We had the good fortune of connecting with emlyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi emlyn, what do you attribute your success to?
For so long, in the music industry, I felt there was an expectation to appear a certain way. Style, in particular, was something that had not always come easily for me. I’m a musician after all; what I’d been taught to focus on was how to create the best song or sing in a way sets me apart from the crowd. I soul-searched for months trying to figure out how to “present” myself to the public. Should I dress more girly? Do I need to lose weight? Should I try not to post too many instagram photos? I was considering what my “brand” should be by comparing myself to others or trying to meet a certain “criteria” for female pop artists. It wasn’t until a moment in late August that I figured it out for myself. The night of my actual birthday I threw on a baggy t-shirt and some shorts with some gold accessories and a bold colorful eyeliner. I wasn’t thinking much about how to appear. I was going to a dive bar with my closest friends, and chose an outfit that made me feel the most comfortable. Then the next night (the night of my party) I wore a tight floral skirt and top. I was adjusting myself all night, uncomfortable and insecure in an outfit that felt exposing and, honestly, just not “me.” I looked beautiful both nights and there was nothing wrong with either outfit. But flipping back through photos from the weekend, I was free spirited and filled with joy the night of my actual birthday. It wasn’t a result of the baggy t-shirt and shorts, per se, but it was the feeling of just being the truest version of myself – both effortless and bold. That feeling of authenticity is what really defined me, and I try to apply that in all areas of my work. When I write a song, I ask myself “is this real? Is this the truth?” When I sing on stage, am I singing from my heart? When i get dressed in the morning, am I performing for someone else, or am I honoring my truth? I find success in what I do when people believe that I’m not trying to be someone else. I’m just me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an artist and songwriter. I was born in Nashville, Tennessee and always knew that I wanted to make music. I would say the number one thing that sets me apart from others is the way I share my heart in my songs. I have no interest in filtering the truth. Growing up with a father, sister, and brother in recovery, I had the opportunity to play some of my songs at a rehabilitation center for people struggling with addiction. I didn’t know much about drugs and alcohol at 13 and 14 when I was performing, but having family members in recovery, I did know how it affected me and those I love. I wrote and sang my truth, whether it was pain or hope or a mix of emotions. And I was lucky enough to see that honesty was what drew people to come speak to me after I performed. People in this center that were recovering from the darkest parts of their lives, connected with my words. As early as I could remember, truth was what I noticed, resonated with people from all walks of life. I have overcome challenges in both my personal and professional life from as young as I can remember. Growing up in Nashville surrounded by musicians, people would always tell me “you know you’ve got about a one in a million shot at making it in the music industry.” I knew it, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t care. I’ve kept my head down and focused on the positive things I knew to be true- I am good at what I do, I am driven, and I continue to want this with a passion. To this day, when I find myself getting insecure or scared, I push myself to focus only on the things I can control. I push myself to be the best songwriter, vocalist, artist, client, friend, sister, daughter that I can be. Everything else in this industry, just requires a little faith.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I am a huge coffee and food lover. While I’m still getting to know the hot spots of LA, I have found a few hubs that I love. For coffee, a must-stop would be La Colombe in Silver Lake. Their oat milk draft lattes have the texture of melted ice cream without all the sugar- my favorite! There is an outdoor seating area and a light and breezy energy to the place that is unmatched! Additionally, Bricks and Scones in Larchmont provides the cozier vibes. When I’m looking for a spot to get some work done or read a nice book, I’ll grab one of their gluten-free blueberry scones and an almond milk latte and tuck myself away in a corner upstairs. It reminds me a lot of a quiet little library, but still a tinge of excitement. It’s hard to pick a favorite restaurant with all the amazing options in LA, but I would be a failure of a host if I didn’t take my friend to Rao’s in Hollywood. Having spent 3 years in NYC using 3 jars of their marinara sauce a week, and never being able to get a reservation at their New York location, I’m a sucker for this place. The people are so kind and filled with positivity and excitement about the food. They make your meal an experience and take the time to talk to you and get to know what you like. I’ve gone several times with people from my publishing company and they remember us every time! You also have to visit Zuma beach in Malibu if you’re from out of the area. I can’t really explain why, but it is my favorite beach. It’s usually not too crowded, always clean, and the drive up the PCH is a California-must.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to make a shoutout to my incredible mom, Celia. She has raised me to be resilient, dedicated, and focused. She has gone above and beyond to create opportunities for me to strive in all areas of my life, but especially in music because she knows that it brings me joy and fulfillment. She has always supported me and encouraged me, all while empowering me to accomplish things on my own. I love you, Mom!
Sheri Angeles @sheriangeles