Emma Charles Coming of Age on “25”

It doesn’t matter what year, decade or generation it comes in; life is so much more vibrant when we’re coming of age. When you’re in your late teens / early twenties, it’s as if your entire body is made up of nothing but nerve endings that electrify at every touch. Life is intense at every turn. 

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At the same time, the first glimpses aren’t always good. That same era of youthful discovery brings with it aha moments of another kind, the kind that welcome you to the cruel side of life where disappointment can come in many unsuspecting forms. Having left behind the safety of her childhood home in Westport, Connecticut, the now LA-based Emma Charles is learning these lessons the way most of us did, the hard way.

Never mind that she just released her debut EP Connecticut in February, Charles is already back with more to share. Her new song “25” explores the complexities of relationships morphing from something so solid you never thought you’d be without to something you might not soon even know. 

“25” was inspired by friendships I’ve had that have not panned out to what I thought they’d become,” explains the twenty-two-year-old folk-pop savant. “I’ve had a fair share of these in my past, and it’s interesting to explore the nuances of friendships rather than romantic relationships. My producer Doug Schadt and I wrote the song together in LA, he created the track and then I tracked vocals in his studio in Brooklyn.”

A doleful detailing of lifelong threads pulling apart, “25” finds Emma questioning the future of her relationship. Though lyrically crafted with a Stevie Nicks sensibility, their vocal styles are worlds apart as Stevie has her whiskey tinged rasp while Charles is as Demi Lovato as it gets.

“I want people to feel uplifted as the song is very bouncy, but I hope people dig deeper into the lyrics and realize the song isn’t all frivolous and that there are some really deep and poignant lyrics disguised in there.”

Not a surprising statement coming from a woman who points to the lyric “Like a heartbeat drives you mad, in the stillness of remembering what you had, and what you lost” from Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as her favorite. Additionally, the recent Berklee College of Music grad makes no bones about the fact that if she’s going to write, she has to be in a space that allows her to breathe.

“I definitely have to be in an environment I feel comfortable in, surrounded by people who won’t judge me for my ideas. If I’m writing alone, the space I write alone in has to be comforting and inspiring.”

Again, completely understandable when you recognize what Charles is trying to accomplish. This is no hobby; this is her life and her plans reach far beyond just trying to knock out a few hit songs and buy some pretty things.

“I’m inspired by JP Saxe, Dermot Kennedy, Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers and MUNA,” she acknowledges. “They all have an incredible way with their lyrics and they’re all melodically so strong. They all make you really feel something when you listen to their music.

“I hope to be able to bring people together through my songs. I hope my music unites people in the sense that they feel like they’re not alone, and that someone else out there is going through what they’re going through. Ultimately, I would like my music to reach millions of people so we can share in my thoughts and ideas through live performance and listening online.”

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