Interview & Photos: Emily Hackett

Interview & Photos by Keira Zhou

Emily Hackett is the rare songwriter who doesn’t just pour her heart into her lyrics—she inspires every listener to reach a deeper honesty in their own lives. With her stunningly detailed storytelling, the Nashville-based artist sheds light on the countless liabilities of being human, ultimately transforming even the most painful feelings into something glorious.


When did you start playing music?

I started playing music when I was 2nd grade and I got the flute. And the reason was because I listened to everything my dad listened to when I was growing up, and he loved the band Jethro Tull, and Ian Anderson played flute when he wasn’t singing. I thought that was the coolest thing, so I wanted to play flute. But then it wasn’t until forth grade or fifth grade that I realized that, I can’t play flute and sing and the same time. I need a band behind me. I just decided to put the flute down and picked up the guitar.


Who are the influencers of your music?

My dad definitely inspired me to want to pursue music and want to listen to a lot of music. He was always very big into lyrics, so I paid a lot of attention to lyrics and everything growing up. So I listened to everything from Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin to Britney Spears. I took in a lot of different types of music. Songwriters, the ones that are really focused on good lyrics are what I gravitated towards.


Has your music style changed overtime?

It changes here and there. It depends on what I’m into at that current moment. But it’s always gonna be about the story, and trying to get the best story across, whether its my story or somebody else’s. That’ll always be consistent.

Could you tell us a little bit more about your debut album?

I just put out the second half of what was considered my debut album. I split into two EPs. The first EP was called By The Sun. and that came out last year. Just couple weeks ago I put out By The Moon, which is the second half of it. By The Sun was just a very easy way to introduce myself; songs that had nothing to hide. This is who I am, take it or leave it. By The Moon, is ok now that I’ve shown you who I am, maybe we can go a little bit more deeper, and get a little bit more vulnerable. So I liked to be able to show both sides of who I am as a person and as a writer.


Could you tell us more of what is By The Sun side and what is By The Moon

side?

So I decided to split the albums because the way people consume music these days. And when I did that, I really was just focusing on what every song made me feel. I started to draw little suns and moons next to each song based on how it made me feel. And then when I zoomed out, I had 5 suns and 5 moons. And so it just ended up being like the music told me what to do with it, which is very cool. It was very easy to look at all the By The Sun songs and say this is who I am. I have no shame of any of those stories, and neither should you. Let’s have a good time and get to know each other. And By The Moon was like just me getting deep, being more honest. I had to be honest with myself about letting somebody go, that I wasn’t gonna get back again, and I screwed that up and it was not fixable. And wanting so badly to check in on an ex-boyfriend but knowing that it’s not the right thing to do in order for them to get over you. And I cheated on an ex-boyfriend and had to learn who I was in that process and what I was capable of, just lot of wearing my heart on my sleeve, and a lot of working on myself. That bit went into By The Moon.

Were there any fun memories from producing this album?

I had the pressure to work with my best friend Davis Naish. It was always a good time working with Davis. We write a lot together now. Just being in the studio and his giddiness when something was going well. He would dance and give it a little wiggle. It was just very fun watching him getting excited about my music. That was very special to me. It’s really fun when somebody else gets excited about your music and wants to be part of that team. He was definitely the first person who jumped in and be like I want to help you to do this. But in the studio, my favorite moment was probably when we were doing the song called Josie, which is on By The Sun. Just because it got such a powerful message to me, and I was really nervous

about taking it into the studio. I was afraid that we weren’t gonna do it justice. I just wanted to make sure that it was perfect for what the message was that I was getting across. And the minute that the guitar player that we had in the studio that day, he put this petal on one of his guitars, and it sounded so weird and so unique. And I was like oh my god that’s it. That’s the sound; that’s so cool. I love that and I don’t know what made you think to do that but keep it. It was just magic.


Here's a little fun question, what's your favorite food?

Emily: I have to say my mom’s banana muffins. They are just so good. I’m craving one right now.


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