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Interview with Emily + Shawn
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We both grew up in households that always had a wide variety of music playing throughout the day. We spent a ton of time singing while growing up. For Shawn, that turned into writing original music on guitar, while Emily went into musical theater. If we hadn't gotten into music, we would probably just be more immersed in our current careers - Emily works as an immigration lawyer, and Shawn works in the renewable energy sector. It's nice to have opportunities to flex both our left and right sides of the brain through the combination of pursuing music and our jobs.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Both of us have gotten more and more into yoga and meditation over the years. Creating good music requires that you are focused and have the ability to get lost in what you're feeling in that moment, so yoga and meditation have actually been great for our creativity. We're all about opening up the chakras!
How long has your band been around?
While we've each been involved in music in some way / shape or form over the years, we first started writing our own music together in 2018 after years of being together and toying around with the idea.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Shawn grew up in the outskirts of Rochester, NY and Emily grew up in Boston. Shawn's style is influenced by all the down time he had to himself living out in the woods - he was drawn to a lot of acoustic music and singer/songwriters such as James Taylor. Emily would attend a lot of live concerts in Boston growing up, which always drew her to more energetic, pop-inspired rock like No Doubt and The Killers. The past 5 years we've moved from Philly to Houston to Brooklyn, where we are now. Those 3 cities have a serious grit about them that we like to think has given
our music more of an edge.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We liked to keep things short and simple :) We were in a relationship for a while before we started our group, so it's nice to have our band name reflect our partnership in both respects.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We played at a festival in Houston in front of a crowd of 5,000 people and that was pretty incredible. It was outside under a hot summer sun, but the crowd was awesome and we really fed off of their energy during our performance.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Our favorite venue was the Iridium in Manhattan- love that the layout lends itself to the audience being able to sit and really engage with the artist. We would love to play at Rockwood sometime in the next year.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Probably Maggie Rogers and Hozier. We respect both artists so much for their songwriting, as well as their ability to maintain artistic control as they've gotten more popular.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Play with other people as much as possible. Nobody in the music industry makes progress alone - it's all about finding people you vibe with and trying to move forward together. We'd also say that you need to work on your music and craft until you absolutely love it. Audiences can tell if you're faking it. If you're really excited about what you're making and playing, that will rub off on your fans and they'll join you for the ride.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Get out and play as many shows as possible. And watch as many shows as possible! It's all about building emotional momentum to keep pushing yourself to move forward, even when there are tough days or setbacks.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
A single we're releasing early 2023 called "You and I." We wrote it about settling into a life with someone and finding magic in the mundane. It's really special to us because it captures how we feel about getting to live out a regular life that feels extraordinary when you're in love.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We would say that "What You Got" and "Fly Away" are our favorite songs to play live. Those two songs together really represent the full spectrum of the music we feel we're capable of creating.
And funny enough, those are the two songs that get requested the most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Typically we are inspired by other music that we hear - usually from a group that we love, and often from an earlier era or decade. We like to mimic those sounds and explore where they would land if they were created again today. We usually pair that up with whatever we are feeling emotionally at the time that we're writing... often there is something going on in life that is moving us one way or another. You can make great music with just about any emotion if it's strong enough, so that's where we draw our inspiration.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We like to make sure our music is real to our stories, and that the lyrics feel genuine for us to sing to live audiences. Usually our messages have to do with some reflection on what we've been going through recently. The last couple years that has circled back around to the "passage of time" as a theme in a few of our songs.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We have to argue about lyrics and song structures all the time. But that's the great thing about writing music together - we get to bounce ideas off each other before they make it to largeraudiences to make sure that the music and message are all coming through in the right way. If the music isn't moving one of us, it probably won't move other listeners.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are currently working on writing music in more of a "rock" direction, since we've had so much more fun recording and performing upbeat music. So we've been spending a lot of time on writing new stuff. We hope to begin recording our next project in the next 6 months or so. Our new single "Mama Told Me" just came out last month and is a great funk-pop jam.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We spend most of our social media energy on Instagram - you can follow us @emilyplusshawn .
We're also on twitter and Tiktok under the same name!