Emilie Brandt Displays a “Freeform” Album
Written by Derek Lavezzo on 7 September 2018
If you’re looking for a top-notch on-the-rise vocalist, Emilie Brandt is who you need to look up. Her voice is dynamic and wondrous, and her album “Freeform” is quite telling of that.
You may know the name Emilie Brandt from a little song called “Lost” by the one and only Illenium where she lent her beautiful vocal talents to what ended up being one of the best tracks on his album. Now, Emilie Brandt has an album of her own and I would suggest you give it a listen.
I got the chance to chat with Emilie about the album, her influences, her future plans, and more. Check it out below and make sure to give her album “Freeform” a listen like, right now.
Where did the name Freeform come from and why do you feel it best represents the album as a whole?
When the album was done, I listened to it a few times and realized that each of the songs sounded like completely different genres from one to the next. From that perspective, I was unsure of how to title my debut album appropriately seeing as I wasn’t even sure that one word could sum it all up. I spent a lot of time thinking about why my songs were so different from each other and realized that its probably because one can’t say their whole life is defined by a singular feeling, so how can I tell my story confined to a single genre? My album is sort of all over the place with style yet still tied together with my emotions, words, and voice which is why I appropriately titled the album Freeform (defined as not conforming to a regular formal structure or shape). Also, I have fun writing in different styles and I think that definitely reflects my personality as well; I’m up for anything.
The album certainly has a very EDM/dance vibe to a lot of it. Was the plan always to keep kind of that sound with it, and were there any producers you worked with that helped influence that sound?
I actually started my music career with just myself and my acoustic guitar, which a lot of people don’t know. My writing has always featured catchy melodies and emotional lyrics, which generally translates well to EDM music. I love writing songs in any genre, so a few years back I started trying to write music for other producers that were more in the pop/dance realm. It sort of happened naturally. I began working on collaborations that I felt pushed my own sound closer to EDM. But as I mentioned before, I like to write all sorts of styles and sometimes I get overwhelmed with how many different styles of music I want to write!!!
What was the most personal track on the album and why would you classify it as such? And do you have a personal “favorite” track either because the process of making it was special or because you just loved how the finished product turned out?
The most personal track lyrically is probably ‘To Love = To Suffer’. I wrote it after my first real breakup a few years back. There’s this very sweet, soft side to the track and then it just gets fucking wild. I am a very passionate person, from my work to my relationships, and this track is a great example of it. The concept of ‘to love is to suffer’ came from me realizing post-breakup that even though the relationship at times was very crazy and toxic, it was beautiful in a sense. Situations like that help us have a new perspective and since I live in my own little world of analogies: ‘flowers grow from dirt’. There are a lot of visuals in this song that aren’t literal but its really how I experience and relate to the world.
I am a huge fan of “Superstitious”. The blend of your vocals with those snares and otherelectronic elements is pretty special. What was the creative process behind making that track? Does each track have its own unique story in terms of how they came to be?
Thank you so much; that’s one of my favorites as well! I think I definitely have this really dark witchy side to me and I let it all out in that track. I was dating this girl who was very clearly bad for me but I felt like I was under a spell when we were seeing each other. The first line ‘three crows in my street, are they here for you and me’ was inspired by me leaving my house one morning after spending the night with her; there were literally three crows hanging out in the street right outside of my house, which is supposed to be a bad omen. All of my lyrics come from my own personal experiences with life and love. Love is for sure what inspires me the most because I feel like its this crazy, invisible, intangible thing that we as human beings are constantly chasing after.
I know you’ve probably been asked about “Lost” with Illenium a million times. So I’ll try to at least word this question different. Can you take me through the process of getting on board with Nick and the feeling you had once you heard the finished song? And the feeling you had after the release and the positive feedback the track got?
Nick was working on the Awake album and an instrumental he has been playing around with sort of fell into my lap. The original instrumental for ‘Lost’ that I wrote to was actually pretty different from how it ended up on the album. I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but I found out that he really didn’t know if he liked the instrumental enough to want tp keep working on it. Knowing none of this, I wrote and recorded my parts and sent it right back to him. We heard back from him within a day or two of sending my idea to him and he said his excitement for the track had been reignited and that he was super into it. With things like that, its kind of just timing and a little bit of luck. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and recorded toplines for other artists that don’t end up getting used, but that never discourages me. Producers are usually looking for something pretty specific but aren’t really sure what until they hear it. I had a lot of fun with ‘Lost’ and I am so grateful that everything worked out the way it did. At the time, I really had no idea that it would become such a big song but I think it goes without saying that Nick and I are happy with the response it received.
Who would you consider your idols that helped mold you into the singer you are today? And who in the industry right now would you say is a personal favorite(s) to listen to?
I’d say the artists who I’m constantly inspired and influenced by are: Hayley Williams, Florence Welch, Phantogram, and Kesha (in no specific order). Right now I’m listening to: Phoebe Bridgers, Honne, Soccer Mommy, In Love With a Ghost, Post Malone, Halsey, Grace Mitchell, LEON, Billie Eilish, Bad Suns, AND From First to Last just blew everyone’s mind with a new track! My taste in music is pretty all over the place but I keep an updated playlist of my current favorites on my Spotify page if you want to see more! https://open.spotify.com/user/123142643/playlist/2e87ITv5TUpmOTIg6KQu7Y?si=es_YdJEYT82kdIMoeGZ5_w
How many tattoos do you have and do you have a favorite or any cool/interesting stories attached to any of them?
I don’t think I’ve ever counted my tattoos, but they’ve all got different stories. I’m a super impulsive person so most of them weren’t planned much but mean a lot to me. I recently got the symbols for all of the planets tattooed on my fingers– to remind me that the universe has a hand in everything I do, everything happens for a reason.
What are some of the goals you have set for yourself in the past that you feel you’ve accomplished, and what goals have you now set for yourself for the future?
I always have a ton of short-term goals to keep myself going, but I guess my big main one is simply to just not give up. I feel that I owe it to myself to be happy and spend my life doing what makes me happy, regardless of status or wealth or circumstance. Music is my passion, its always been there for me in a way no one ever has. I have a lot of friends who have given up their dreams to do something more stable, which is totally fine, but I promised myself at a young age that I’d never do that to myself. As long as music is where my heart is, that’s what I’ll be doing.
Any big plans for the rest of 2018 or even looking further into 2019, whether musically on your own or collaborations or touring? I’m sure your vocals will be in high demand with thisalbum from all sorts of producers.
I have a few new collabs in the works, dropping a music video for a track off the Freeform very soon, as well as my next couple of releases planned out. Stay tuned by following me on YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
Written by: Derek Lavezzo