Blowing Up Like a Volcano
by Ethan Serling and Adam MacDonald
Emily Hearn has been turning heads as of late, with her newest album Hourglass, which was just released a couple months ago. Her single “Volcano,” is the top-rated song on iTunes from her new album and Emily has gained quite a new fan base after the song was played on an episode of Jane the Virgin.
In concert, Emily smiles after a long round of applause from the crowd after playing “Volcano,” and introduces the man next to her playing the keyboard. He is Michael Harrison, her tour manager, co-writer, and husband. The crowd lets out an “awww,” and applauds.
Emily describes her touring on the road with her husband and the incredible experience it has been being able to write with him. She talks about a time when they briefly visited Michigan and were not prepared for the weather at all, so she is happy she is performing in Philadelphia during the warm month of May.
Backstage before that show, the 24-year-old singer songwriter from Athens, Georgia talked with us about Hourglass, and how she got Bill Murray for her music video.
You’re just a couple days into the tour here, are there any cities you’re really excited to get to?
We end this tour in Anaheim, which is just outside LA. I’ve never been to LA before, so I’m excited about that.
When did you know being on stage and being a singer is what you wanted to do?
Actually it was kind of late, later than most people. I was going to attend the University of Georgia, so in 2008 I packed up and moved to Athens, Georgia. I wanted to study journalism actually. I wanted to write for magazines or maybe write books. Just before I left for college, I taught myself to play guitar. I would sing when I did that, but I never really started writing songs until I got to college. Athens happens to be a music town. A lot of bands got their start out of Athens: REM, the B-52’s and a lot more recent bands, too. There are a lot of venues [in Athens]. I played a venue one time. It was really small. It was just kind of a whim, and I remember falling in love with it. So I kept writing songs and kept taking gigs in local college towns and eventually it spread nationwide.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a musician?
Maybe graphic design. I’ve thought about that before. I’ve thought about going back to school to study making things look good. I like layouts and I like to paint and draw.
Your new album Hourglass just came out a few months ago. What kind of reception have you been getting?
It’s been awesome. I’ve released three albums before this. Two of them were EP’s and one was a full length. They were all fun and different in their own way, but this has been the one that has been the most exciting. I put more work into it beforehand than I did on any other album. I got to co write with my husband a lot, which was really fun. This guy Ben Rector, I’m a big fan of his and we got to co-write for this album. His career is kind of the dream so I was really excited about that.
When putting together the new album, what did you try to keep in mind for a different sound?
I’ve done a lot more broken down, acoustic things in the past. I did one full band album that was a little bit more like, two electric guitars, and predictable full band [sound]. But for the last album, Promises, I did five songs that were pretty broken down, leaning toward country. So for this album I knew I wanted to add in a little bit of subtle programming, like maybe a lead part on the keys rather than on the guitar. I don’t know if we had many acoustic guitars on the album at all.
Were there any specific types of inspiration you gravitated towards while making this album?
For this album I tried out something new, and I didn’t listen to any music. I listened to a lot of podcasts in the car and I was inspired by subjects. I was doing a lot of traveling. I was on tour at the time, so I was inspired by sights, and cities, and climate, and that kind of thing. How I felt in different cities inspired my music more so than an inspirational album I was listening to, which was cool.
How did you get together with Bill Murray for the “Rooftop” music video in 2012?
I have a mutual friend with Bill Murray, which is crazy. I didn’t know that my friend knew Bill Murray. My friend was helping me organize this music video. We were filming it in Charleston, South Carolina. The song is called “Rooftop, ” so we were going to sing and dance on some rooftops. We get down to debrief before the next morning we started filming and they mention, “Oh we might have a celebrity guest. Bill Murray lives around here. We left your CD on his porch and texted him and said, were filming this music video tomorrow if you want to show up tomorrow, do!” And he did!
The number one track from Hourglass on iTunes is “Volcano.” Can you talk about how you wrote it and what’s it about?
“Volcano” is very different from a lot of songs I’ve written in the past. It’s about loss. It’s even about divorce and broken families and things like that. My husband and I sat down and wrote it with a friend who is also named Emily [Lynch]. We started with the imagery, the idea of a volcano gone cold. All of us have known families and marriages that have ended in divorce and we really felt like it was a subject we wanted to write about. I think its been touching for a lot of people in a lot of different ways, just when someone is feeling alone or feeling lost. Recently, we just had it on an episode of Jane the Virgin on the CW. It was in the middle of a big breakup scene and everyone is commenting on YouTube, “I think Jane should stay with Michael or whoever.” (Laughs)
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 12, 2015.
Photo Credits: © 2015 Adam MacDonald. All rights reserved.