Nashville’s Emma White is no stranger to us here at Belles and Gals… we have featured the rising Country artist several times in the past, and were fortunate enough to have her headline one of our shows on her first visit to the UK.
With over ten million independent streams and a spot on Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need To Know” the future is looking really exciting for Emma, who launched her own label “Whitehouse Records” in 2019 with Nashville entrepreneur Jennifer Coyle. Later that year she dropped her six-song sophomore EP and Whitehouse debut “The Actress” which included the critically acclaimed single “Ten Year Town” which made waves in Nashville for its honest portrayal of her struggle to make it in music city after she relocated there from Baltimore.
Undeterred by the pandemic, Emma continued to stay creative and last year released the single “Thirties“, a viral hit which to date has seen over 1.3 million streams on Spotify alone with its highly relatable lyrics striking a cord with other thirty-somethings… lyrics such as the opening lines “Half of my friends got married, two kids a house and a yard, the other half’s still wasted every Friday night at the bar“.
And just a few weeks ago she followed this up with her latest single “Cowboy” , which showcases her trademark fresh, flawless vocals rising above a laid back R&B – inspired groove. Listen to “Cowboy” here https://ffm.to/cowboyemmawhite
Talking about the release to Hollywood Life, Emma explains “Growing up in Baltimore, I was just as influenced by R&B and hip-hop as I was by Country music. The first concert I went to was The Chicks and the first concert I bought tickets to Kanye West opening for Usher. ‘ Cowboy’ is an R&B take on a traditionally country theme, and my hope is that the song can live in both lanes“.
It was great to get the chance to ask Emma a bit more about the single which is already receiving a lot of attention, and of course find out about what else we can expect from her this year.
1. LH Hi Emma, thanks for your time today! Can you set the scene by telling me where you are as you answer my questions, please?
EW Sitting in my apartment in Nashville at my desk. The room is dimly lit and this screen is probably too bright right now. 🙂 I have a couple of my favorite songs taped to the wall in front of me (trying to dissect them/learn them).
2. LH Your latest single “Cowboy” has been out for just a few weeks now but it’s already got fantastic feedback, congratulations! You were a guest on the Ty Bentli show on Apple Music Country just after it was released, and among the many prestigious playlists it’s been added to was the Women of iHeart Country playlist where you sit alongside major label artists including Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Taylor Swift… all that must be massive for you?
EW Thank you! It’s always wonderful to be listed next to artists I admire. When you get little wins like that it kind of makes you feel like “ok, I think things are going in the right direction.” Every new release feels like taking a few more steps forward. You do your best to plan it out, but once it’s out you have to let the chips fall, and hope people hear it. The Apple Music shows and “Women of iHeart Country” are all so helpful as an independent artist.
3. LH And of course Belles and Gals are particularly happy that it’s all-female write….. you alongside Melissa Fuller and Kate Malone ( with Kate producing the track, too). How did your paths cross, and had you worked together in the past?
EW Kate and I first met at a party years and years ago in Nashville. So long ago that I didn’t completely remember it. Somehow during the early part of the pandemic, I was writing with another friend, Tori and mentioned seeing Kate on Instagram. So I dm’d her and asked her if she’d write with us. The first song we wrote was “Thirties.” So we immediately clicked. Then, I had a writing camp to try to write some songs for a new album and Kate invited Melissa. “Cowboy” was the first song I wrote with Melissa and Kate. I hope we get to do it again!
4 . LH Can you tell me a bit more about the song’s inspiration, and the writing and recording process?
EW My producer, Kate had this idea for “Cowboy” and sent me a voice memo, asking, “what do you think of this?” I thought it was cool and we ended up working on it during the writing camp and finished it with Melissa. Working with Kate has been great because she’s really learned what kind of music I’m drawn to; we’ve shared songs back and forth and just spent time listening to different sounds, agreeing/disagreeing on them, and honing in on what the project has become.
5. LH I absolutely love how you incorporate elements of the different genres of music that influenced you while growing up in Baltimore into your own sound… probably more than ever on this single which has such a great groove going on. Do you think that to a large extent the lines between musical genres are blurring a lot more these days, and as an artist is that a positive step?
EW Thank you! I’m always a little scared that listeners won’t feel the same way about blurring genre lines. But I do feel like that is the way things have been going and will continue to go. Doing something different might mean a harder push in helping people kind of see the vision, but I think that’s the point of creativity – to do something new and different.
6. LH There’s a visualiser to accompany the track too…I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see you riding that beautiful horse tho! Can you tell me more about filming that?
EW Ha! I definitely don’t ride horses but loved hanging out with them that day. My photographer Susan Berry had previously done a shoot at this ranch in Los Angeles. I saw a few pictures and I was like, “we have to shoot there!” It’s actually a horse ranch and a dog sanctuary. The owner was giving riding lessons while we were shooting. It ended up being kind of chilly/rainy that day, but cleared up thankfully! My goosebumps were definitely evident in some of the photos.
7. LH What are your plans for releasing more new music throughout 2022? Will your focus be on singles, or are we likely to see another EP or even an album in the coming months?
EW I am planning to release an album but still tweaking some songs and mixes now. You will definitely be hearing more singles in about a month or two!
LH Ohh that all sounds very exciting! Thank you so much for your time today, hopefully you’ll make it back across the pond again before too long.