(Photo Credit - Jade Sadler)
We interviewed emerging NYC-based artist Emei for an Artist Spotlight feature. Be sure to check out what she had to say and also check out her new single "Distracted" that dropped yesterday!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"In elementary school, my parents gave me this pink Dell laptop for my birthday. I remember spending every bit of free time looking up lyric videos of songs from Disney Channel. I distinctly remember memorizing “Fly to Your Heart”, an early Selena Gomez song for Disney’s Tinkerbell, for no apparent reason other than to sing in the shower. When I was 9, I started performing around Flushing, NYC, and my suburban neighborhood. And since then, I haven’t found anything that gives me as much joy! I started writing music when I was 16 to further express my emotions into music. And I’ve been pursuing it seriously ever since! Lucas always loved listening to music throughout his childhood but thought you needed to be amazing at an instrument to get into production. Sophomore year of high school, he started messing around with Ableton on his computer, and since then he hasn’t gone a single day without producing."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"It definitely depends on the song. In general, though, I would say Lucas (LEXIM) normally starts with some type of beat idea, and I’ll run through my notebook of random musings I have for lyric ideas. We hum back and forth, and the first line eventually appears. From there, we just make the song whatever it wants to mean. And eventually I’ll get a sense of what we’re trying to talk about and fill out the story. Most of the time, they’re very inspired by our own lives. I’ve always thought of writing songs as completing a puzzle. Once the initial idea exists, the song already has a direction it wants to go in and it’s a songwriter’s job to uncover the rest."
3. Tell us about your new single “Distracted” that drops this Friday. "Lucas and I met in March of this year and wrote mostly on zoom during the pandemic. “Distracted” was one of the first songs we wrote together in that new format and ever since we wrote it, it’s always been a favorite of ours. It started with Lucas sending a recording of the beat idea and him humming “I’ve been so distracted”. When I heard the first recording, it immediately sparked the idea of the chorus and we wrote the rest of the song in one zoom session. The song is about meeting a stranger for the first time and immediately having a really good feeling about them. I’ve always been a big day dreamer so this song captures that tendency!"
4. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Specifically, with “Distracted,” we were inspired by a lot of artists such as Salem Ilese, Finneas, and Amy Winehouse. We actually made a playlist of songs that we drew from as we made the song. Feel free to check it out here."
"Strangely enough, the two of us grew up listening to very different music. I was always very into musical theater growing up and acoustic vocally-focused artists such as Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Lucas’ biggest influences have been Finneas, Blackbear and Louis Bell’s work. I think our different inspirations is actually what makes our partnership on this track work so well. With elements of electro-pop, a bit of jazz, and playful lyrics, the single is really a combination of both our musical worlds."
5. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"I’ve always had an inclination towards guitars. I learned to write music on just an acoustic guitar, so once in a while, I go back to writing solely on guitar, especially if I’m feeling lyrically uninspired. Lucas does everything mostly out of his Ableton and an electric guitar."
6. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"Wow, I really miss performing live! My shows are always very personal. I love to let the audience into the process of the song and what the lyrics mean to me. I think of live shows as an opportunity to connect with listeners face to face. Often, with streaming, you see numbers on a screen but it’s hard to visualize the people behind these numbers. Seeing people react directly to a funny or vulnerable lyric I wrote has always given me a huge sense of joy and is frankly the reason I love what I do so much."
7. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"It took me a long time to make music that I was really proud of. I think that something a lot of musicians struggle with,is still loving their own music after listening to it a million times in the process of finishing the song. But, the collection of songs that is coming out in the next few months are songs that we are truly proud of and love so much. We hope you love it too!"
8. What’s next for you?
"Lucas and I have a ton of music that’s coming out in the next few months. We will be announcing and we are just very excited for all the stuff in the works. Follow @its.emei on Instagram to stay up to date with all our new stuff!"