Baking banana bread, playing board games, catching up on TV shows; these are just some of the things people around the world have been doing for the past year to fill up their more-open schedules. Writing, recording, and debuting a first single, however, was at the top of new artist Emma Freeman’s list.
After the sudden cancellation of a theatre show she was set to star in, Freeman didn’t sit around and mope. In true entertainer fashion, the phrase, “the show must go on”, rang true to her, as it allowed her to slow down to refocus her attention to other career goals. A self-described catcher of the music bug that was always drawn to music, she recounts how even her parents saw how songs piqued her interest from a very young age. “My parents always had music playing in the house. Every time I played with my dolls and my parents would play music around me, I’d stop everything. So much so, they had to stop playing music around me as often so I could focus on doing other things. Then, after awhile, my parents did the only thing you can do with a kid that obsessed with music and put me in musical theatre.” That attempt to funnel her interest into a designated space worked wonders and shaped Freeman’s life from then on, leading to multiple roles in theatrical productions and singing songs for off-Broadway shows.
Though singing and acting were already running strong through her veins, she didn’t step into the role of songwriter until her college years. For an audition, she was tasked with writing lyrics and melodies for instrumental tracks, a process called “toplining”, which made her realize how much she enjoyed piecing songs together. Fortunately, her University of Miami campus offered classes in Music Production and Songwriting and resulted in her writing many songs; she credits the positive feedback from her professors as her inspiration to keep going.
Freeman’s debut single, ‘Verona’, showcases who she is as an artist while playing a slight homage to her theatre upbringing. While the style of the song is laid-back and relaxing in nature with Freeman’s smooth vocal runs, it’s able to pinpoint the desperation of being on the cusp of true love and hopeful for a fairytale ending. “Theatre is about storytelling, and good theatre can evoke emotions out of listeners.” The song’s concept was inspired by the Shakespeare tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, which she has starred in twice, and thus was very invested in. “I like the idea of a song speaking to a certain moment; that feeling of reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time and wanting that passionate young love so badly.” If you listen closely to the last lyrics of the song, you’ll even notice the exact text from the play. Freeman did work back-and-forth with a producer on ‘Verona’ once she got the basics down, and when he sent back to her the mastered version, she was overwhelmed with the turnout. “I was crying. It was exactly what I wanted,” she said.
Now with more experience under her belt and the pressures of songwriting more faded, Freeman is able to pen a track pretty quickly. “I usually write the majority of a song in one moment. When I find a flow, I just keep going with it and see where it takes me, and then it usually doesn’t take me too long to finish once I’ve got into it.” She’s always been fascinated with contemporary music, and though she believes she fits most in the indie pop/indie folk categories, she’s trying not to make repetitive work. “A lot of my songs do what ‘Verona’ does in terms of being pretty melodic and having a lot of harmonies, but I try but I try not to box myself into a specific genre when I write.” In the near feature, she has 2 more singles set for release, and hopes another 6 could form a well-rounded EP. Much like some of her favorite artists, Joni Mitchell, Ingrid Michaelson, and Phoebe Bridges, Freeman’s next goals are “to perform live, release a lot of music, and find more ways to relate to people’s hearts.”
For more on Emma Freeman, follow her on Instagram @emmaraldcity and visit her website, emmapfreeman.com.