It's time for Emily Warren to defy all the odds.
Having penned hit songs for The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Noah Cyrus, Sean Paul, Melanie Martinez, Jessie J, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony and many more, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter is venturing into solo stardom with her debut new single "Hurt By You." The track, co-written with Nick Ruth and Scott Harris, is a gorgeous mid-tempo about Warren's experience finally allowing her heart the emotional freedom to fall in love, despite the terrifying risk it could end up in pieces.
Warren is currently gallivanting around the states as an act on The Chainsmokers' Memories...Do Not Open Tour, but BreatheHeavy managed to steal her away for a minute to talk about misogyny in the music industry, "Hurt By You," working with the EDM duo, Melanie Martinez, Noah Cyrus, album plans and her dream collaboration (Hint: it's a bad gal).
Give her new song a spin and read the chat below:
Warren kicked off the conversation about how off-putting it is that the biz is dominated by men who write songs for women using lyrics describing the way they think a woman feels. It lead me to share Lauren Jauregui's recent post on Instagram.
"I love that!... I think female writers and females supporting each other and not being competitive with each other, and definitely not caving and having to say things [a man would want them to], or sing a song a million times that they're not comfortable singing... 100% agree."
"I feel very lucky that I'm in the position to say no to stuff like that. I recently got asked to sing on a song with an artist and there was a lyric that I was not at all comfortable with and there was this whole thing. I was like, 'let me just change this one line... like, it's not going to change the song,' and it was such a to-do that you have moments where you're like, 'alright should I just say yes? Should I just do the song so everyone leaves me alone?' I'm lucky that it's not the only thing I have going on. I have the confidence to be like, 'no you know what? I have to be comfortable with it or I'm not putting it out.'"
What's your advice to a newcomer that isn't as established that's in an uncomfortable situation like that?
"I so intensely believe if you're not being genuine in your work and you're singing something you don't believe in. It's not going to work... It can work for a second. It can be popular for a few months, but it's too fleeting and I think people, especially now with where music is, can hear through that and can hear when you're saying something that you don't feel... if you're not being genuine, you're not building your artistry. You're building a one-hit wonder type of situation."
I always say if it's a battle, then you're doing something right.
It shouldn't be easy. You should have to stick up for yourself and say stuff that maybe is risky to the people who seem like they're in charge of you. But you're in control of your own art... it's kind of the secret."
Are independent artists in a better position in that aspect?
"That's actually why I'm resisting with a label now. We've taken a lot of meetings, but I know for myself if I put my trust into someone and then they say something like that I would say I'm signed to them because I trust them. It's too scary to me to think about having that kind of opinion affect me. We've been really careful about bringing people on for the right reasons."
What's the inspiration behind "Hurt By You?"
"I wrote that early on in the relationship that I'm in now. I wrote it with Nick Ruth and Scott Harris. We had this really long conversation where I was saying, 'in my life, I have almost no examples of successful relationships.' My parents are happily married, but they've both been divorced, and I feel like almost all my friends are cheated on or cheat on each other and every relationship seems to fail [laughs] except my grandparents pretty much, and so having that mindset going into a relationship, wanting to be vulnerable and then having my head go: 'well there's no way this is going to work. I'm definitely doomed,' and how poisonous of a thought that is when you're trying to fall in love with someone... so the song is about letting go of that and realizing even if it does fail it's worth it to believe and surrender and go into this."
Was there a relationship prior to the one you're in now that made you feel guarded?
"I actually have been super resistant probably because of these reasons to even go into a relationship, so this is really like the first time I was falling in love with someone."
What do you want people to take away from it?
"My mission with all these songs that I'm going to now put out is they're all very much true stories. They're very much about real things that have happened and I feel like I found in my writing with other people that when you hear about something really honest, lots of people can find a way to relate to it, so I just hope that this idea is something that resonates with a lot of people. At least from my perspective, I'm one of those people that listens to the lyrics first. I know most people hear melodies first, but it's all storytelling. I'm hoping that the lyrics are what connects and makes people feel something."
Are you planning on releasing a string of songs? An EP? An album?
"I'm just recently toying with the idea of an album. In my head, I was going to do just one song at a time, but we've got enough songs now, and I'd rather give people a body of work to see what they gravitate towards instead of feeding them one song at a time. I'll probably do a handful of songs one by one and then hopefully put an album out by the end of that."
Creatively, who have you clicked with exceptionally well?
"Definitely The Chainsmokers because we've built this thing together, and then the fact that they asked me on tour with them... it's just been so amazing. A lot of times you work with artists and you give them a song and then they kind of move on to someone else or move on to a bigger person, but The Chainsmokers and a handful of other people... this is kind of new thing that's happening. People find their squads and write with people that are friends, and honestly it's so much better. Cause when we sit down to write it's not, 'hey nice to meet you' and blind dating. You're like, 'what happened today? How are you feeling about this today?' So it's really fun."
"Melanie Martinez is one of my favs. It's fun working with artists that have a vision like that. Because instead of feeding them what to say, I'm trying to support what they're doing and trying to bring things out of them that are already there. As I writer that's more exciting."
"Oh, she's the best."
"Stay Together" is a song of the summer contender. [Warren co-wrote it with Cyrus and Britt Burton]
"I so intensely believe in her... she's so sick. Her voice... I was in a meeting with her A&R who played me one of the ballads that they have and I started crying in the meeting, which has never happened to me before. Her voice just has so much emotion in it; it's incredible."
Is there someone that you want to work with that you haven't yet?
"I wanna say Rihanna, but I'm also intimidated by that situation, but I would love to have a song with her. That would be my dream. When I listen to her album, it's so next-level."
What do you consider being successful in music means?
"Making things that you're proud of, and touching other people. My favorite thing about music has always been if you hear a song that an artist you don't know is singing, and you're like 'oh my god how did you know that happened to me?' That is good music to me, and that's what I'm trying to create... no matter what happens with [the music], I'm proud of it and I'm proud of how it is right now. We're not going to be checking stats like we do with other stuff. It's supposed to be fun. If you can keep that in mind... you're never working."