Spotlight on Emily Hearn and ATHfest
by Katherine Parke
Emily Hearn is playing at ATHfest
Athfest is just around the corner and if you’re as
excited as I am you have already checked the lineup
for this year. Someone new on the list is singer/
songwriter, Emily Hearn. Emily, from Griffin, Georgia,
is a self-taught musician whose music is capturing
the hearts of fans nationwide. This 22-year-old has
an incredibly melodic voice that you must hear. It’s
hard to choose my favorite song of hers because
all of them are worth listening to. If I haven’t sold
you, please read this interview with Emily. She is
extremely charming and genuine and you will fall in
love with this up and coming artist.
When did you decide to make music your career?
I’ve been pursuing music professionally and full-time for about
a year now. I was a student at the University of Georgia when
I recorded my EP, Paper Heart. The songs on that album were
the first five songs I had ever written, and I had never played
any shows before. I was planning on finishing school and visiting
the possibility of playing music full time when I graduated,
but mid-way through the second semester of my junior year
the music began to take off. I was doing all of my own booking
and management, playing anywhere from three-four times per
week in the spring of 2011, as well as finishing up my first full
length record. So I dropped out of school in March of 2011 to
pursue music full time.
At what age did you find your passion for music?
I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was a senior in high school. I used to play
my dad’s old Yamaha guitar that he bought for $100 in college. I would sit in his closet
and flip through guitar chord books. Once I started writing my own music my college
friends started asking me to play at their parties. Before I knew it I was playing a “CD
Release” show at Tasty World, a venue in Athens, with my only five songs ever written
on a brand new EP that I titled “Paper Heart”.
Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
I love music and I love how it makes people feel. I’ve always
needed music for everything that I do—from running and cooking
to road trips and dancing— and I love being able to be
part of the soundtrack to peoples lives. Writing and performing
music brings me more joy than anything. My songs are
mostly inspired by relationships I’ve had. Occasionally I take
inspiration from my friends’ relationships. But I’ve noticed that
the more I practice songwriting the more I enjoy making up
stories to write a song about. Several of the songs off of my
new album “Red Balloon” are entirely fictional, but based off of
real feelings. It’s fun to play with different styles in the creative
process of songwriting.
You’re performing at Athfest this year. How did you get involved?
I’ve become friends with Troy Aubrey
through playing at the Melting Point. Troy
mentioned it in passing so I decided to
apply. I’m so excited to play this year! I’ve
heard about it for years and never been
in Athens during the summer to actually
play. I can’t wait.
What are you looking forward to most about Athfest?
I think that a different crowd will be at
Athfest than I usually play for. I’m really
excited to meet some new folks and try
out some fun new songs.
How would you describe yourself as a artist?
I definitely consider my music to be pop because it tends to be
centered around catchy melodies. But I think that one of the
things that sets my music apart from the generic pop genre
is that I put so much time into my lyrics. Every line is thought
through and intentional. I hope that there’s an aspect to my
music that draws people in and lets them relate. Sometimes I
hear people calling me country, and I’m definitely ok with that
title as well. I’ve come to terms with my southern roots and
there’s no need to sing like I don’t have a little bit of a twang.
So maybe I’m folk-pop.
The music video for Rooftop from your album Paper Heart (2010) features Bill Murray. What was it like meeting and working with him?
I worked with Mark Bryan and Creative Forge Productions on the Rooftop video. Those
guys just happened to be friends with Bill Murray and had the crazy idea of inviting him
out to the video shoot. So Mark left a copy of my CD on the dog house on his porch
and he responded with a text saying “woof woof.” We had no idea whether or not he’d
show up, but he did! He was so nice and easy to work with, and of course hilarious. It
was the perfect touch to add to the video. I couldn’t believe it.
You released your second album Red Balloon on January 31 of this year. How does it feel to have a full length album out?
It was a huge accomplishment for me! I raised all of the funds for the album through-
Kickstarter.com. I’m so unbelievably grateful to my friends, family and fans who supported
me. There’s no way I would’ve been able to make it happen without them. I’m
excited to have some of my most recent material out and available! But the writing
process never ends, so I’ll hopefully have something new out again soon.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope in five years I’ll be touring all over the world. I want to spread my music around,
but mainly I want to be a positive role model for other people who have dreams. I’ve
been able to meet people who look up to me for pursuing my dream and go away inspired
to pursue their own. I want to be that for people and I want them to listen to my
music and feel a little more understood.