Recently CelebMix brought you a track by track review of Emily Warren’s phenomenal debut album Quiet Your Mind, now we chat to Emily about that record, the stories behind the tracks and pop music in 2018.
Warren’s debut album has been a long time coming. The 26-year-old has been writing songs since the early years of high school and has cultivated an extraordinary ability to articulate such tender and personal moments in the body of a deliciously catchy pop flick.
Her journey started with a band in high school where Warren “was always just singing the songs because it was such an outlet”. When the band fell apart, the year the pop star went to college, she “started writing with other people and in sessions”.
“It was the reaction of people, labels, publishers and artists that made me realise that if I write this way, or I write fewer lyrics or target this specific thing, there’s something there. With any creative person, there’s a lot of needing validation. But once I started getting that I got a lot more confident.”
In terms of the pop industry, that confidence has had a stratospheric effect. Dua Lipa’s ‘IDGAF’, The Chainsmokers’ ‘Paris’ and Little Mix’s ‘No More Sad Songs’ are three examples of products of the Warren-mind. However, over the past year, the song-writer started penning her own little stories to keep for herself.
“It’s been a long time and I had a lot of those songs and those stories bubbling up.”
“Every single song is a true story form a real situation. It was really therapeutic and awesome to get out but really scary, it’s like opening my diary for everyone to read.”
And it really does feel like that. It’s a tale “about love; wanting love, fearing love, finding, learning, living in and losing love,” Warren shared on Instagram. Every track on Quiet Your Mind is its own glorious journey. The pop mastermind has fully taken the reigns and released 11 tracks that may, for now, fly under the radar but are pop perfection filled with genuine emotion.
The album’s title, Quiet Your Mind, is an ode to Warren’s self-confessed ability to overthink.
“I’m an overthinker for sure, which is what made making the album and what makes being a writer possible. It can also be exhausting and can get me into bad situations. I knew I was going to be seeing it [the album title] a lot so it’s a reminder to myself more than anything.”
“Overthinking is definitely helpful. So much of songwriting is blowing up situations and making mountains out of molehills. It’s a gift and a curse.”
The album journeys through these stories and emotions with an “honest, organic and comforting” consistency, as Warren coins when pressed to boil the record down to three words.
Despite years of putting pen to paper and words to melodies, there are only two tracks that haven’t come about recently, Warren reveals.
“A couple of the songs on the album, ‘Not Ready To Dance’ and ‘Just Click’ are both 4 years old. Those were the songs that were really personal to me. Having those songs made me realise I had something that I want to say. Everytime my manager said someone was interested in it I’d be like, I don’t know if I want someone else to cut that.”
It’s a good thing Warren stuck her heels in to keep those. ‘Just Click’ is a fun-filled production triumph and ‘Not Ready To Dance’ finishes the record with a heartstring-pulling flourish.
‘Something To Hold On To’ is another stand-out with its melancholic lyrics and thumping drum. “I started that song on the piano”, Warren reminisces, “My boyfriend was outside smoking cigs and I had asked him to stop a million times and he was reading it as I was trying to control him or boss him around, but it’s so much bigger than that. I got upset enough to go sit at the piano and start writing it out.”
When it comes to her highly sought-after songwriting techniques, Warren talks of both a formula to follow and a desire to keep herself moving in different direction.
“Every time I get into a set of rules, you get stuck. Music is changing so often and you have to stay with it. There’s a few things that I always try and keep in mind, more melody and structural stuff and trying to keep the sections different from each other. But when I have abandoned my own guidelines, that’s when the best happens.”
It’s a different technique when writing for other artists too. “I really try to make songs about the person I’m in the room with”, Warren says. It’s an ability to keep the tracks she makes authentic to the artist she is working with and, as a result, “there aren’t any songs that have come out for other artists that I regret not singing.”
The reaction of those pop star colleagues to Quiet Your Mind touched the songwriter. “That was one of the most amazing parts of release day was that so many people I’ve worked with and sharing it. It’s one thing for people to listen, it’s another for them to go out of their way to share it.”
That list of colleagues include Sigrid, Anne-Marie, Bebe Rexha, David Guetta, Charli XCX, Alessia Cara… the register is endless.
“I think it’s awesome [the pop industry], when I was starting out 5 or 6 years ago, music was in such a different place. It was so important to just have a concept-y song and just melodies but now lyrics and storytelling are becoming super important.”
“Few songs get through unless they are saying something interesting. It’s much more challenging I think, but it’s super fun to be a part of that. It feels more like there’s a point to it rather than just writing something catchy.”
Quiet Your Mind is a record made by a mind at the forefront of pop music. But it’s even more than just pop brilliance. These are human experiences, stories delivered with a wink, and deserves the platform to rival the best records of 2018.
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