There are times when a young artist will show an amazing amount of poise and maturity. And at the tender age of 17, Emily Keener is one of those such artists and she took a few minutes to chat with us about her experience on The Voice, her thought process on creating her debut album, Breakfast, her upcoming supporting tour and so much more. So, we will stop blabbering on about how great she is and let you decide for yourself!
Here is Emily Keener!
Lemonade Magazine: You finished in the Top 12 on NBC’s The Voice, which is awesome! Blake Shelton was the first to turn and very quickly! What kind of emotions were you feeling at that point?
Emily Keener: Thank you! I had the time of my life on the show! That first performance was ridiculously nerve-wracking and it’s hard to recall a lot of the details. Kinda felt like a dream. I remember being so surprised and elated that it took a lot of focus to get back on track with the song…I was just so happy to know I’d get to officially be on the show!
LM: I couldn’t imagine the emotional rollercoaster you were on in that three minute performance. So what is the best piece of advice that you received from Pharrell Williams?
EK: Besides the general calming and reassuring effect he tends to have on everyone around him, Pharrell was really supportive of my ideas and decidedly odd song choices. One piece of encouragement I’ll take with me is when he told me: “you know a lot more than you think you do”. He’s super sweet. I was sick for my last couple of weeks on the show, and he noticed I wasn’t feeling well during one of our rehearsals. He insisted on running backstage to get me some water. I was thinking to myself, “Why is Pharrell Williams the one taking care of me right now?!” I’m incredibly grateful to have worked with him!
LM: We had the pleasure of reviewing your newest release, Breakfast. It is fantastic! Tell us a little bit about your thought process for this album?
EK: I really appreciated your review of the record! Super glad you dig it. The idea was to create something that represented me fully and completely in the moment. We wanted to make an alt-pop record that focused on my songwriting and vocal arrangements, specifically. Things I’ve done in the past have leaned more towards acoustic folk music and while that vibe is still very much a part of me, my producers, Noah Heyman and Dalton Brand, and I had a lot of fun working with more modern concepts and sounds. Lyrically, the record is emotional and provides my honest perspectives, so I feel very connected to these songs.
LM: Finding a great team is paramount! There is word that you have written over 100 songs in your youthful 17+ years! That is incredible. Who and where do you draw the inspiration from?
EK: That’s about right! A portion of those songs don’t see the light of day anymore — because anything you do when you’re a pre-teen is embarrassing forever and always — but there have been prolific times in my life that were great practice. I started writing when I was 12, and I became sort of addicted to it. Exploring song form, rhyme schemes and different chord progressions was so fun for me and the inspiration I found while working kept bringing me back for more. As far as where I get my inspiration from, I would say a combination of my life experiences, thing I see friends and family go through, and stories/narratives that I create. I see songwriting as my way of speaking to the world and to the people around me.
LM: Your songs feel like they have been written by an old soul and “Light & Sound” is certainly a highlight track for us. Songwriting is such a difficult thing to perfect. How much editing, revising and collaboration goes into a song like “Light & Sound”?
A: Thank you, that’s very kind! I wrote “Light & Sound” while we were in the middle of recording the album and after we demoed it out, I created the vocal arrangements that you hear on the track. I remember sitting in the studio and working on it all morning. The idea was to write a song about what it would be like to work in an office and I used that setting to analyze a few characters. I think I edited the verses a little over the next
day or two, but it was finished rather quickly. Eventually, we decided to spruce it up and put it on the record!
LM: So cool! Always so interesting to see how an artists’ song comes about. Speaking of “Light & Sound”, we understand that a music video will be released soon. You released the video for “Elevator” a few months ago. How did the two productions differ? Where there any major challenges for either video?
EK: Yes! The new video for “Light & Sound” will be out soon and I’m creating it with the same wonderful director that worked on “Elevator.” Andrew Schaeffer is his name and he’s the bee’s knees, I must say. This video will be quite a bit different–it’s full of bright colors and it has a super fun vibe, whereas “Elevator” was filmed in black & white and shot in an opera house from the late 1800s.
They’re as different as can be! Hmm… major challenges…well, filming “Elevator” was an exhausting process, especially for the crew! Each of the three days were 16 hour workdays on average and involved a few different locations. After one filming day, we actually put on a show at the aforementioned opera house. We were pretty sleepy after that, as you can imagine!
“Light & Sound” was much easier on everybody. We filmed it in a large warehouse in 8-degree weather, so it was a little chilly in there. Other than that, it was a breeze! The cast of characters and I had a blast.
LM: Now that Breakfast is finally out in the world, what are your plans for a supporting tour? Is there a west coast swing in the future?
EK: I’m actually working on some regional tour dates now! And I definitely want to get back to the west coast. My latest show at Hotel Cafe was a lot of fun and I always enjoy hanging out with other Voice contestants who’ve since moved out to LA! Any and all events will be listed on my website, so keep an eye out.
LM: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!
EK: My pleasure! Thank you so much for the support!
If you haven’t already, go get Breakfast by Emily Keener on iTunes and most major retailers now!
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