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A chat with Emily James

LA-based singer-songwriter Emily James has returned with a hauntingly beautiful new single, “Lovely Enough.” A track about the exploration and struggles of womanhood, Emily is truly embracing herself as the indestructible artist that she is growing to be. Check out our writer Sara’s interview with Emily below!

Hi Emily! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. How’s life finding you these days?

Hi Sara! Thank YOU so much. It’s wonderful to be (virtually) talking with you :) Life has been good! I’ve been keeping busy making new music and spending time with loved ones.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you first got into music?

For sure! I’m originally from New York and have been singing basically my whole life. I’m the youngest of five kids, which means I spent a lot of time in the car while my siblings were shuttled around to their various activities, and during that time my parents would put on CDs of all kinds of artists and soundtracks that I would sing along to. Having a big family also meant I had a built-in audience, so I put on a lot of dramatic kitchen performances for everyone. When I was about 10 years old, I began writing my own songs, and the feeling I got from that just made it click for me that that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Since releasing your first EP Emily James in 2016, how have you evolved as an artist, and what has your artistic journey looked like so far?

I’d say that since my first EP, I’ve grown more comfortable and confident in my vision for myself as an artist; both sonically and aesthetically. I started producing for myself too, and have learned to trust my gut instincts for where I want a song to land. I’ve also learned that there truly are no rules when it comes to creating art and releasing it. It’s important to stay inspired by others, but so necessary to remember to stay true to yourself and not feel the need to imitate what someone else is doing. So far, throughout my artistic journey, I’ve seen that there is a thread of myself that remains constant throughout all of my music, but I’m always going to be stretching and blending different sounds based on where I’m at at the moment. And I think that’s really fun!

Congratulations on your new single, “Lovely Enough!” It’s a really beautiful song. Where did the initial inspiration for the track come from?

Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. The inspiration for “Lovely Enough” came about when I was hanging out with two amazingly talented friends of mine, Sarah Troy and Rabitt. We talked for a while about life and people-pleasing and how it feels to try to constantly appear as some perfect, put together person. We started playing some things on piano and guitar and the song just kind of fell into place.

“Lovely Enough” is a super vulnerable and honest track where you explore the pressures that come with being a woman. It was also released on the last day of Women’s History Month, can you talk about the significance of that?

Yeah I think the core sentiment of, “If I’m lovely enough, will they love me enough,” that runs through the song, is something that weighs especially heavy on women. We’re taught from a very young age that there’s this societal expectation for us to be sweet, pretty, agreeable, not too loud, not too emotional etc. It felt significant to release “Lovely Enough” on the last day of Women’s History Month, as a kind of sign-off and way of saying that the conversation doesn’t end here just because the month is over.

Are there any artists that you draw inspiration from or are inspired by, either sonically or just by who they are?

Oh yes, so many. Adele was the first artist that really made me feel something through her songwriting and performance. When I first heard “Someone Like You” as a 10 year old, it absolutely knocked me out. So, she was really my main source of inspiration to start writing my own original songs. I grew up listening to a pretty wide range of music and some of my favorites have always been Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones, and they have all definitely found their way into the patchwork of my songwriting as well. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Hozier, Dijon, and The 1975. I could really keep going on forever. And, of course this list would not be complete without Taylor Swift, I think that one is pretty obvious HA.

You just made a really exciting announcement, your new EP Grey is being released on June 23rd. Could you describe the new project in three words to give us a hint of what’s in store?

Post-breakup self analysis

It seems like this year is going to be an exciting one for you, so what can we expect next from Emily James? What does the rest of 2023 entail?

I’m very excited for 2023!! Lots of new music! This EP is just the beginning of more to come :)

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