By: Shayla Lee
Some people invest in Bitcoin and others invest in Ethereum but if I had money (newsflash: I don’t), I would betting that 2018 is going to be Emily Vaughn’s year. To say that Emily’s music is empowering would be the equivalent of me telling you that water is wet. Her music is “YASSSS GIRL PREACH” music and I literally feel like Reese Witherspoon nodding in approval to her lyrics.
Singing about everything from breakups to self-empowerment, her music will make you want to dance and flip off every single shitty guy you’ve encountered in your life. We were lucky enough to interview Emily and we talked about music, confidence, and how to love yourself.
FEMME RIOT: You grew up in a small town in Florida but now you live in LA. What inspired you to become a musician? Growing up did you feel like you were destined for more than your small town could offer?
Emily Vaughn: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but never worked or collaborated with anyone in Florida because I had no idea how to get myself out there. Not to mention, there’s not exactly a plethora of writers and producers in my small home town. I always knew I had to get out, and the journey wasn’t easy by any means. But LA is the absolute best place in the world for me, and exactly where I need to be.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Empowering. Fun. Kinda bitchy.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
I draw inspiration from any and every real-life experience—conversations with strangers, failed (or functioning) relationships, fake friends . . . you name it, I’ve written about it. And, yes! I love empowering female artists like Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, T Swift, etc. I’ve always had a strong appreciation for R&B, so I’ve been honing in on that influence to craft my songs.
Is there a specific lyric you have written that you are most proud of? My personal favourite is “I’m the leader of my own damn team” from ‘Priority’ and something I need to remind myself of daily.
I actually love that lyric too! I have to apply it to my daily routine so that I can push past any discouragement that comes my way. I truly am making up the rules as I go, so that song is super personal to me because it’s so damn real.
If there was ever a vote for a female anthem, my vote would 10000% be going to ‘Priority.’ I have so many friends who have stayed in relationships with shitty guys and as much as I want to support them because I love them, I also know that they deserve so much better than what they are receiving. I just want them to realize their self-worth, I want them to know that they are enough, and I want them to listen to this song until they get it! Can you tell us more about what inspired this song? When did you realize that you need to put yourself first?
YES, YES, YES. This is everything. That’s exactly why I wrote “Priority.” I want girls to know that it’s OKAY to be alone. Learning to love yourself before you let someone love you is so damn important. I have been in shitty relationship after shitty relationship and, finally, I was just like . . . ENOUGH. I’m prioritizing myself for a damn change. P.S. It’s working out great.
Learning to love yourself before you let someone love you is so damn important.
Going off of my last question, it’s obvious that you are very independent and don’t take shit from anyone. As a woman working in the music industry, have you felt any pressure to be molded into something that you’re not? If so, how did you overcome this and stick to your beliefs? Do you have any words of advice for other girls going through the same thing?
Definitely. There’s so much pressure to stand out in this industry that it’s easy to be something you’re not. But I think both the millennial and gen z are too smart for that. We know who is real, and we know who is faking it . . . and we’re tired of the fakers. It’s always best to be 100% authentically YOU.
To me, Mood is about not giving into those toxic people who continue to keep popping up in life trying to bring you down. Whether it’s someone who constantly makes little digs trying to lower your confidence or someone who always has something negative and unsupportive to say, I’ve definitely experienced this in my life. I always remind myself that they are the insecure ones and not me. How do you find the strength to rise above these people? What inspired this song?
You nailed it. There are always going to be people that put you down for every little thing you do. “MOOD” is my melodic middle-finger to those people. “I don’t care if I make you stop and stare if you question who I am.”—Mood
You explained the meaning behind Over That on Instagram and you said something that really stood out to me: “Hating someone doesn’t make you stop loving them.” What led to this realization and can you tell us more about this song?
So, we’ve all been there. Anger is one of the many phases of grief, and sometimes that fuels hatred. You love someone so much it hurts . . . until you’re not with them anymore. But you still love them! So, unless you’re literally a saint, that love-you-till-it-hurts feeling is naturally transferred to hatred. Shitty . . . but true. But hating someone really doesn’t make you stop loving them. Moving on does. Writing “Over That” was me moving on.
With the way social media is, it can be easy to look at someone online and think their life is perfect- based solely on their social media. It’s also easy to look at someone’s success and think it came easily when in fact it is often the opposite. Your post on Instagram is really beautiful and inspiring to me. I think this is something that isn’t talked about enough and I think your post is very important for people to see that successful people experience shitty times too. Firstly, I want to say that I’m proud of you for finding the strength to overcome the hard times you experienced! It’s so refreshing to see such honesty and transparency from an artist. How did you gain your confidence back? What advice would you give to someone who is going through a hard time right now?
Thank you so much! I definitely got vulnerable with that post, but I wanted to be transparent. I want people who are struggling with similar situations to know that they aren’t alone. For me, learning self-love was absolutely everything—loving myself enough to step out of toxic relationships, to risk everything to pick up and move to LA and do what I love, to not settle for any less than I deserve. Since doing this, my life and emotional health have never seen better days.
For me, learning self-love was absolutely everything.
What can we expect from you in 2018? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver!
New music, new collaborations, shows, music videos, and some extra surprises!
What songs are you currently listening to?
I highly suggest following Emily on Twitter and Instagram because her content is 10/10. As I was arguing with the asshole about feminism for two hours in the back seat of his car, I saw one of her tweets that said “How is your sober January going?” I tweeted back saying “When u leave with a guy because you think he’s your soulmate and end up yelling @ him about feminism because he thinks it’s bullshit for two hours
#great” and she responded back to me “you’re better off without him bb. you need someone that shares your beliefs and encourages + empowers you.” THIS IS THE TRUE DEFINITION OF GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS AND I LIVE FOR THIS. She also danced to Fergie on a trash can while waiting for an uber; relatable? I think yes.
Emily just dropped a cover of ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ this Valentines Day and it’s a 10/10. She also has a song for every situation. Walking through the store after the gym wearing shorts and receiving weird looks from people? Blast ‘Mood’ and glare at everyone. Then get cheese fries because you crushed your workout (true story). Feeling a bit down and but want to feel empowered af and take on the world? Dance around your room to ‘Priority’ (also a true story). You’ll be the leader of your own damn team very soon. Listen to her entire collection below 👇.
I have a very strong belief that if you work hard and are kind to others, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. Emily inhabits both of these qualities and I can’t wait to see what she achieves in 2018. ✨
The photos in this article were provided by Emily and shot by Nicole Balsamo.