As an artist, EMME has had numerous collaborations with DJs like LeYouth and Tritonal, gaining hundreds of thousands of fans and listeners over the last few years. Today (February 14), she’s excited to release music on her own, and is about to follow her premiere single “Valley Girl” with our new favorite, “Hold On To The Heart.”
As a songwriter, she has been applauded by superstar Brandy and she has been a writer for many successful projects, including Grace Vanderwaal’s “Hideaway,” which was featured as an original song in the Paramount film Wonder Park.
Celeb Secrets caught up with EMME to learn more about her inspiration behind the song, what self-love means to her, and what it was like to hear Brandy gush about her writing abilities! Scroll down for the full Q&A and don’t forget to let us know what you think of her single, “Hold On To The Heart,” by leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a DM on Instagram at @celebsecrets.
Celeb Secrets: Since it’s your first time chatting with us, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
EMME: “I was born in LA and grew up in Newbury Park, CA. I’ve been singing, playing piano, and writing my own songs since I was young. My dad is an amazing R&B singer and sax player. His career as a touring musician and his music taste – Maxwell to Stevie Wonder to Earth, Wind, and Fire – inspired me to pursue a career in music. When I was 16 years old I was cast on the tv show ‘Majors and Minors’ on the Hub Network, where I competed alongside 11 other castmates for a record deal with RCA. Being mentored by artists like Jennifer Hudson, Avril Lavigne, Ryan Tedder, and Brandy blows my mind to this day! Following the show, I attended the University of Southern California, where I got my degree in Popular Music Performance with an emphasis in songwriting. I still feel so lucky that a program like that existed when I went to school and was mentored by amazing musicians there as well. While at school I had the opportunity to perform for Bill Withers.”
CS: Wow, that’s quite the start you had there! Tell us more about your experience on Majors & Minors! What was it like being mentored by Brandy?
EMME: “Working with Brandy was absolutely surreal. I grew up watching her as Cinderella and was obsessed with her song ‘Right Here (Departed),’ so meeting her was a dream come true. She told me I could be ‘one of the greatest songwriters ever’ after hearing my original song ‘Mother’s Rose Garden’ on the show. Still shocked that she said that, and doing my best to live up to her expectations!”
CS: Well, we definitely think you’re making her proud. We love Hold On To The Heart. What was your inspiration behind creating this song?
EMME: “I wrote this song at a time when I was going through a lot of personal growth and self reflection. After living through the pandemic and reevaluating a lot of things in my life, I realized how little I prioritized myself and wondered if I truly loved myself. Since I was 16, I have never really been single, and I have a strong tendency to search for happiness and identity in relationships. So I wrote this song as a reminder to put myself first and take the time to learn how to love myself too.”
CS: That’s the most important gift we can give to ourselves! What was your creative process like for this song?
EMME: b”When I went into the writing session with Sam Creighton, Will Jay and Bluf, it felt like therapy talking through everything that had been living in my head during that time. We started talking about how I wanted to learn to show myself love in the way that I give it to everyone else in my life. I talked about the musical direction I wanted the song to live in, and then Will immediately jumped on the piano and started playing and singing the chorus melody. And from then the melodies and lyrics started pouring out at the same time so easily.”
CS: It must be nice when you have a flow like that. This is your second single as a solo artist, that’s so exciting! What is the difference between writing for yourself and writing for DJ songs?
EMME: “When writing for DJ’s, they will often have certain themes or concepts they want their songs to center around (e.g. something romantic, feel-good, or hopeful), so a lot of times it can feel slightly vague or less specific to certain moments in my life. Whereas with writing for myself, I can write about absolutely anything I want. It’s my opportunity to tell my own stories and share what I want with the world. So there’s a lot more freedom.”
CS: Have you always been creatively inclined? What was your first (or favorite) musical memory?
EMME: “I’ve been singing and performing since I was young, and remember putting on performances for my family on the ledge- turned-makeshift-stage near the tv in my living room. Whenever my mom would pull out the video camera to film my brother and me, I always wanted to be the center of attention (laughs). A lot of that came from going to some of my Dad’s shows and watching him perform. I wanted to be just like him – up on a stage performing for big crowds of people.”
CS: So it runs in the family! You’ve written a lot of songs, but can you tell us about your favorite song that you’ve helped write that another artist has put out?
EMME: “The most meaningful song I was a part of writing was Grace VanderWaal’s “Hideaway” that was featured in the Paramount animated movie Wonder Park. I wrote the song with some of my best friends and collaborators, Jonny Shorr, Will Jay, and Katie Stump. We wrote the song on a boat, while taking a break from a writing camp (how ironic). Jonny brought along a ukulele and we all started writing the song. It came together so quickly, I initially didn’t think much of it, but when we listened back to the demo, I realized how incredible the song was. And then it felt like everything sort of fell into place. Writing on ukulele made us think of Grace VanderWaal, and then Paramount needed a song for their new movie that fit the theme of our song. It definitely doesn’t happen like that everytime, but this song coming out meant so much to me.”
CS: It seems like you’re involved in so many aspects of the industry! Do you think it’s important to wear many hats?
EMME: “Definitely. It’s really tough to make it in music as only a songwriter, so it’s important to widen your range of work and be willing to try different things. You never know when someone may also need a vocal producer, singer, or pianist in a session, so being able to offer something else can open up so many more doors. There have been times where I was initially just the songwriter in the room working with an artist, but then I was actually able to help guide them through their vocal delivery, arrange vocal parts, and even add backing vocals myself.”
CS: You’re doing it all! Love it. What’s coming next? When can your fans expect the next release?
EMME: “’Hold Onto the Heart’ will be coming out on Valentine’s Day (2/14) and I can’t wait to put it out! Beyond that, I’m dropping another single in April with the rest of my debut EP to follow. I have a lot of new music coming and am so excited to share it with the world.
CS: And finally, we’re Celeb Secrets- can you share a secret of yours that no one knows, or may surprise your listeners?
EMME: “One thing that may surprise people is that I love traveling, especially to southeast Asia where I’ve visited Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. And during a layover on one trip I actually walked part of the Great Wall of China!”