Singer-songwriter Emily Hearn just released her latest album Hourglass this month and will be embarking on a massive North American tour, opening for Tyrone Wells, which will take them from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Before she hit the road, we were able to sit down with Emily for a chat about her beginnings in the music industry, what inspired the new album, how Bill Murray ended up in one of her music videos, her favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor (her song "Not Walking Away" was featured in one of their commercials), what it's like touring with her husband, the various milestones she's reached and more. She also treated us to live acoustic performances of her songs "The Oak Tree" and "Volcano," accompanied by her husband, Michael Harrison.
Hearn first learned to play guitar when she was a senior in high school. She left home to study journalism at The University of Georgia in Athens, where she fell in love with the music scene and realized where she wanted to channel her writing abilities.
"I always loved to write, but I didn't really know until I was a freshman in college that I loved to write songs," she told us. "I kind of packed up my guitar and went to college to study journalism and fell in love with music and writing songs. I went school at The University of Georgia in Athens, and they have a really cool music scene there that's very laid back and welcoming with tons of venues. It's a really cool environment, and I kind of attribute how comfortable I felt getting into the music industry with the environment and tone of Athens. It's very creative and there's tons of different venues to play in, and people that want to listen."
Her style has since developed into a sound rooted in pop but flavored with country charm.
"I grew up in a pretty country, southern town, and I grew up on country music," she said. "I think I started off being very against country. I didn't want to be a country singer-songwriter, but I think the more I've played music, the more I've...let those influences creep back in just because it's part of who I am, and the melodies and the themes and the stories I've always loved to tell. So I think my sound is a blend...I've been influenced a lot by melodies and by folk lyrics and by country harmonies and storytelling, so it's kind of a blend of everything."
For her latest effort Hourglass, Hearn was influenced by the ephemeral nature of life and the need to find a path.
"I feel like I had a lot of different experiences and influences over the years that have changed what my albums have been about, but this one was very much about just kind of where I am in life right now," she explained. "I tour a lot with my husband, Michael, so we were on really busy tour and knew we needed to be writing for an album because we wanted to put out a new one, and you have to plan pretty far ahead. We worked for over a year on the writing, recording and all the processes of this album, so we knew we had to write while we were on tour. We were in all of these different places and feeling all these different things, so we just started writing. The first song that came out that I really felt like I knew should be on the album and was going to be a direction changer was 'The Oak Tree.'
"Originally, it was inspired by the feelings that you get when you start to notice your grandparents and parents are getting older. It's a very surreal feeling watching your mentors and the people who've [shaped you], growing and changing and becoming more fragile. It started off about that, but it sort of shifted into a song all about growing up and trying to figure out where to go next. After that, we started finding a theme."
Emily Hearn Spring 2015 Tour Dates:
3/18 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
3/20 - Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
3/21 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
3/22 - Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
3/24 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
3/26 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlow's
3/27 - San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Company
3/28 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
4/7 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
4/9 - Dallas, TX @ The Kessler Theatre
4/10 - Houston, TX @ House Of Blues- Bronze Peacock
4/11 - Austin, TX @ The Parish
4/14 - Birmingham, AL @ WorkPlay Theatre
4/16 - Orlando, FL @The Social
4/17 - Atlanta, GA @ Eddie's Attic
4/23 - Atlanta, GA @ Eddie's Attic
4/24 - Nashville, TN @ City Winery
4/25 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle- Back Room
4/29 - Washington, DC @ The Hamilton
5/1 - Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
5/2 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live Downstairs
5/3 - New York, NY @ City Winery
5/4 - New York, NY @ City Winery
5/6 - Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
5/7 - Chicago, IL @ City Winery
5/8 - Evanston, IL @ SPACE
5/9 - Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
5/10 - Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
5/12 - Denver, CO @ The Soiled Dove
5/13 - Denver, CO @ The Soiled Dove
5/14 - Provo, UT @ Velour
5/16 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues