Emily Warren is a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum songwriter who has written for artists such as The Chainsmokers, Frenship, Sean Paul, Charli XCX, Jessie J and Shawn Mendes. On May 5th, 2017, Emily independently released her debut single “Hurt By You,” which received over one million streams in only two weeks.
Emily’s beginnings as an artist came with the success of the hit Frenship single “Capsize” that currently has over 385 million streams on Spotify. Not only did she co-write the hit, but she is also the featured vocalist of the track. She has co-written songs such as “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers, “Masterpiece” by Jessie J and “Strings” by Shawn Mendes. She has gone on to preform on television such as when she was on Jimmy Kimmel Live with Frenship and performed with The Chainsmokers during their Saturday Night Live appearance in April 2017.
Emily released a new single, “Something To Hold On To,” on July 21st, which is an emotional ballad addressing the anxiety of watching a loved one hurt themselves by smoking cigarettes. The Untitled Magazine has the exclusive video premiere and interview with Emily Warren who talks all about the meaning and significance of the video.
Untitled Magazine: What was is the story behind your single, “Something To Hold On To”?
Emily Warren: I wrote “Something to Hold on To” late one night when my boyfriend (who was smoking cigs at the time) said he was going outside to have a smoke. It’s hard to explain the wave of emotion that took me over every time he did that, and then how hard it was for me to calm down, even if I thought at a certain point I was being irrational. But what was hurting me deep down, was the fact that I was going through such a transitional period at the time, and everything around me changing, and watching someone you love and count on do something to harm themselves is inexplicably upsetting. I tried to capture that feeling in this song, and my boyfriend, Phil Leigh, and his production partner Matt Holmes (of Mac & Phil) produced the song and I think really captured this tension and release sonically and in the way the song builds and breaks down again.
UM: The video has a very narrative touch, can you tell us about the inspiration behind the video?
EW: I came up with the video concept with Blythe Thomas, who shot it alongside David O’Donohue. Since the song is so personal and honest I wanted the video to be the same. I sometimes think its funny when people have actors step in for their significant others in videos, but I wanted Phil to be in it – and not only was he willing but he totally crushed it. He’s a natural! The video essentially plays out exactly what the song is about with the real people involved, plus AMAZING outfits styled by the amazing Drew Manares. I’m honestly soooo happy with how it turned out and so excited to be sharing it.
UM: I heard the video was shot at the same house where you wrote the song? Can you tell us about that?
EW: Yeah! That’s my parents house in the woods and we went out there to camp out and write songs for my album a few months ago. I sat down at that very same piano that’s in the video one night and wrote the song, so it was a no-brainer when it came to chasing the video location. The house is beautiful with great 60s/70s style decor so it just worked out perfectly with the aesthetic I was going for.
UM: You have written some very well known songs for other artists including The Chainsmokers and Melanie Martinez, do you have a different process when writing music for yourself versus other musicians?
EW: The process is the same in the sense that when I’m working with other artists I’m interested in exploring and writing about the truth. Most of my sessions start with in-depth conversations about whatever the artist I’m working with is going through and the song idea always comes from those conversations. Looking into myself was a bit more challenging at first, but it’s therapeutic. Especially this song. It had been so long since I’d just sat down at the piano and expressed what was in my mind which is what I used to do when I first started writing.
UM: Which other musicians inspire your work?
EW: My all time favs are Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles and John Mayer. I’m a sucker for lyrics and story telling and people who look at things in interesting and enlightening ways. I’ve learned a lot from listening to them.
UM: What can we look forward to next from you?
EW: I’ll be putting out at least one more single and then an album but for the time being we’re just finishing up all of the songs and deciding the form in which to release them as we go along. At the same time, I’m still doing lots of writing with other artists and have a few fun things coming out soon!