We’ve all heard (and played on repeat) the hit song “Paris,” but did you know about the brains and beauty behind those lyrics? We can’t get enough of Emily Warren. Maybe it’s her super-edgy straight-across bangs, or her cool-girl, laid-back vibes, or her single, “Hurt By You,” which we’ve had looped on repeat since it came out. Maybe it’s the fact that she writes songs and performs with everyone’s favorite band, The Chainsmokers, but also for tons of other A-list artists like Shawn Mendes, Jessie J, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, Melanie Martinez and Sean Paul. Whatever the reason, she’s the kind of girl you want to be, but also the girl you want to be best friends with, since she doesn’t hold back anything, in her song lyrics or in real life. We stopped by Emily Warren’s dressing room to chat with her before The Chainsmokers’ live concert, and definitely left a little wiser: this girl is seriously inspirational! Here’s what Emily had to share with Justine…
Justine Magazine: Your new single “Hurt By You” has suddenly become our summer anthem, and we don’t anticipate turning it off any time soon. What inspired those lyrics?
Emily Warren: I wrote that song pretty early on in my relationship with my boyfriend now, when I was first falling in love with him. Besides my grandparents, my parents were both previously divorced before they met each other. I feel like people are cheating on each other all the time, so for me when I was falling in love with someone, I was like, “This is doomed!” I was having these moments where I’d think, “Okay, this is scary to open yourself up to someone like this.” And it’s so scary to be vulnerable when you know people hurt each other. So this song is just a reminder to myself not hold back and to just let it happen. If it’s the right person, then it’s worth taking the risk.
JM: What is it that you love the most about writing a song?
EW: When I’m writing with other artists, I love listening to them vent and turning it into a song. I like to sit down with them and talk for however long it takes, an hour, three hours, to figure out what’s going on with them. I feel like a lot of writers kind of have a concept in mind when they go into a session and for me I’d way rather make it about something real. It’s a really gratifying feeling to help someone get their story out and then have something that feels like a relief to them to listen to. If you have a real story it’s easy to try and kind of piece it together, and then it’s relatable. Because chances are someone has felt a similar thing.
JM: Between the quieter setting of a songwriting session and the louder setting of performing onstage, which one is your favorite?
EW: I don’t know! They’re so different and I think they both kind of help you appreciate the other. They’re both great. And honestly, what is so cool about this tour is I’m singing songs that I’ve written and watching people sing the lyrics back to me. That’s kind of a new experience for me.
JM: Do you have any pre-show good luck rituals that you do?
EW: I do my own hair and makeup, so it’s just like a moment for me to just chill and do that before the show. But yeah, I warm up and listen to music sometimes. “Breathe” by Astrid S is my favorite song right now. I can’t get enough!
JM: Has there been a moment in your career when you’ve really felt on top of the world?
EW: I feel like that’s happening all the time still. Like, this tour is crazy! This is my first tour ever which is ridiculous and every night after the show is over, I can’t believe it happened. And then we’re in another city and there’s more thousands of people in front of us. But, I don’t know, every night of my life is an amazing moment.
JM: Did you always know you wanted a career in music?
EW: No. Actually, when I started out writing songs I was in fifth grade and I was really just doing it for fun. It was my dad who thought we should start getting some of them recorded. And then when I started putting a band together, the people in that band were kind of all more serious than I was. I was really just doing it for fun. Then when it started turning into something, I realized that this is an actual, real potential job.
JM: Do you have a personal mantra that keeps you going, or some words of wisdom that you live by?
EW: Treat everybody with kindness. I feel like this tour has really been a testament to that. When things first started taking off for me last year, it was making me really anxious. I’d do things like sit down to a meal with friends and just be talking about that anxiety and complaining. I felt like the more I put it out there the more I was getting back bad energy and bad vibes. I’ve definitely calmed down and learned to appreciate everything. Now I approach everything with a better mood, and you kind of get that back to you. A lot of these things, like performing in front of this many people, could be really scary or you could view it as “this is amazing, and this is what I want to do” and people are reacting to it and it feels good. So it’s kind of all just your attitude.