LA-Based Singer-Songwriter EMILY BROOKS Opens Up About Her Debut Single, Biggest Influences and More!
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Emily Brooks recently released her debut single “As I Am” along with its accompanying music video.
The tender, yet raw ballad, produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Brendan O’Brien [Pearl Jam, The Killers], speaks from the heart with its empowering and anthemic refrain, “Take me as I am, I’m doing the best I can.”
“‘As I Am’ is an anthem of self-love and acceptance and I’m so happy that this song is finally making its debut to the world,” shares Emily. “It is very close to my heart and nothing makes me happier than the chance of getting to share my work with others in the hopes it lifts someone else along their journey. ‘As I Am’ is a discovery into the deepest parts of our souls, the parts we feel others can’t understand, and learning to love oneself. Once you love yourself, all of it, even the darkest corners, that is when you are truly able to start living. And once you accept your past and move on from it, it’s no longer the story that defines where you are – it is part of what helped shape you into who are you now so you can live freely exactly as you are. With my songs, I want to remind people that they’re never alone and I’m right there with them going through all the same things.”
A young, free-spirited Emily gravitated towards the arts and initially began singing in church. Thinking she wasn’t good enough as a singer, she moved to Los Angeles post-college and initially set her sights on acting. While building that career, Emily knew something was missing and in 2017 music called to her again as she turned the page on a new, more spiritual chapter in her life. Through her songwriting, Emily was also able to begin her journey into self-acceptance and self-love, coming to terms with exactly who she is, as evidenced in her new single “As I Am.”
Connect With Emily Brooks Online Here-
Learn more about Emily Brooks in the following All Access interview-
When it comes to your music, what are you most excited for this year? How has 2020 been treating you so far?
I am most excited to record and release more music and to continue writing. I love performing live and I hope to do more live shows as well, but the writing means so much to me. It is with my writing that I really have a chance to bring about a positive change.
2020 has been a blessing. I just had my first TV placement on the CBS show “God Friended Me.” My song played while two African American women met up and embraced with a kiss—and I was like, “YES! Our generation is rewriting history and I am a part of it.”
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What do you think motivates you day in and day out? How has that changed over the years?
Yes, it was after watching a performance of the first original song I ever shared live, at an open mic and it was January 2018. I was new to teaching myself piano and I could barely play, but there was something in the energy of my performance I thought – Wow, I can actually do this.
I motivate myself daily. The drive to inspire mass amounts of people is what gets me going more than anything else. I want to reach the children who don’t have anyone to really talk to, the parents who don’t know how to handle their kids, the 20-somethings who have lost their light in adulting — I just want to make the world better with my music.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
Growing up in the household I did definitely influenced the kind of music I make. My parents always had the best music on from Sinatra to the Carpenters, Dean Martin, the Bee Gees. Al Green, James Brown—I grew up with so many musical influences and I know that’s why I have such a variety in my music today.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Were your family and friends supportive of this career choice?
Music has always been important to me. I grew up singing in Church and it always has made me so happy to sing. I was that kid gathering participants to learn dance routines and songs at recess in the 2nd grade. My family has always been supportive but growing up I got made fun of a lot. Kids made fun of my voice from grade school up until high school and after I didn’t get into a musical theatre program for college, I accepted that they were right — my voice just wasn’t good enough. Well, THEY WERE WRONG! It took many years of re-wiring my brain and shedding who I thought I was, coupled with 2 years of sobriety, to uncover that this was what I was called to do.
If you weren’t a musician today, could you see yourself doing anything else?
I love psychology. If I didn’t feel a calling to be a musician, I would definitely become a psychologist. I am so fascinated by the human condition and how the mind works. That’s why I am blending the two. To understand the psychology can help me deliver more powerful messages.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The most surprising thing is how difficult it is to find the right producers to work with. I didn’t think it would be so tough. Oh, and if you write a really good song, there’s still a chance that only a small number of people will hear it. That’s also surprising.
What has been the best part?
The best part is inspiring others with the music I write. My friend was at a Bat Mitzvah party and this woman was a wreck because her daughter has been confused about her sexuality. My friend had her take his phone and go watch my video/song out in the hall. He told me she came back with tears in her eyes and thanked him for showing her. That is what I live for!!
Can you talk about how your debut single “As I Am” came together exactly? What was the inspiration for it? What was it like working with Grammy-winning producer Brendan O’Brien on it?
Honestly, this song came out of nowhere. I do free-writes all the time and sometimes not much comes of it, other times I strike something meaningful. I’ll put on some music and sit down and let myself flow uninterrupted by the judgmental voice in my head. That’s really how this song was born. Once I realized what I was writing about, I fine-tuned parts of it and it was actually written very quickly.
Working with Brendan was a dream come true!!! I was blown away that he wanted to work with me and after a long hunt trying to find the right producer, it was really beautiful how it all came together.
How do you think “As I Am” prepares listeners for more music from you?
“As I Am” is a bit of an inspirational anthem and it can prepare people for more inspirational anthems in the future.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
I’m hoping to release the next single end of April and I’ve got a summer song planned for a June release. Thanks to my first TV placement, I am able to get back in the studio and record music a lot sooner that I thought I would be able to so I’m hopeful to release an EP in August/September.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music? What, if anything, has stayed the same about your music-making process?
I’ve grown a lot. I no longer lift my hands up off of the keys and stop playing when I am performing. I am writing more intricate parts and melodies. I’m utilizing pre chorus’ and hooks. However, I’m also learning that sometimes the most simple is the best. The thing that has stayed the same is that I begin writing from a freestyle and the song is built off of the flow.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s great that we can use social media to get exposure, but it is also very over saturated. It’s a pay to play space and for a lot of people who have the means to buy a following and ad space, it gives them such an advantage. I also think the accolades from social media has inspired a lot more people to want to be “famous.” So there’s that added element that kinda makes me cringe at it. Sometimes I wish it didn’t exist so that talent mattered more.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I would love to write with Max Martin and Kim Petras. I would love to cut a record with Kevin Parker of Tame Impala and I would love to perform with Alicia Keys, Lana Del Rey and Stevie Knicks.
Who has been inspiring you and the music that you make?
I’m such a biographical writer. I write from how I’m feeling or where I’m at. Sometimes seeing a person’s pain on the street will inspire me—the joy after a night out. Seeing other live musicians excites me and that can lead to moments of inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere for all of us—it helps when you’re tapped in and not distracted by social media 😉
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
KIIS-FM, NPR…any radio station would be a dream come true.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
GOOD VIBES and a higher vibration. I want to excite people and reignite the lights in their hearts.