EXCLUSIVE! Singer-songwriter Emily James is in her healing era

Headphones = on. Candles = lit. Your new in-your-feels crush song = on repeat.

Singer-songwriter Emily James knows a thing or two about crafting the perfect emotional tune—and her upcoming E.P. The aLtErNaTeS Pt. 2 is hard proof.

This gal's got a knack for channeling her irl heartbreak into the realest, rawest music. Just take a listen to her first single (which she also produced on her own, NBD): "This'll Only Hurt For a Minute" is the healing anthem we all need rn.

We sat down with Emily to chat about her new tune, her creative process and her major musical influences (spoiler alert: she's a total Chappell Roan girlie). Trust, you're gonna want to add her to your summer must-stream list. 

Girls' Life: Tell us about the sound and story behind your new song, "This'll Only Hurt For a Minute."

Emily James: It's definitely a moodier one. It's about when you've been numbing yourself or trying to push away the pain of something. You don't want to address it, and then it comes to a point where you have to sit in a room, light a candle and let it all out. 

GL: What was it like producing this track entirely on your own?

Emily: It was very empowering. When I work with another producer, it's always very collaborative. But it's cool when I can really take my time and experiment. If there's something that's hard to put into words or explain to somebody, I know how I want it to sound. With a song like this, I had to do it by myself because of the message.

GL: What can we expect from your new E.P.?

Emily: It's an extension of The aLtErNaTeS Pt. 1. That one was about getting caught up in a romantic relationship and the fallout. Pt. 2 is the healing process of coming out of that relationship. I'm excited—I think this E.P. is very vibrant. It has a lot of textures to it. And while Pt. 1 gets drawn in at the end, Pt. 2 blooms out. I'm excited for everyone to hear the rest of it. 

GL: Who's your biggest musical inspiration?

Emily: Definitely Stevie Nicks—I love her. I love Fleetwood Mac, and especially with ["This'll Only Hurt For a Minute"], it has the same witchy vibes. I love Rachel Chinouriri, too. I've been listening to Chappell Roan's album a ton. I love anybody who creates a whole world with their art, and her look and visuals are just so beautiful. I'm also going to the Noah Kahan concert in a couple weeks when he comes to California, so that'll be fun!

GL: Could you walk us through your songwriting process?

Emily: Sometimes, I'll be literally doing my makeup or something, and a line comes into my head, and I'll write it down in my Notes app to expand on it later. Or I'll sit down at the piano or guitar and start playing things until something hits me. I'll start singing melodies over it, and words will start tumbling out. I let it lead me and a lot of times, it's my subconscious, things I didn't even realize I was thinking about. It's very therapeutic in that sense.

GL: What's your best advice for aspiring musicians?

Emily: Keep at it every day. I think structure and schedules allow you to bloom, rather than being loose and scattered where you can't tap into that inspirational source. For me, having structure and being intentional with my time has been really helpful.

GL: Any other exciting events on the horizon?

Emily: The E.P. will be coming out July 26, and on July 25, I'll be doing a release show in L.A. at Hotel Café. I'm just excited for this E.P. to come out. I've been working on new music as well, so I already have the next thing in the works. But for now, I'm just excited to have The aLtErNaTeS Pt. 2 come to completion.

Click here to stream "This'll Only Hurt For a Minute"
+ stay tuned for the release ofThe aLtErNaTeS Pt. 2 on July 26!

Top and slider image: Lyndsey Byrnes


by Sophie LaBella | 6/14/2024