A Chat With: Emily Warren
Although she just released her second solo single, called "Something to Hold on To," last month, singer-songwriter Emily Warren is well versed in the pop music scene. Your ears may recognize Warren as the vocalist behind the addictively catchy hook in Frenship's viral song "Capsize," or as the mysterious guest vocalist in The Chainsmokers' hit song "Paris," but most of her extensive resume stems from work done behind the scene. With songwriting credits for some of the biggest names in music, including Shawn Mendes, Charli XCX, and Melanie Martinez, there's no doubt that you've heard at least one of Warren's songs. She's toured the world with The Chainsmokers and even won a Grammy, but now Warren's focus has shifted to writing for her first solo album. While you await her debut album, check out our Q&A with Emily Warren for the scoop on her first ever song, her nomadic lifestyle, upcoming collaborations and more!
ANCHR Magazine: How old were you when you wrote your very first song, and do you remember what it was about?
Emily Warren: Oh god, yes. I was 10 years old, I had just put it together in my head that people wrote songs and that was a possibility. I wrote it about the boy I had a crush on at the time, and it was called "Facing Confusion." It had a thunderstorm theme and I was simulating thunder, lightning and raindrops on the piano... no one ever needs to hear that song, haha!
AM: How does your writing process vary when you’re writing for somebody else and when you’re writing your own songs?
EW: At the end of the day, the processes are quite similar. Whether I'm writing for myself or with someone else, I'm really only interested in writing about the truth. My sessions typically begin with a long conversation - I want to make people comfortable to open up to me so that the song is meaningful to them. One, because there is something very rewarding in helping someone get their story out, but two, I believe that if you write about something honest and true, you will be touching on something that other people have felt, and that, to me, is the beauty of music.
AM: Between writing Grammy Award-winning music and touring with The Chainsmokers, you’ve already accomplished so much this year! What do you consider to be the biggest achievement to come out of your hard work in the industry?
EW: Aw thank you so much! The fact that I get to wake up and do what I love every day is my biggest achievement, the rest is bonus.
AM: At the moment, which song of yours (that you’ve either written for someone else or yourself) is your favorite, and why does it stand out to you?
EW: I've got some things I'm really proud of that are not out yet, but of the things that are released, one of my favorites is a song I did with Astrid S. on her first EP called "I Don't Want to Know." At the time we wrote it, it was a story that was really resonating with the both of us and I remember getting the mix back and crying my eyes out in my bed. I'm really proud of the song, the lyrics, and the structure - I think none of us were concerned with any "rules" of songwriting which ended up making it quite quirky and strange but that's something I really love about it.
AM: With being born in New York and now working in Los Angeles and even spending some time in London, what have you learned about yourself as an artist by dabbling in those different music scenes? In relation to that, do you think that working in such culturally contrasting cities has influenced your songwriting?
EW: One hundred percent - I've always wanted to travel and see the world and the fact that I can do that with music, and meet like-minded people that I can create with in all these different cities is truly the most amazing thing. It is quite shocking how different the writing culture is from LA to London to Nashville to New York. I've picked up bits from each place and been inspired by the people and streets of the different cities so it has definitely influenced me as a person and therefore my writing.
AM: Where are you in the process of writing your own debut album, and can we expect an Emily Warren tour soon?
EW: All the songs are pretty much written for the album and we're now just finishing up recordings and productions. As for a tour, eventually yes - but nothing planned at the moment. I want to get some more music out first and then figure out what that would look like.
AM: Do you have any other collaborations in the pipeline?
EW: I've got some stuff coming out with Melanie Martinez, and have been doing more work with Sean Paul, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers, and actually just went down to Nashville to work with a bunch of Country artists so I'm very excited to see what comes of that!
AM: If you could co-write a song with any artist, dead or alive, who would you work with?
EW: THE BEATLES!!!!
AM: What’s your best piece of advice for someone trying their hand at songwriting?
EW: NEVER compromise what you believe in - if you have a gut feeling, you're probably right, and you should stick to it regardless of how much resistance or push back you have to face to make that happen.
AM: Lastly, who are some of your favorite new artists that you can’t stop listening to?
EW: Right now I can't get enough of the new albums from SZA, Harry Styles and Lorde.