It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call Emily Jane's music passionate. Writing lyrics that tug on the heart strings, Emily Jane draws comparisons to the works of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Gabrielle Aplin.
This year Emily joined the SEED roster as part of Volume 7, so we thought it only appropriate to ask her 7 quick questions. Let's get into it!
If you had to describe your music in seven words what you say?
The saddest thing you'll hear all day. Whoops.
Your song on our album this year, "Behind Closed Doors", is so powerful. Can you describe what it is about?
"Behind Closed Doors" is an especially important song for me. It was written at a time when I was not quite in but not quite free from an incredibly abusive relationship that I was in. I sat down with my guitar and wrote exactly how I was feeling, to put words to the complex mess of emotions that were going through my head to try and understand them better myself. It is angry, it is sad and it is submissive and somewhat pathetic. I hadn't written the song with the intent of releasing it, I had written it with the intent of just putting my emotions somewhere healthy.
Once the song was completed, I realised all the truth I had put into the song in such a straight-forward way and figured it might not only be a way that I could tell my truth but tell the truth of those who may have or may someday feel the way that I felt. Domestic Violence is an incredibly complicated thing to understand without experiencing it first hand, which is why, in a lot of cases, it is incredibly difficult to prove and the intensity of it is difficult to express or for other people to understand. In violent relationships, your entire psyche is so worn down and it is incredibly difficult to articulate to your loved ones why you make the choices you make and why you are stuck in these violent cycles. particularly when you don't necessarily understand them yourself. As well as this, it is incredibly difficult to get justice in many cases as speaking out is still incredibly stigmatised and victim blaming is still a common response victims face everyday. I didn't want "Behind Closed Doors" to be a survivor song because, from my experience,you don't leave a violent relationship feeling empowered and like you have survived. You feel at loss and recovery is a long process. My process is around 2 years and still going. I don't always feel like a strong survivor, and I will always feel caught in cycles where I still blame myself or think of moments where I could have done better. I still have moments where I need to grieve for myself. I still have moments where I am anxious and afraid and feel like I am back where I was about 2 years ago.
Because of my own experience, I wanted "Behind Closed Doors" to be act like a voice that said "I have felt that way too and I believe you" in cases where you blame yourself in the way that I sometimes do, or in cases where others do not understand you. I want "Behind Closed Doors" to open conversations and allow people in my position to understand that speaking out is the first step to getting out. I want people to be openly vulnerable and say "yes I am suffering, please listen to me". I want "Behind Closed Doors" to not only speak my truth, but speak the truth of many other women and people around me.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Honestly, the first concert I ever went to was probably The Wiggles. I can't remember that, but I'm sure it was completely lit.
The first proper concert I want to was Julien Baker on her first Australian show. It was just one girl and her guitar captivating a room of people stood completely still on a dance floor. I couldn't tell if I was in love with her or incredibly jealous of her. A whole ROOM FULL of people completely captivated. It was magic.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice I've ever received is probably just to take things one step at a time. Myself as well as many of the people I surround myself with everyday are often overworked and incredibly busy and often run down that we can burn ourselves out super easily. There's nothing wrong with working hard, but working yourself into the ground is not healthy. Sometimes you just need to step back, take a breath, and make things a little bit easier on yourself.
What's your favourite song right now?
This is my least favourite question because there are always so many. But a few months back I discovered a rare gem by an angel from Nashville called Soccer Mommy and her song 'Jacob' . The song is just 2 electric guitars, her voice and some harmonies. Incredibly minimal yet still incredibly emotional. That's the exact type of music I love listening to. I love music that makes you feel something. Songs that tell a story with as little instrumentation as possible.
In your opinion. what's the biggest problem facing emerging artists in the industry right now?
I think the entire industry is very hard on emerging artists right now. Funnily enough, I was on a lengthy rant about this to an Uber driver just this morning. We live in a super exciting time where music is so freely accessible which is brilliant to discover artists you may never have found yourself. As well as this, it also makes living off of music incredibly difficult. Particularly, to monetise it in order to produce more and make a sustainable career out of it. Particularly, with apps like Spotify (which is my go-to for discovering music. Shout-out to their personalised Discover Weekly playlist) which direct music directly to your tastes, however the incredibly opportunity to often freely access the music takes from the artist. However, it is nearly impossible to make income from them so the only real way to find livability through music is through live performance. But scouting gigs can be difficult, particularly at the moment in the Gold Coast as a lot of venues have begun closing down.
I guess the only solution I can find is to start with a song, work your ass off for one song or one project, and run with it. Find your niche and maybe find acts with success in the same kind of niche and look for support slots. I guess, in a society where anyone can call themselves a musician, whip out their guitar and throw a video on YouTube, be the one that sticks at it and takes it seriously. Find your niche and grow your brand to fit that. And never change your story. Believe in yourself and create an image that supports that belief. Also, don't expect everything to come quickly, because, unless you're super lucky, it won't.
And finally, what are you digging at the moment. Any recommendations?
First of all, as the crazed women's rights activist you may have picked up on in Question 2, I am absolutely digging Camp Cope's latest album 'How To Socialise and Make Friends'. If you haven't sat down and listened to this album, I would definitely recommend that you do it. 'The Opener' is an amazing feat of defiance against the climate of the industry and how they view using female acts to fill a quota. The title track line "I can see myself living without you" preaches independence, I LIVE for that.
"The Face Of God", however, was written with the same amount of intent as my track, as vocalist Georgia MacDonald speaks candidly about a personal experience with sexual assault, but doesn't do as an uplifting 'survivor' song. It is a song that speaks truth and I think that is so important in the day and age we live in now. This album may have only dropped this year, but it's already one of the most influential albums of my life. I'll stop myself there before I accidentally do write a whole essay on why this album is so important.
You can catch Emily Jane performing at our SEED 2018 Concert Series:
Friday 8 June - NightQuarter, Gold Coast
Friday 15 June - NightQuarter, Gold Coast
Friday 20 July - Queen Street Mall, City Sounds, Brisbane