Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. It’s also the title of Emily Keener’s debut that dropped late last year. A former contestant on The Voice who made it through to the Top 12, we talked about her time on the show, her mature taste in music, her latest single “Light & Sound” and so much more!
Kendra: Writing songs since before you were even a teen, what were some of the common themes stirring about in the songs you penned at 12-years-old back in the day?
Emily Keener: I loved to tell stories in my early writing. Drawing up characters and scenarios in my mind became one of my favorite things to do. A good amount of my narratives had something to do with my circumstances or my feelings, but I liked working pieces of myself into fictional characters.
Kendra: You’re a big fan of the likes of Michael Jackson and Elton John, whose song you auditioned with. Was Elton someone you came across yourself or were you influenced by your parents’ music?
Emily: I grew up listening to music from the 50s-80s, and Elton John was definitely one of my parents’ favorites. He’s a wonderful artist and I’m honored to have performed a song of his!
Kendra: With a mature sound and palette, do you ever listen to more modern music?
Emily: I do! My taste in music is pretty eclectic. As far as modern artist go, I really like Emily King, Norah Jones, Snarky Puppy, and Lianne La Havas. To name a few.
Kendra: Of course we have to talk about your time on The Voice a bit more. Did you go in knowing you wanted to be on Pharrell’s Team?
Emily: Actually, I had no idea I would pick Pharrell. It was a very spur of the moment decision, and I’m so glad I got to work with him. He’s genuine and so very creative.
Kendra: Did you feel like whether you walked away the winner or not, it was going to be a grand platform to get you one step closer to making a career out of music?
Emily: Absolutely! I knew that no matter how long I managed to stay on the show, I’d be learning and challenging myself constantly. That was definitely the case. I came home with a new kind of confidence and some invaluable experiences.
Kendra: You had music out before you got on the show and you’re still going with your latest single, “Lights & Sound.” Is this an older song you wrote or was this something spawned from more recent events?
Emily: I wrote “Light & Sound” a few weeks after arriving home from The Voice. I was recording diligently as soon as I got back and suddenly was inspired to write it during a session. A lot of the lyrical content is about being overwhelmed in life.
Kendra: Not even old enough to buy a drink, you pretty much have a lifetime to go with your career. What’s one goal you set out to achieve this year musically?
Emily: This year, touring and writing have been my main focuses. I have new songs and ideas to offer, and I’m slowly discovering how I want to present them, artistically. I’m excited to be sharing Breakfast in as many places as I can this year!
Kendra: I noticed you had some dates in May, anything else planned for the summer?
Emily: I have another video release coming up, and I’m starting to put my focus into a new record. Of course, I’m booking new dates for the summer. Check out here to see where I’ll be next!
Kendra: Whether or not “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was your first choice when it came to an audition song or not, if you had to make a mixtape featuring five other songs you would’ve taken on that stage that night – what would be on there?
Emily: So many to choose from!