The rising musical force looks to introduce the world to her sound as she takes us through her debut EP track by track.
Photography by Jennifer McCord
Photography by Jennifer McCord
A musical newcomer currently making waves and leaving her mark on the industry is the soon-to-be-pop-sensation emie nathan. Giving us our first taste of her infectious sound and bold vocal ability, the artist has released her debut project, “white light”, which stands as an introspective introduction to the artist.
Now, in a bid to ensure that her listeners are able to enjoy an unfiltered take on her artistry, emie has taken the time to welcome Wonderland on a journey through her EP, track by track, ensuring that no note or lyric goes unexplained. Head below to enjoy…
I wrote this song just over a year ago when I was a few months into a new relationship. It tackles the realisation of the fact that I was more often than not a glass-half-empty kind of person, having previously been sure that I always led with optimism. While not necessarily always a bad thing, I started to notice a default negative response within myself, sometimes evading accountability and, worst of all, not giving myself credit where credit was due. My partner said that if someone were to give me a list of one hundred compliments and a single criticism or negative observation, I would surely fixate on the single negative point and disregard all the other wonderful positions.
Picking apart life-long patterns is not always the easiest thing to do or admit to oneself. And while I chose to self-reflect because sometimes I found this aspect of myself to be cold and unforgiving, I remain a work in progress. This song marked the willingness to try and see things through a more positive lens and to allow me to feel celebrated and seen by those who love me and to hold myself to a higher standard.
“upstream” is a reflection of an incredibly polarised headspace I found myself in at the end of 2020. Within the space of 48 hours, I experienced skyrocketing personal highs and plummeting lows. I had a birthday where I turned 24 years old, received news of my Platoon deal and then found out I had lost a family member, who I was unable to see in person for the entire year. Going through the sheer emotional rollercoaster of my achievements, celebrations and relief to the crashing and deeply saddening news of loss, I really struggled to know how and what to feel – even what was okay to feel. It was quite frankly, one of the best and worst moments of my career to date. “Upstream” describes the internal battle I had with myself, reckoning with the spectrum of deep-seated emotions and searching for a guiltless equilibrium in the depths of grief.
Though I only wrote this song about a month ago, it occupies a curious position as the ‘sequel’ of “blue jays”, which was written in early 2020 and set for release later this year as part of the full EP. Instead of focusing on the past, “Roses” follows up with how it feels to be living in the present, not having seen my friends in two years and lacking finality to this extended period of missing each other moving into a post-Covid world.
The chorus describes how easy it is to look back on a moment in time with rose-tinted glasses, imagining everything better than it was in reality (of course), and yet – I don’t glorify my time in the USA. This song narrates how I see it for exactly what it was, the good with the bad and the sweetness that lies in both. The verses unpick my craving for a real and continued experience, knowing that while it remains completely impossible – re-entering a more ‘normal’ way of life feels threatening without my people nearby to stick with and lean on.
Speaking candidly, I am facing a heightened level of social anxiety with restrictions lifting – in good company, i’m sure – and I am finding it hard to fully relax into myself amongst new combinations of people and settings. So, while “Roses” is as much about yearning for a particular group of friends and a more comfortable version of myself, it is also about how hard it is to look ahead and trust that things will get easier in time
Stemming from the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur – the day of atonement – I was inspired by the concept of starting over to write an irreligious song about reconciling with one’s own shortcomings and choosing to be a better version of themselves moving forward. Separating the religious ideology for a moment, atonement and reconciliation are two very real and widely applicable actions we as humans face all the time. I wanted to write something that encourages improvement in whatever way that manifests. When I try to envision an image of sorts that best represents self-reflection and working to right wrongs, I visualise the brightest light you could possibly imagine. It doesn’t really take shape or assume a form, but it is just ever-present and forceful in its shine. If we can embody this image of goodness and take it with us into our daily choices, I think we as people can do a lot better for each other and for ourselves going through the day to day motions.
I grew up in a reformed Jewish household which meant we practised as Jews, but largely stuck to the traditional side of the religion that centres itself around family, food and song. My brothers and I have largely forged our own individual perspectives and relationships regarding our religion as we have grown up, but I think we can agree on how much of the hidden meaning can be translated as good advice for life. Make mistakes? Own them. Hurt someone? Apologise. Hurt yourself? Heal and move on.
“What happens behind closed doors” – is such a curious saying. Growing up, my mum would always remind us that we would never really know everything that goes on in someone else’s life, good or bad. Whilst sometimes this felt like a weak excuse for a peer being mean at school, or something more sinister from a friend or stranger, it still always rings true to a certain degree. It is something I try to carry through my own interactions with those around me, even when the situation is difficult or outwardly doomed in some way. However, leading with kindness and a level of understanding doesn’t mean the same is always going to be returned – albeit a fairly naive revelation to have had at 24 years old, I had to get it out. This song was born out of feeling unseen and unheard following a certain chain of events centring around a lack of consideration and awareness for other possible realities. I felt let down and judged, which in this case was enough to really mess with my head.
When writing this song, I imagined telling those involved that even if things work in their world, they wouldn’t necessarily work in mine or someone else’s. In response, I wanted to celebrate all the things I love about my reality, even if it is on polar opposite ends of the spectrum to another person’s and wildly unappealing to them as a result. I wanted to recognise that the world is richer for these differences, and nothing about it calls for judgement or criticism – or even gossip. I wanted to reclaim power over my own position, and use it as a reminder that everyone is on their own timeline, doing everything they can and that frankly – shit happens (and it happens to everyone).
This song truly has my heart. It depicts a moment in time that will never be revisited, rendering it painfully bittersweet. “blue jays” describes my life in New York, specifically living in a student house with four of my best girlfriends. It exudes a joyful nostalgia as well as a deep longing for these incredible women, Emily, Eva, Julia and Em, having since spent so much time apart.
“I knew I’d found a group of people that I could rely on no matter what. I truly felt like I’d arrived with that particular group of women which I had never encountered before, and haven’t since. I wanted this song to be a freeze-frame of that moment in time – where the five of us were going through the exact same experience at the exact same time in the exact same place, and realise it as a gift to go through these things together.”
I do believe that the pandemic has shed a new light on relationships of all natures. Speaking particularly to friendships, I know the past year has highlighted to me who my real friends truly are. While I know I am not alone in having missed my friends this year, or even missing friends who are scattered halfway across the world – I do know that the physical barriers have only harnessed my appreciation and gratitude for having such support and unconditional love from them. Beyond celebrating my own journey alongside these women, I want this song to be a call to action to tell your friends and those closest to you that they are loved and supported. Now more than ever, it is so important to solidify bonds and pursue connection – even if your nearest and dearest happen to be the furthest away.
I feel as though this is the perfect finisher to the EP. For me, it’s all in the name “full circle”. Everything is cyclical whether you know it at the time or not. While this song could pretty much be about anything and anyone, it speaks to a rough familial blip I experienced through the pandemic. I certainly don’t need to be the one to say the pandemic inflicted a lot of strain onto some relationships and tested dynamics in an unforeseen way – but I can say that it redefined my relationship with my brother for a while.
This song doesn’t seek to focus on how things went south, but rather how they rebuilt after the fact. It acts as full recognition and celebration of the end of a hard time. It highlights that we all had the same goals, but that we took opposite approaches to reach them. What I know now is that everyone is different, my perception won’t be the same as the next person because our chemistry might be contrasting – even if you’ve known that person all your life and share their DNA.
This song is all-encompassing and is my acceptance of when we differ, knowing we will come around to one another again as a family and as people. Without each other, we don’t have anything.