!! So so excited about that. I wrote that in Copenhagen with these amazing guys Corey Sanders and Sly Siverstein, who I had just met for the first time. To be honest, we were just fucking around, having the best day ever, laughing and messing around. The song came together pretty quickly but it was one of those ones where we kinda knew we were onto something. Everyone was coming into the room and listening and being like… holy shit. Corey’s manager actually sent it over to the Chainsmokers and I woke up to a bunch of missed calls from them saying they loved it and wanted to jump on and leave me on it. And the rest was history!!!
When it comes to everyone that you have collaborated with, which one really stands out the most to you now? Which ones surprised you with how easy or quick the songs came together in the studio?
The Chainsmokers of course. But someone else I really love to work with is Sigrid. She’s so creative and knows exactly what she wants and we always have a great time when we write together.
With all the songwriting that you have done, what would you say makes for the best songwriting conditions? Are you constantly writing down song ideas in your life? Where do you find that you get the most inspiration?
I think the best conditions are actually not to have a routine. I really like going to other peoples studios or even going to peoples hometowns to write, just because I think getting out of places like LA where there are a lot of distractions and going somewhere where there’s a change of scene can really help the creative juices flowing. In terms of inspiration, it’s always changing. Sometimes if I have a lot going on emotionally, I’m constantly writing ideas down, but more often than not I wait until I’m in the session and just let the conversation inspire the song. I find that to be the best way to write the most honest and relatable music is to just figure out whats going on with the artist or other writers in the room and channel those emotions.
What is the fastest that you have ever written a song? What about the longest?
One to two hours I would say is the least, but sometimes it stretches over the span of a few days, and you have to keep coming back and tweaking.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period or is your music an escape from all that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I think both addressing the issues and making sure to have fun are really important. I think as a songwriter it’s irresponsible to ignore whats going on explicitly. I think that’s why as writers we were all so proud of “New Rules” because it felt like song with a message in a time when that was really necessary. And I think that paired with the fun video and uptempo production meant that it wasn’t exacerbating an issue but rather driving home an empowering message. I have definitely noticed a difference with the way people are approaching songwriting, especially when people are writing for female artists, there are just things that used to be okay that simply wont fly anymore, and that’s been a great change to witness. Music is a powerful tool and it’s great to see it being used for good.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Yeah, I’m not great about that. I think I’m good at posting when I’m lonely or bored but when I get caught up in living I sort of forget about it. Instagram is definitely my favorite though as I’m a pretty visual person so it’s a great platform.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
John Mayer, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Beatles are probably my all time faves. There’s always something new to learn from listening to all of their music. Rihanna is my dream session!
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
Probably a guitar so I could write and jam and it’s a lot easier to carry around than a piano 😉
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
That’s a great question!! I think probably Big Little Lies, just because there’s such amazing music in that show and they use it in such a meaningful way. I’ve discovered a lot of music from that show and I always feel like they’ve put exact the write song in the exact write place to heighten the emotion.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope that like music has always done for me, my music resonates with others and provides some comfort. I try to be as honest and detailed as possible with hopes that showing that vulnerable of a side I will hit a nerve with people so they feel less alone in whatever they’re going through.
(All photography provided by SAS Entertainment)