Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Emily Warren talks about writing her own story and her debut album 'Quiet Your Mind'
Warren's songs are inspired by real life, and this makes her songs so relatable to the audience but when she decided to tell her own story she found it was quite the challenge.
The Grammy-winning artist, Emily Warren's first solo album 'Quiet your mind' has made many people fall in love with her compositions and her voice. The songwriter, singer, and producer has won many awards including a Grammy for her collaborations. Her discography encompasses eleven anthems for The Chainsmokers. Among those, “Don’t Let Me Down” (6x-platinum) won the 2017 Grammy in the category of “Best Dance Recording.” Other standouts range from Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” (3xplatinum) to Becky G’s “Mad Love” and Sean Paul’s “No Lie” [feat. Dua Lipa] as well as songs for David Guetta, Bebe Rexha, Lauv, LANY, Galantis, Sigrid, Noah Cyrus, and Florida Georgia Line.
After writing for so many other artists, Emily finally decided to write for herself, the process, mind you, was daunting but every bit enjoyable as we learn. Meaww had the opportunity to have an exclusive chat with Emily and she was very excited to tell us about her first solo album and her process of songwriting.
Emily's songs are inspired from real life, and this makes her songs so relatable to the audience. Quiz her on that element and she says, "I’m always pushing artists to be really honest, answer questions, and say things that make them uncomfortable."
“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," she adds.
You just released your first solo album, how challenging was it to write songs for yourself after collaborating with other artists for so long? What process did you find to be more difficult?
Indeed! Parts of it were made easier by having written with other artists. Just the mere fact that I’ve had so much practice doing it with others for the past 3 or 4 years that when I sat down to write for myself the process was really familiar. But I think what I found difficult was asking myself the questions that I’m more comfortable asking other people. Flipping the light on myself and having to be vulnerable was harder than I think I realized. But just as worth it as it’s always been.
You have been open about being consciously writing questions that empower women. What made you want to take this route?
Working in a male-dominated industry, there aren't that many female writers, yet there are tons of female artists and the majority of music listeners are female. That said, it's really important that we, as women, are properly represented and that there is a female in the room when writing for a female artist. Men who write songs for women without a female in the room are not being malicious, but it's also impossible for them to truly write from the female's perspective when they've never actually lived it. My goal in the room is to try and make sure we're all being honest about what we would actually feel and say and not say things because we're being swayed in one direction or the other by male executives or collaborators.
“QUIET YOUR MIND” IS COMING pic.twitter.com/SmwGoF7yPJ— Emily Warren (@emilywarrennnn) October 5, 2018
Could you tell us about your songwriting process?
I like to start with a conversation. I always find that the concept or the point of the song comes most easily and organically from the truth. And once you have the concept, the melodies and lyrics and tone sort of fall into place.
How did you go about making this album? Did the desire to put out an album precede the writing process or did you have songs that you could no longer keep away from your fans?
I wrote the album with some of my favorite writers/producers on the planet, and beyond that we’re all friends so it’s just an absolute joy making music with them. We’ve experienced a lot together so when it comes to writing my story they know me so well, so it's a really comfortable and fun process. I had always loved music and had a band in high school, so I had been writing my own songs for years! But then I switched gears a little, and was writing for other artists for about three years, and there were some songs that I couldn't let go of because I felt too attached to them.
Which was the first song you wrote for your album 'Quiet your mind'?
“Not Ready to Dance” is the oldest song on the album, and I’ve been waiting and waiting to put it out. It was fun to write and I’m super proud of it!
Many artists have spoken about songs being a diary entry of sorts, a form of emotional release. Have you had any songs that are close to your heart and you are not ready to share with the world yet? Are there songs in the album you were reluctant about putting out?
Over 3 years, and there were two songs that I wrote when I was just focusing on writing for other people that I was really resistant to giving up, even when artists were interested in them. They’re called “Just Click” and “Not Ready to Dance” and they’re both on the album. I usually don't get personally possessive over songs when I’m writing with other people because it’s like using a different part of the brain when I’m writing for someone else because I’m asking a lot of questions and telling their story. I always want it to be personal to whoever is singing it. But "Just Click" and "Not Ready to Dance" were too personal to me and my story to let go of.
In your opinion, how has songwriting evolved in the years that you have been writing?
The female voice has changed soooo much. Particularly in the last year or so. You just won’t hear females, or males for that matter, saying things in the lyrics that they did 5-10 years ago. Beyond that, storytelling and lyrics are back in the forefront. Of course, there are anomalies, but there was a period where songs were way more about being catchy and simple in the concepts, and now people are saying amazing, deep and thoughtful things.
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Could you give us the names of top 3 artists you love working with and why?
Some of my favorites are The Chainsmokers, Sigrid, and X Ambassadors and the reason for all 3 is pretty much the same—they’re all interested in digging in, putting the work in, spending a week and being ok with only getting one amazing song, and also they all are super creative and know what they do and don’t want to say.
Who are some of the artists you want to work with - whether it is featuring them on some of your songs of writing for them - and genres in music that you would like to explore?
I would LOVE to write for Rihanna, Rihanna, and Rihanna!
Now that the album is out, what is next for Emily Warren? What do fans have to look forward to?
I'm playing two shows- The Moroccan in Los Angeles on 11/5 and Rough Trade in New York City on 11/7. And definitely more music and hopefully more creative endeavors in other fields!