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© Gabriel Mokake for Gay Times

When Read The Muse last spoke to pop artist Emily Burns in 2016, the budding singer-songwriter had just released her new track, ‘Take It or Leave It’, her first single since HomeWrecker, which burst into the top spots of the Hype Machine chart.

Since then, Emily has released one infectiously catchy track after another, including the mini album Seven Scenes From The Same Summer, a mixture of tender lyrics and unapologetic sass laid on top of punchy pop sounds and melodies resonating with R&B and tropical house vibes. Not only has she begun to take London by storm, and appeared near the top of a variety of popular Spotify playlists – she has now taken her music from studio to the stage, fulfilling the demands of ecstatic fans across a multitude of UK cities. Before she sets off on her next tour, RTM got the chance to catch up with Emily Burns to find out all that the pop star’s been up to since we last met in 2016!

RTM: So first up, we need to talk about your new song Too Cool. What’s this one about? 

EB: Too Cool is about a relationship that’s just a little bit too perfect. I wrote it about a girl I was seeing who was just SO lovely and wonderful in every way that it actually got a bit annoying. (I’m not really mean I swear!) You know when someone is just too accepting and too forgiving and too calm and collected about everything… and you just wish they’d occasionally slam a door or freak out at you a little – just to show they care!? That’s what I wrote this one about.

There’s one line that sums that feeling up quite perfectly: You’re so sweet like peach iced tea it kind of makes me sick. We love the music video for the track too, it’s so playful and the bright, block colour theme certainly matches your style as well as the poppy playfulness of the song. Is this the first music video you’ve made? 

Yes! This is the first video I’ve made and it was pretty weird to start off with…

What was that experience like?

I had never met Izzy (who plays my girlfriend in the video) before… so it was a strange experience having to look her in the eyes and sing to her in the first hour of meeting! Overall though, it was so much fun. I worked with an amazing director, Luke Bather, who made me feel so comfortable and natural on set. It ended up being a day of just making loads of mess, which I’m naturally quite good at. 

Sounds like a fun part of the job! You released a stellar collection of music not long ago, Seven Scenes from the Same Summer. You must be so thrilled with the positive response!

Thank you! I’ve been so overwhelmed. It totally blows my mind to see how many people have been listening to and connecting with these songs. They really are just like excerpts from my diary so it’s wild to have had so many people relate to and enjoy them!

The range of styles on this album is a testament to your versatility, having emotional, more stripped down tracks like Senseless, next to bops like Test Drive and Cheat. Do you have any personal favourites, and why? 

I totally love that about this collection of songs. I really wanted there to be tracks that people could dance to and scream the lyrics to whilst thinking about their awful ex 😉 … but then I also wanted to show people that these songs all stem from me sitting down with a guitar and pouring my heart out. For that reason, Senseless is definitely a favourite of mine. It feels like the most vulnerable song and I totally love being that honest and real.

Your honesty in your writing encapsulates the thrilling highs and disappointing lows of relationships in such a realistic way. Seems like you’ve had a fair share of it! Do you mostly write from your own experiences? Do you ever try to write from other view points?

All of my songs are written about personal experience. I know that might be hard to believe haha! For me, it wouldn’t make sense to write about a situation I’ve never been in… I’d find it hard to write meaningful lyrics about something I’ve never felt.

You’ve been featured on several LGBTQ+ platforms for using same sex pronouns in your music. Representation for any community is such an important issue today, and is definitely starting to trickle through into the current music scene, with artists like Hayley Kiyoko and Marika Hackman writing more obviously queer lyrics and being more open about the conversation of representation. Is it important for you to share this honesty in your music and why? 

It’s so important for me to be honest about who I am in my music. I love the thrill of making myself vulnerable and letting so many people get to know me on this deep level. So I think it’s massively important to be open about my sexuality. Plus, I really don’t want to make a “thing” out of it you know? I want to show that my songs are just like anyone else’s songs, it’s just that they are about girls. And I hope that I’m doing my small piece towards making people realise that it’s really not a big deal.

Definitely, and with more and more artists like yourself being unapologetically themselves in their music, there can only be positive effects for the LGBTQ+ community! As for gigging, what’s it been like to headline your own shows? Have you had a favourite show so far?

This experience has been craaaazy. It’s so so amazing to see more and more people streaming and downloading my songs but, then to actually travel and see people buying tickets and turning up to my shows is insane. I’ve recently done a run of headline shows around the UK and I have to say, The Louisiana in Bristol was breathtaking. I actually got really emotional on stage. Seeing a full room of people, in a city I personally have no links to, singing along to my songs, it was a dream.

What is your favourite thing about performing? 

My favourite part is crowd reaction. That moment when I start to play one of my more known songs and I feel a genuine buzz from the audience. I can see people being truly excited to hear them which is an unreal feeling.

Who have you been listening to a lot recently? Are there any artists you’re particularly inspired by at the moment? 

I love artists who tell real stories in their music. For example, Tove Lo’s “Queen Of The Clouds” album is one of my favourites. I’ve been going back to that a lot recently. I just love the way it tells a story from start to finish… I think it’s definitely inspired my own style of writing. I’m also loving Sigrid’s music – wow she knows how to write a great chorus.

What’s next for Emily Burns? 

I’m about to head on tour in Asia which is going to be ridiculous! I’m playing 8 shows around Asia and I really can’t believe I’m selling tickets in this part of the world for these gigs… it blows my mind. After that, I’ve got my London headline show at Omeara on April 23rd, which I really think is going to be the best night of my life! It’s going to be bigger and better and I seriously can’t wait. I’ve also got a few tunes that I am buzzing to drop this summer. It feels like things are really growing and building and I’m just loving every part of it.

Keep up date with new music and news from Emily Burns by following her on social media @EmilyBurnsMusic and Spotify now, and don’t forget to check out her new single, Too Cool!

Words by Lauren Hurrell