Meet Emily Warren, the girl behind The Chainsmokers’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and your next favorite album
’20 years from now we’ll look back and be shocked that these things played on the radio’
We sat down with up-and-coming pop star Emily Warren who just finished touring with The Chainsmokers to talk all things feminism, her music career and vulnerability in songwriting.
What was touring with The Chainsmokers like?
I can’t even believe it just happened. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, it was amazing. I’ve been writing with them for a long time and we got pretty close over the last couple years. It was still absurd when they asked me to go on tour with them because I haven’t performed in years and I definitely haven’t performed in front of that many people. They really put a lot of faith in me, but it was awesome.
What is working with The Chainsmokers like?
It’s really nice, because we’re all really supportive of each other. It’s been really fun being involved, writing “Don’t Let Me Down” and working on the album with them. They’re unlike a lot of artists that I work with, because a lot of artists want to hide the fact that they have a writer on their song, and not make it about anything but their project. But Drew and Alex are really inclusive and generous of that.
What’s it like hearing songs you wrote on the radio?
It’s amazing. I don’t get really cagey about anything, but I think hearing people sing along to the words that I wrote is so trippy. It’s definitely the best feeling ever.
What song that you wrote for someone else means the most to you?
A song called “I Don’t Wanna Know” I wrote with Astrid S, not that many people know the song because it was on her EP, but it was super meaningful to her and I at the time. We ended up crying after we finished it. It’s something that I’m really proud of, because it’s a personal story for both of us.
Your latest single “Hurt By You” is a really vulnerable song. What is it about?
I wrote that about my boyfriend that I’m with now when I was first getting into a relationship with him. I had this voice in my head telling me all the time that relationships are doomed, because I have so many friends that have been cheated on and before my parents met each other they were both married and got divorced. In my head, that meant relationships were doomed and it was really affecting my ability to make myself vulnerable with him. The song was just kind of a reminder to not let that get in the way because being vulnerable is worth it if it’s for the right reason.
Was it hard being away from your boyfriend on tour?
He lives in London so we’re long distance a lot of the time. He came on tour for a week which was amazing. It’s also hard, because we both have super busy schedules, but that just makes it better when we’re together. He’s a producer, so we met in a session. He’s actually producing a lot of the stuff for my album. The next song I’m putting out he did. We’re just finishing up a few mixing things, but it’s mostly ready to go. It should be out in the next few weeks. We have a “Hurt By You” video that should be out soon so we’re going to put that out first, and then the song will come out after that.
When can we expect a full length album from you?
We’ll probably do one more single and then after that, when everything’s ready, we’ll put the album out. Hopefully in the fall!
You talk a lot about wanting to create music that ignites social change. What are some issues that are really important to you right now?
I think one of my big things is that a lot of pop songs by female artists are written by like, a handful of dudes in a room. It’s really important to me as a writer and as a listener to kind of hear the right thing for girls to sing along to. I think we are kind of desensitized to it in a lot of ways — there are some crazy things if we listen to 20 years from now, we’ll look back and be shocked that these things played on the radio. So that’s why I really try to write about true things and honest stories. If you’re vulnerable and tell your truth, there’s a good chance that someone else will have felt the same thing and you can give them some comfort which is kind of like what music has done for me.
What do you mean 20 years from now we will look back and be shocked about the songs on the radio?
I really started to notice it when I went on the Beyonce/Jay-Z tour, because I noticed that all of his songs were about his success and his money and him and all of her songs were about how she was affected by a guy like “he hurt me” or “I love him”, and I think that we’re just used to it. You don’t hear songs on the radio, that a girl is singing, that aren’t about a guy.
Who do you think in the music industry is doing a good job of creating the right kind of music?
Emilie Sandé, John Mayer and Ed Sheeran and people that are really writing songs about true things. There’s plenty of writers I’m missing. One of the girls from Fifth Harmony, Lauren, posted something about this a couple months ago how she thinks there should always be a girl in the room when you’re writing a song for a female artist or for a girl group. I could not agree more — I think that it’s crazy for a guy to write a song from a girl’s perspective.
Who would you most like to work with?
I really want to work with Harry Styles. I think everything he embodies everything I ever say about artists making music for the right reasons — because they’re expressing themselves, because they’re riffing off of their influences. It’s something he just did with his album, and he could have gone any which way knowing his audience, but he kind of made this like proper 60s rock cool-ass album. I really admire him, and I’d love to do something with him.
What do you want babe readers to know?
I know your audience is women and women who don’t give a fuck, and I think that’s so cool. I saw wonder woman last week, and I loved it. What struck me was it wasn’t just this over the top, heavy-handed, feminist thing — it was just a woman in a role that typically a male is in. As a woman in a super male dominated field, my motto is to not see myself as inferior in anyway. Being a female is not a downside. If you carry yourself as an equal, you are most likely going to be treated as an equal.
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