Emily Jackson is an American singer and actress who gave up a label contract as a teen to study acting at the prestigious CalArts School of Theater. Even though her acting career has landed her roles in movies like Incarnate and the latest season of House of Cards, she kept hearing the question, “Why aren’t you still singing?”. Therefore, Emily made a bold decision to move from Los Angeles to New York where she found herself surrounded by an energy that led her back to the world of music.
Finally, after 10 long years, she is back behind the mic to bring us a haunting and emotional “Oh Mother” which initially began as a letter to her own mother that later grew into an open letter to herself and the world.
Today Jackson is ready to share the official music video (Directed by Jamie Dack) for the single which was exclusively screened at The Roxy Hotel in NYC on Wednesday for The Roxy Underground Film Festival.
Recently, CelebMix had a chance to speak to Emily about her past, present and a future goal to get “Oh Mother” as the trailer music for the Game of Thrones. Check out the interview below!
“I wasn’t making the music I wanted to make.”
10 years ago you gave up a label contract to study acting. Have you ever regretted it?
Yes and no. I regretted it for a long time because I felt in some way like I had given up. I never meant for this to happen but I pretty much stopped singing after that.
No, because I wasn’t happy with the music I was making. It wasn’t me and there were all of these obstacles that kept coming up along the way that were just signs that it somehow wasn’t meant to be. I also don’t regret it because of the amazing experience(S) I had at CalArts.
Why did you decide to give up a major label contract and study acting?
Similar to what I said before- I wasn’t making the music I wanted to make. The label wasn’t supportive of me raising those concerns and wanting to try other things. They also wanted me to be in New York and more focused on music and CalArts wanted me to be in LA and more focused on their program. Both parties made it really hard to do both. There were a lot of haters too, especially when I got to CalArts. Some of the faculty thought I wasn’t committed because I was flying back every weekend to do industry showcases in NYC. One professor even told me he didn’t think I’d make it through the program because I wasn’t serious enough about acting. I also got made fun of by my peers. My old music seemed to be the butt of a lot of jokes. I was young, impressionable and those things hurt. I wish I could say that didn’t have an effect on me, but looking back I can admit that they did.
What’s the best thing about being an actor? And what’s the best thing about being a singer?
The best thing about being an actor is the variety of work I get to do. Whenever I start work on a new project it’s like the first day of school all over again. New people, new challenges, and sometimes new places you get to travel to. I love the thrill that comes with that. It’s never boring. My favorite thing about being a singer is performing in such a pure way and connecting with people by being exactly who I am, my most unedited self.
Do you think you could ever quit acting and focus only on music? Or are they both equally important to you?
I hope there is a period of time where I am able to focus totally on music, for tour or something like that. I really hope to tour after the EP comes out. I’ve never done that. But I don’t think I would ever quit. I love them both I am excited that they seem to be able to work simultaneously at the moment.
You’ve recently released your new single “Oh Mother”. To the people who haven’t heard it yet, what do you think are a few words that describe it best?
A deep, emotional and anthemic sonic landscape.
Who inspired “Oh Mother”?
My Mom. But also me. It started as a letter to her, but then became more of a letter to myself.
And how was an idea for a music video born? What was the inspiration behind it?
To be honest, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for this video. My good friend, Jamie Dack, approached me after I sent her the song and basically demanded to do it, haha. But I was already slated to work on it with a different director. Several months after this conversation my initial project fell through and I called her. She said she was going to be in San Diego but if I wanted to fly out there she had scouted some amazing locations and thought we could make something really cool. It seemed kind of crazy to go all the way to San Diego to do a video, but I totally trust Jamie and her vision, so I felt like I should take a chance. I’m really glad I did. She found these locations that were so simple but breathtaking. She really has an eye for that – capturing the beauty in something that other people just see as totally mundane. I wanted people to have their own interpretation of the song, and she really created something that honored that. The locations she chose aren’t overbearing, but they capture the sense of loneliness and expansive longing that I feel are a big part of the song. (Jamie is amazing – she just had her first film premiere at Cannes.)
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you want to work with?
Hans Zimmer – but I don’t know if he would produce an indie pop record.
I’d also love to work with Woodkid and Dan Auerbach.
Finally, what can your fans expect from you in the future? What are your goals/plans?
My next single will be out in a couple months, and then an EP at the beginning of next year. My bigger and more immediate (and insane) goal right now is to campaign to get “Oh Mother” as the trailer music for the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer. I am hoping if enough people comment on my Instagram maybe the producers will take notice. I also am working on cutting my own fan trailer to put out on the internet and see what happens. Gotta shoot my shot, ya know?