NEW JERSEY – Every once in a while a new artist comes out of nowhere with music so profound that it takes the world by storm and serves as a testament for a generation. In the early 2000s, it was Norah Jones and her jazz classic “Come Away with Me.” In 2007, it was Adele and her breakthrough song “Hometown Glory.” And today, there’s an artist coming out of New Jersey whose new single “Say What You Mean” is set to make a similar impact on the world of music.
Her name is Em, and her masterful blend of soul and pop plays perfectly with her powerful yet ethereal voice in ways that will have people talking for years to come. There’s a depth of emotion that runs through her music and which is carried through every note. To label her sound as Soul is equal parts limiting and also perfectly accurate, as every ounce of her soul is put on display with her lyrics and the way she passionately pours out her heart through her vocals.
“I consider my music very spiritual and soulful,” Em said. “I want to give people peace and comfort, strength and belief in themselves. I want my music to help them push through difficult times and know there’s a lesson to be learned at the end of it. My music is love and care from the heart, and I want people to see that and live genuine to who they are. Be authentic and don’t be afraid. I’ve had to learn to speak up and not be afraid of who I am, and I want to pass that along to others.”
Some of the inspiration for that movement came from a 1947 movie called “Smash-Up, The Story of a Woman.” Em has always been an old soul at heart and has long harbored a secret love for all things from the 1950s and 60s. She said there’s something about the traditional “old fashioned woman” who demanded respect alongside the liberation and carefree rebellion of the 1960s.
“I learned they don’t have to clash but they can blend by defining certain boundaries, which is found in this song,” she said.
So when she was looking through public domain material for something to spark inspiration on her new single, she found “Smash-Up” and was immediately struck with how profound its message was both back when it was created and in today’s current cultural climate.
The film stars Susan Hayward as a nightclub singer who puts aside her successful career to marry a struggling songwriter. Inspired by the birth of their daughter, her husband plays one of his ballads on a morning radio show and his career explodes. As a stay-at-home wife and mother, Hayward’s character finds her shaky self-confidence slipping, and she turns to alcohol to mask the pain and regret of having given up on her dreams.
The story hit a very personal note for Em. As a young artist who has been steadily on the rise for the better part of a decade since she was discovered at age 12 by famed record producer Andy DiTaranto, Em recently found herself in a relationship that often made her consider what it would take to be committed to a partner while also being 100 percent committed to fulfilling her dreams of making it as a professional musician. Hayward’s character felt like she had failed at her job – she felt down on herself – and that’s exactly what Em feared for herself.
Out of that emotion, the foundation for one of the hottest new tracks to hit the music industry today came about. Em’s ethereal voice carries deep emotion underneath her new pop/soul ballad “Say What You Mean” in ways that are sure to captivate audiences all over the world.
“I missed the genuineness of the 50s because it had so much soul in it,” Em said. “I’m starting to sense more of that soul coming back in music today, and I’m glad because I really believe in that style of music. It is music with a purpose that has heart to it and has a genuine feeling running through it. With this song, I’m trying to tap into that soul. It might seem simple to the ear at first but it’s a message for women to be powerful in themselves. It’s a song that starts with a woman feeling depressed – as if a man has power over her. She feels empty and lost without him in her life, and the relationship has loose boundaries. She’s looking for a more monogamous thing, but he’s not. That’s similar to how I felt when I was in my last relationship. When I was with the person I was dating, we had a deep spiritual connection. So when it comes to the chorus of the song and I say, ‘Say what you mean, don’t you lead me on,’ that’s me taking back that power that I felt like he stripped from me. The rain effect in the bridge acts like a cleansing of the spirit and by the time you get to the end of the song, she’s on fire with strength. Ultimately, I wanted to take something that seems so downtrodden and find that inner courage to say ‘No!’ I have a higher vibration to share with the world because there’s so much lower vibration out there in the industry today with all of the negative messages. That’s not why we’re here on this earth. There’s purpose to living and being here every day, and it’s all about loving people around you and caring about others. It’s about giving, really truthfully giving to others and to yourself first.”
To listen to Em’s music or to follow her on social media, please visit: