Before releasing her acclaimed debut album, 2019’s Identity Crisis, Emily Weisband was known for writing songs for the likes of Maddie & Tae, Sam Hunt, Keith Urban, BTS, Lady A, and many more. In 2016, she won a Grammy award for composing “Thy Will” for Hillary Scott and The Scott Family. She easily switches between writing for others and continuing her own solo career (her new EP, Not Afraid to Say Goodbye, was just released in November). With such a diverse range of successful credentials to her name, Weisband is in a good position to offer advice to others wishing to follow in her footsteps.
The first step to becoming a successful writer, Weisband says, is to recognize your own individuality. “Somebody told me that I was made uniquely from everyone else, and that person over there is made uniquely from everyone else,” she says. “You will never write a song like me. I would never describe a situation like you would, because we’re different people; we have different perspectives. We have different childhoods. We have different ways of processing our thoughts and emotions. So for me to try to be like any other writer or artist is a waste of everybody’s time. Why not just lean into the way I would say it? Or the melody that I love that breaks pretty much all music rules, but it’s speaking to me.”
Once a writer embraces this uniqueness, Weisband advises taking the thought process a step even further: “Figure out what you do that nobody else does as well as you, and get so good at it that nobody will ever be as good at it as you are,” she says. “That’s when you become an asset to a town like L.A. or Nashville. Artists say, ‘Hey, we need that person in the room because they do this.’ That was a really great thing for me to learn.”
Weisband explains how this approach has led her to have very clear goals as she writes: “I do want my songs to be everybody’s songs. I want any girl in any corner of the world to be able to hear a song and hear say, ‘Oh, that’s me!’ So I’m on this journey to constantly find the truth for everybody in my personal situation and then try to focus in on that because I do want my songs to still be true in ten years. I want somebody 40 years from now to pick up one of my songs and say, ‘Wow, that’s still true today.’ That’s my angle.”