Hailing from small-town Pennsylvania, the now LA-based Emily Brooks released her debut single “As I Am” on February 20th with an accompanying music video. The up-and-coming singer-songwriter turned artist took a moment to speak with American Songwriter about the creative process and her artistic influence as she steps out into the California music scene.
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Producer Brendan O’Brien, whose resume includes Pearl Jam and The Killers, heard Brooks’ demo through a mutual friend and felt compelled to work on the project with her. Working with an industry veteran propelled Brooks in her recording process to support a pivotal project in her career as an artist.
“As I Am” is an anthem of acceptance. “A moment of inspiration took me away and brought me to this place,” Brooks explained. “It was unplanned, but as the song unraveled, I realized what it was all about. This song came to me after I truly began to accept and love myself for who I am.”
Brooks draws inspiration as a songwriter from Lana Del Ray. “She is so deep, poetic, and profound with her lyrics. She takes me away with each song she writes,” Brooks explained. The West Coast alt-pop influence reverberates through Brooks’ swelling vocals on this track. Her confidence builds with each supporting line of instrumentation. Her voice is soulful, and as sure as the confident story the lyrics tell.
“Love!” Brooks exclaimed in response when asked what she wanted people to take away from her debut single. “Hope and inspiration to keep going,” she continued. “This song is an anthem for anyone who has never felt like the fit in. I hope people who feel like this realize that it is those differences that make them so special. Unlocking that and finding confidence in those parts of ourselves is what helps us to fly.”
Her dreams of traveling the world on tour and writing about all the different types of people she hopes to meet along the way drive her ambition as a musician. “I want to inspire people of all ages from all walks of life and to help them connect through my music.”
It is no surprise that her favorite song lyric is from Lana Del Ray is “Life imitates art” from 2012’s “Gods and Monsters.” When asked, this line was the very first lyric that came to mind. “Images in the media are so powerful. The beginning stages of my life were shaped by what I saw on TV and movies or heard in music. Breaking out of that and discovering who I am without that influence, I was able to really start living. This lyric will always be so profound on many different levels.”
As a songwriter, Brooks feels her best work comes when she is clear-headed and detached from distractions. Taking another moment to think, she shared, “or so distracted by one thing in particular that I can’t help but write about it.”
Listen to Emily Brooks’ debut single, “As I Am,” and see the accompanying music video below.