In celebration of the release of “Selfish”, we caught up with ÊMIA for a great chat about taking time to dig deeper into herself as a human being, her music career and much more.
Iuliana: Hey ÊMIA! How are you? Thank you for your time. Let’s start off by telling our readers about yourself. How would you describe your personality in three words?
ÊMIA: Romantic. Chaotic. Loyal.
Iuliana: How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more to stay connected to fans and other musicians?
ÊMIA: I’m trying new things! From having birthday parties on zoom, songwriting collabs on twitch/IG Live, hosting a scavenger hunt on instagram to just reaching out to more people I might not have in general- I think I’m giving myself more room to create new and unique experiences on different social media platforms. Even though it’s not the same, I’ve made some wonderful memories playing games with my friends online, and working on music together with my collaborators remotely.
Iuliana: What first got you into the music world? Who inspired you to make music?
ÊMIA: I was in love with the music I heard on TV and in Disney movies first. Like many kids, I was singing “Part of Your World” in pools and bathtubs and felt very connected with music at that point. I started taking piano lessons when I was about 5. I had a lot of different musical idols growing up, but the person that made me want to write songs was Josiah Leming. He was a contestant on American Idol who auditioned with a song that he wrote acapella. He never made it past the Hollywood round, but I followed his Youtube Channel for several years and became obsessed with the demos he posted. He was amongst many youtubers who wrote their own songs that inspired me to try it out for myself.
Iuliana: How would you describe the music that you typically create? Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
ÊMIA: My music is extremely personal. The feelings will always be honest and even if the lyrics aren’t entirely factual. The songs themselves feel like I’m telling the world a huge secret – so I don’t think I’m hiding anything. Every once in a while, however, I will add in some specific details in my lyrics that only me and perhaps the person I wrote the song about would know. Those same easter eggs might show up in my album artwork, music videos or promo clips.
Iuliana: Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? With that saying, have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
ÊMIA: I miss live shows so much :(( One of my favorite concerts ever was seeing Julia Michaels at Bowery Ballroom last year. Julia Michaels is my favorite songwriter and her show made me want to dance, cry, text my exes and kiss a stranger all at the same time. I was going through a rough time and I remember singing along with her and making eye contact for a couple of seconds – and I kinda died. That’s everything I could ever want from a concert experience.
I am always a wreck before a show. I can’t think of anything but the performance and I have a habit of crashing and getting sick the day after. It’s gotten a lot better though! I have a wonderful band and the more we’ve played together, the more comfortable I feel in all those situations. Shoutout to Sam (my keyboards) and Reggie (my drummer)!
Iuliana: You recently released “Selfish”. What can you tell us about the single? Tell us about the message that you intended to portray throughout the track.
ÊMIA: Yeah! I wrote Selfish when I felt powerless and vulnerable. I was dealing with a lot of internalized shame last year and kept thinking I didn’t deserve to be happy. I wanted to write the badass anthem I needed to sing.I wanted to be my own wild friend that could encourage me to be free. For anyone going through the same insecurities, I hope that it can give you strength or give you the pat on the back you’ve been needing for choosing yourself – even if it is just for 3 minutes.
Iuliana: What musicians have really been inspiring you since you first started making music? Who would you absolutely love to work with?
ÊMIA: SO many! I’ll have to narrow it down. BANKS has been a huge inspiration to me as an artist for a few years now. I’m constantly trying to be as fearless as a performer and writer. My favorite producer is Lido. My dream project would be to make a joint visual album together. And I could never forget my girl, Julia Michaels. If I could just sit in a room with a piano with her and write a song – I think my life would be made.
Iuliana: If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song, who would it be and why?
ÊMIA: Rina Sawayama!! I’ve listened to “Bad Friend” pretty much every day since I first heard it. Not only is her latest album a treasure – I just think she’d be so fun to be around. I’d probably try way too hard to impress her and make her laugh.
Iuliana: Do you have plans to release more new music soon? Any upcoming events or announcements you wish to share?
ÊMIA: Yes! Many more singles coming your way all leading up to my debut album, ZERO (which will be released sometime in the fall). There will also be a visual for selfish coming in a few weeks so stay tuned for that!
Iuliana: Any advice you’d like to share for people who want to chase their artistic dreams?
1. Figure out what success means to you and what brings you joy without outside validation. I think anyone can have talent and drive, but that doesn’t mean anything without a sense of purpose. I’m not saying that you can’t change direction and change your mind, but being aware of where you’re going and checking in on yourself is so important.
2. Learn “the business”, but art comes first. I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that all I need to do is hustle (sending emails, DMing other artists, promoting my shows etc etc) when at the end of the day what’s going to make or break my career is my art. A good way for me to do that is to find ways to create that isn’t connected to getting streams, likes or money.
You got this!! I believe in you.
Follow ÊMIA on Instagram here.