This year may be full of changes, but one thing that has stayed the same is our love for Emma Blackery. The YouTuber and singer/songwriter has been keeping busy this year with both a new music release and a re-release of her debut album and has also been the comfort to many fans throughout 2020 with her entertaining YouTube videos. We caught up with Emma to chat all things music, the evolution of YouTube, and The Sims.
Hey Emma! You recently released your EP My Arms Are Open and also celebrated two years of your debut album Villains – how would you say you have grown as an artist between the two project releases?
Since the initial release of Villains, I’ve chosen to take control over a lot more aspects of my music career, such as moving all of my previous releases over to my own record label RWG Records, and overseeing budgets that were previously handled by others on my behalf. I’d say, however, that the biggest growth I’ve had as an artist since the Villains era began has been how much I’ve developed as a music producer.
It was really during the album writing process that I learned how to create music outside of basic chords on a guitar – I ended up producing a large amount of the finished product that my fans heard and only learned after it was released that sometimes you sadly have to fight for credit on your own work. Since the album was released, I’ve made sure my work at producing the initial demos is reflected in credits. I’ve learned my own worth and stopped letting certain individuals in the industry take advantage of what was a lot of naivety on my part.
If you had the chance to rerecord one song off of Villains with your growth as a musician today, which one would you pick and how do you think it would sound compared to the original?
I’m still very proud of every song on the album, but if I had to choose, I’d have to say either ‘Fake Friends’ or ‘Take Me Out’. I think I’d like to revisit the choruses on both of those songs. I’m not sure I’d write them to be as simplistic as they were on the record.
Your main genres are pop and rock and you’ve got some major influences in those genres, out of all your influences for your music, who would you most love to collaborate with?
Taylor Swift. Always Taylor Swift. I’ve admired her songwriting ability for many years and she always manages to blow me away with each and every release.
Now let’s flip that question around and do with it YouTube, who would you love to shoot a video with?
Quite honestly, I’m pretty over the collaboration side of YouTube. It used to be a sure-fire way to grow and cross-promote, but I’ve seen enough of it in my years on the platform to know that the vast majority of friendships you see in creators is very superficial. I’ve been roped in for collabs and had that person never speak to me again; I’ve seen YouTubers who dislike each other immensely pretend to be best friends. I’m in a really good place in terms of my channel. I’ve come to accept that the old days of the UK YouTube scene are over. I’ve finally stopped chasing that next viral video and I’m comfortable making content for me. I have a wonderful fanbase who stick around for everything I create because they support me as a human, not as a trending topic that their peers like. I’m very lucky to have that after eight years.
You’ve been on YouTube for almost a decade now, and the platform has grown, evolved and new types of content and creators come and go – is there anything you really like about the new content we’re getting from the current era of YouTube and is there something you wish was still a big thing that used to be a trend when you first joined?
The type of content we consume now is nothing like what it used to be – kids talking in front of a camera about nothing for two minutes at a time isn’t accepted anymore. Videos are longer, the more controversial the better – the most popular types of videos are rich young girls buying their dream cars and doing silly things such as swapping diets with their younger siblings, or YouTubers falling out with each other and exposing private messages. Needless to say, I’m over that side of it. I wish that wholesome, simplistic content was still valued the way it used to be.
On a positive note – nowadays I personally find joy in cooking channels such as Emmy Made In Japan, Epicurious, Babish Culinary Universe… I’m not a great cook, but I like learning things from the content I watch. I watch gaming facts videos for the same reason. I’ve always said that I think content should either educate, entertain, or inspire. If it doesn’t do one of those three things, it doesn’t do anything for me.
We all know that 2020 has been a really difficult year, but we have also seen a lot of creativity when it comes to creating music, content, etc. would you say you’ve found a silver lining throughout this year and found a new way to challenge your creativity? Or has it made things a lot more difficult?
It’s been a really tough year personally – I moved to a big city for the first time in my life and I’m now living further away from my hometown than ever, and due to current situations I’ve only seen my family a handful of times and haven’t been able to take advantage of city living. Music is definitely a silver lining, though. I’ve always created the vast majority of my music from a home setting, so I’ve been able to spend a ton of this time working on new music and developing on those ideas with my partner.
With lockdown lasting for some time in the UK, did it urge you to create new music to pass time? Could we be seeing a future project thanks to it?
Absolutely. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but I’ve been able to start a new project that I wasn’t sure would happen for a few years yet.
A lot of people have had to find new avenues to showcase their art during this time, as a musician have you had to alter any processes to fit the new normal and if so, what?
Fortunately for me, I haven’t been in the midst of a huge launch during the majority of the lockdown, but I did take the opportunity to explore new avenues for promoting the My Arms Are Open EP – for the first time in my career I took it upon myself to create some really personal lyric videos. One was filmed in my home studio, the other was filmed at sunset in a village near my home. I’m so proud of both of them considering how quickly they came to fruition in lockdown.
You seem to be really enjoying creating Sims content lately! Is there any kind of expansion pack or series from The Sims that you really wish they would make?
I’d love to see pre-teens be added to the game in some sort of expansion – perhaps a way to follow the younger Sims to their school and control them from there! I’d also love to see more supernatural beings in the game – give me zombies! Oh, and more options for holiday getaways. The Holiday expansion from The Sims 1 was always my favorite. I loved being able to have snowy resorts and beach hotels.
Do you have a bucket list as far as what you hope to accomplish musically and also through YouTube for the upcoming year?
I want to see the completion of the upcoming music project – I can’t wait to finish every song and share it with the world. Hopefully, in the next year, we’ll be able to tour safely. I miss performing live for my fans. We always have so much fun. In terms of YouTube, I’d like to continue to upload frequently and put my personality at the forefront of every video I make, whether it’s a cooking video, a challenge, or a gaming video. As I said earlier, I’m less concerned with instant viral hits these days. Being true to myself and being proud of what I’m doing is far more important to me.
Thanks Emma! We’re excited to see what’s next for you.
Are you loving Emma’s content this year? What song of hers has been on your playlist? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
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Featured Image Source: Billie Frances
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Creative Director of The Honey POP. Disney and pop culture enthusiast.