Singer Emily Hearn talks about YouTube, song-writing and inspiring people to propose

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJuly 17, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    WHEN: 8 p.m. July 22

    WHERE: The Windjammer, 1008 Ocean Boulevard, Isle of Palms

    COST: $20; $25 at the door

    DETAILS: www.the-windjammer.com/wp/event/toad-the-wet-sprocket

Singer/songwriter Emily Hearn was on the fence about whether "I'm Ready," a song the 23-year-old recently penned about her wedding day, would make her upcoming EP before playing it for an audience near the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

To say it was well-received would be an understatement.

"A couple came up to me after the show, and they were like, 'We heard your song and were so inspired by it that we decided to get engaged tonight,'" Hearn recalled with a laugh. "There's a pretty good chance that song will end up on the EP now."

The Griffin, Ga., native who now calls Athens home will perform songs from the EP, which is slated for an early fall release, and others during the last of her two local performances this month at The Windjammer on Isle of Palms on July 22 opening for 1990s rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Hearn opened for local favorite Edwin McCain at the beachside venue earlier this month.

The supporting dates, as well as a handful of small headlining shows Hearn will play this summer, helps her hone the songs for her upcoming and as-yet unnamed EP and play some of the songs she's covered in a handful of popular YouTube videos, she said.

Her cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist," for example, has already been watched more than 25,000 times since the video was posted last month.

Hearn discusses YouTube videos, co-writing songs for the first time and her life in music.

Question. How did you get your start in music?

Answer. When I was a senior in high school, I taught myself to play guitar and the summer before college I start writing my own songs. I moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. I originally wanted to major in journalism but then changed my major to sociology -- but the passion was never really there. I continued to write songs, but it was a private thing, and I played them mostly for a few friends, and they were always like, "You have to play these for other people." My first real show, you could say, was at this huge party for about 200 of my friends, then I played a more formal show for about 50 people at The Flicker Theater here in Athens.

Q. Did you have enough material at that first show to play a full set?

A. Well, I had about seven original songs and then a couple of covers that I would play. I'd play "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie, which was one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar, and "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks.

Q. Speaking of covers, each of your YouTube videos have generated thousands of hits. What made you want to cover songs on YouTube?

A. I've always thought it was really fun to take someone else's song, a song you really love, and put your own spin on it. I'm lucky enough to have a band who has a great taste in music so we just decided to pick a bunch of songs across different genres and give it a shot. It was a fun little project, and we recorded the covers all at once and have been releasing them one at a time. We are already planning for future cover videos. We've been working really hard on some Sheryl Crow, which is really hard to nail down but really fun.

Q. Were there any songs you covered that you weren't sure you could pull off?

A. "Let Go" by Frou Frou was definitely a song that the band suggested, because I think they just really wanted to play those parts (laughs). It was one of those covers that I so badly wanted to get right because I love that song, I'm a huge Imogen Heap fan and her whole Frou Frou side project, so I really knew that I had to do it right. I think we did it justice while also kind of making it our own

Q. Has your writing process differed on this EP than on your previous albums?

A. I did some co-writing this time around with some people in Nashville and that was a brand-new experience for me. My manager set up the co-writes and the guys I wrote with were really great. Either they'd want to hear some of the ideas that I had or they would propose a song or an idea and want to figure out how best to make that work with what I do. I don't know if all co-writes are like that but I found it super helpful. They were friendly and really awesome.

Q. What's next for you?

A. I like to try to release something about once a year or a little more so once the EP is released, I'll follow that up with a full-length album.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

Emily Hearn covers Coldplay's "The Scientist"

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