emily warren
credit: David O'Donohue

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Emily Warren chats ‘Paranoid’, forthcoming debut album and more

There is no doubt that Emily Warren is a force to be reckoned with. A captivating songstress and an exquisite in-demand songwriter, her talent has led her to working with some of the industry’s hottest artists, writing a Grammy winning song and being named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Music Class of 2018.

As a respected songwriter, Emily has written for and with everyone from The Chainsmokers to Dua Lipa, Little Mix to 5 Seconds of Summer, and Shawn Mendes to Bebe Rexha. Her songwriting credits are extraordinary to read and it never fails to put a smile on our face when we discover a new song which has been given a sprinkle of Emily Warren magic.

Whilst writing for others plays an enormous part in her life, over the past year or so Emily has truly worn her heart on her sleeve by releasing her very own music. From the vulnerable ‘Hurt By You’, the authentic ‘Something To Hold On To’, to the hypnotic ‘Poking Holes’, Emily has captivated listeners with her raw honesty and emotionally powerful offerings.

Emily’s latest single ‘Paranoid’ is just as candid as her previous tracks, although sonically it showcases a slightly different side to the singer-songwriter. Teamed up with a striking Alfred Hitchcock-inspired visual, ‘Paranoid’ certainly packs a punch and has the potential to be Emily’s most successful solo offering yet.

All four of Emily’s solo releases lead towards her forthcoming debut album. If her previous offerings are anything to go by then we’re certainly in for an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, and we couldn’t be more excited for it.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Emily about ‘Paranoid’, her forthcoming debut album, the origin of that iconic line from Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, her advice for budding songwriters and more.

emily warren
credit: David O’Donohue

Congratulations on the release of your new single ‘Paranoid’! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track?

Thanks so much!! I went away on a writing trip with some of my favorite people last year to make some songs for my album, and one morning all of us ended up in the same room and got to talking and that’s where it all began… 

How long did it take for you to write the song?

We wrote everything except the bridge that morning in a few hours, and when I went back in to record the vocals a few weeks later I wrote the bridge. 

Is there a particular lyric from the song which stands out as a favourite?

I’m really happy with the chorus – I think it’s really simple and clear/to the point, and it’s fun fitting those lines in odd rhythms. 

The music video for ‘Paranoid’ is out now! What can you tell us about it?

You’re gonna LOVE it!! I did it with my friend Matt Porter who directed my last video and who never ceases to amaze. Matt came up with the whole concept and it plays into the idea of “paranoia” quite a bit.

‘Paranoid’ will feature on your forthcoming debut album, which we’re so excited for. What do you hope that listeners will take away from your album?

Aw, thank you so much!! I’m hoping there’s a lil somethin for everyone. These songs are pretty much a diary of the past year or so of my life but I’ve tried to make things really honest in hope that beyond being an outlet for me, personally, they provide some comfort to its listeners who see a little of themselves in these songs. 

In addition to being a captivating singer, you are also a prolific songwriter with some incredible credits under your belt. What advice would you give to any budding songwriters out there?

I’d say the most important thing is trust yourself. It’s a bit cliche, but what makes everybody great is their individuality. I think once you get insecure and start trying to write like others or compare yourself to others, you lose the magic. I think if you make the choices that make you happy and the rest will follow. 

It’s safe to say that one of your biggest songwriting success stories is Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, one of the greatest pop songs in years. During the songwriting process, did you ever imagine that the song would take off as it did?

Wow, thank you so much! I always loved the song but I don’t think I would ever have predicted what happened. I still am not so sure I even fully get it. It feels really amazing to have been a part of something like that, pretty much all you can hope for as a writer!!

Not only do people love ‘New Rules’ because of the three step rule in the chorus, but it also has one of the most iconic lines in pop history – “And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him”. We’ve been dying to know how that particular lyric/idea came about…

It’s so funny actually. my publisher, Rhea Pasricha, one time at dinner years ago, said, “well you can’t get over him until you get under someone else” while we were talking about some boy drama and it just always stuck with me. Caroline Ailin (who I wrote the song with) and I were talking about that idea in the session and it just fit perfectly. So shout out to Rhea she’s the true genius behind that lyric. 

2018 has already been a great year for you in terms of songwriting, with credits for the likes of Sigrid, Anne-Marie, Sean Paul, and your good friends The Chainsmokers. Do you have a favourite co-write from the year so far?

Ah man, it’s so hard to say. Drew and Alex from the Chainsmokers are always the best to work with because we’ve been doing it for years now so they’re friends first. It really never feels like work when we make music, so its’ always an absolute pleasure. Sigrid is also my girl, and I just had the privilege of going to work in a crazy amazing studio in her hometown in Norway with her and Martin Sjøle and it was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time. 

One of our personal faves is Sigrid’s ‘High Five’, two sensational female artists working together! You’re both similar artists in terms of wearing your heart on your sleeve, does this make the songwriting process a lot smoother?

Thank you!! Absolutely. Sigrid is an absolute joy to work with because she’s an amazing human being, and so fun to sit and hang and talk with, so we usually just talk and talk forever and the song sort of writes itself. She’s amazing to work with as well because she’s so sure of herself, knows exactly what she does and wants to say, and she’s got great energy. I always feel creatively rejuvenated after working with her. 

You’ve also played a hand in The Chainsmokers’ latest material which is definitely a lot different, some would even say darker, than before. With some artists you might just write one song with them and that’s it. However, having actually written a lot with them over the years, what has it been like to witness their sound evolving and to actually be a part of that journey?

It’s really the ideal situation. I definitely do my best work when the artist and I trust each other. I’ve known Drew and Alex for a while now and they took me on tour with them last spring so when it comes to writing honest songs about their lives and situations, it’s so much easier because I’ve been around for a lot of it and been able to watch it first hand. I’m at my happiest and most creative when I get to be a part of something honest and meaningful and that’s why working with them is so sick. They’re true artists who put the art before success, and it’s an absolute honor to be a part of their project! 

You’re forever writing for yourself and other artists – do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you try and overcome it?

I do, but I try not to indulge in it. It’s definitely a rollercoaster, as I’m sure it is in any creative field. Sometimes I’m confident and inspired, and sometimes I’m stuck and can’t get anything. I think the trick is taking a break in those moments. Get some fresh air, talk about something else for a little. I’ve had to teach myself that getting something amazing every day would be ridiculous and not to put so much pressure on the outcome, and to try to enjoy the process even when I feel stuck. 

You are part of the mentorship program with LIMPI – Lillehammer Institute of Music Production & Industries in Oslo. How have you found this experience so far?

It’s really just the early stages at this point so I haven’t been over to Oslo yet, but I’m really excited to be a part of this program, I think it’s going to be amazing! 

You were also named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 at the end of last year. This is such a prestigious list – what did it mean to you to be a part of it?

I still have to pinch myself, genuinely. Being named on that list really put things into perspective for me and it was such a crazy crazy honor. I’m very lucky to be on that list and doing something that gives me so much joy every day. What a life!!!

You had the opportunity to tour with The Chainsmokers last year – are there any plans for you to do your own tour this year?

I’m doing a few one-off things, like KAABOO festival and San Diego in September, and probably a few little things here and there, but no real plan to tour at the moment. 

What else does 2018 have in store for you?

Besides the album probably more and more music!! 

Thank you so much to Emily Warren for her time. Keep up to date with her via TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

‘Paranoid’ is available now.

Loving Emily Warren as much as we are? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina
Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com