Love is a many-splendored thing, and Emma Negrete is well aware of this notion. Its ups are electrifying, but the downs sometimes head towards complete derailment. Coping with breakups, desperate for a new beginning, and finding in love in the wrong place at the wrong time, Negrete soon found herself in “Lost in Translation,” a song the Los Angeles artist wrote to herself to detach and accept a string of failed relationships.
“This song was the catalyst that helped me find closure by answering my own questions that I felt were left open ended,” says Negrete. “I used to latch onto people that had the qualities I thought I completely lacked, which gradually caused me to feel more lost. I was conforming to the wants and needs of other people for the sake of not being alone. It was an extremely unhealthy mindset, and the worst part was not being self aware, although I learned something great from each person that came into my life.”
The stark reality of love comes into focus on “Lost in Translation,” off Negrete’s upcoming EP Breaking Down the Algorithm (Feb. 12). Motioned around Negrete’s slow and soulful vocals, a deeper honestly percolates in “Lost in Translation.” As her story unfolds—God is always wrong in the devil’s eyes, so I think it’s safe to say that we were both right—there’s the realization and acceptance that love, however splendid, isn’t always meant to be.
Before “Lost in Translation,” Negrete found herself playing the blame game in each relationship by wondering what was wrong with her or blaming the other person, even if she was in the wrong. In this endless loop, Negrete also felt her aspirations derailed and leaned on drugs to cope before she was offered a residency performing in China, where she hoped to erase this period of her life.
“This job felt like the biggest glimmer of hope even though it wasn’t necessarily the dream job,” shares Negrete. “This was the only way I was going to get myself out of this hole. I expected this gig to completely take away all of my problems, but it was quite the opposite. It forced me to face them all.”
In Los Angeles, she had just started writing and performing her own music, then found herself singing covers in nightclubs while in China. “As an aspiring songwriter, singing cover songs for a living definitely humbled out my ego,” says Negrete. “I grew frustrated with myself, because I realized that my poor habits followed me when I ran out of excuses. On top of that, I was on other side of the world in a situation that would force me to face unrealistic challenges in order to earn the money to fly myself back home.”
Living in China was an awakening for Negrete, who learned extreme discipline and that this lifestyle was not sustainable or fulfilling, while an unexpected relationship, also changed her perspective on love.
“I had met a guy from London that was also working in China, and he taught me Mandarin and helped me get through this extremely challenging time,” shares Negrete. “This is was the first time I had really felt aligned with another person and that I was actually not just keeping his company because I was lonely.”
In this situation, everything shifted, says Negrete, and it wasn’t about the blaming or finding fault, because while she dreaded the day they would say goodbye, she accepted the fact that they both belonged in their separate parts of the world.
“I realized that it was our rare situation, timing, and dynamic that made it seem like fate,” she says. “This experience made me realize I didn’t want to live this life of loving for a short period of time over and over again just to pass the time. I no longer wanted to invest my energy into things that were so temporary.”
Written by Negrete as she was fleshing out fragments of a song she needed make whole, “Lost in Translation” unraveled in a moment, and was her closure.
“I had stepped out of the coffee shop to go for a walk, and the moment I stopped thinking about anything, the entire chorus lyrics came to me,” says Negrete. “It was one of those moments where I had to stop everything I was doing. I rushed back to my apartment and finished writing the lyrics within an hour and had to make use of the very little recording materials I had in order to get the skeleton of the song down.”
With only a rough recording on phone, Negrete took what she had to producer Brandt Sier to start recording. “We had several life chats and late night studio hangs that really made this song what it is now,” says Negrete of working with Sier. “This project became everything to us, and it’s been many demos after demos of re-recording, adding more elements, and taking them back out.”
Craving a deeper change in her life, songwriting has been Negrete’s solace. “My soul craved honesty, consistency, creativity, and freedom to live my truth,” says Negrete. “I started nerding out on songwriting, reading classic literature, and journaling for the first time. This was the only thing that would lead me to the life that I was meant to live.”
“Lost in Translation,” a song Negrete says set her free, also marks a new beginning for the artist, who has released a handful of singles since 2018. Through her experience and writing the song, she also learned how changing one’s mindset can transform everything.
“It was the biggest moment of clarity I had ever experienced in my life,” says Negrete. “I started seeing that everyone was just a mirror of my own perception and found that there was nothing wrong with anyone for feeling the way they feel and, most importantly, the way I feel. It was the first time I had felt real self worth and like there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.”
Negrete adds, “My biggest mission in the world is to share that changing your entire mindset for the better does exist and for people to feel the same amount of selfless love for themselves that I have found. It doesn’t come naturally for most people, it’s a muscle you have to exercise every day.”
Her journey to “Lost in Translation” was not for nothing, and Negrete’s words are ones she hopes can help others cope through love and loss.
“You don’t necessarily need closure with the other person to move on, and love isn’t always about being in a relationship,” says Negrete. “Don’t be afraid to speak the truth of your wants and needs. Just because two people don’t always agree doesn’t mean either party is in the wrong. It’s so easy to say that love makes people do crazy things, but not everyone has the same definition of crazy. You just gotta find your same kind of crazy.”