I’m not really sure where to start with this week’s artist. Emilia Ali’s debut album entitled Dreamland is short (five tracks), sweet, and just a straight-up masterpiece. Her voice is one of the most captivating, sincere voices that I’ve heard in a long time. The first time I went through this album, I felt like I was being dragged into this emotional whirlwind as every song is so packed with different feels. Let’s break down the emotional progression (ideally listen to the album while reading):
“Dreamland” – your classic tantalizing “in love” track except with more raw physical emotions and a jumpy synth that’ll make you raise your eyebrows involuntarily.
“U Don’t Like Me When I’m High” – Emilia gives an excellent interpretation of this song in our interview below. Basically, we’ve all been in those kinds of relationships where your partner is restrictive and it almost seems like they want you to fail. Overall, the song sounds smooth with that nice slow beat tied with a tight hi-hat/snare combo matching that raspy voice perfectly. I didn’t see the rap verse by DC coming at the end but it’s a killer combo. Something about hearing a male and female voice makes for a memorable track.
“Give You Up” – Super relatable lyrics on this one. The beginning speaks on how she wish she knew how awful their relationship would be but a cheery, 70s-esque beat chimes in about how she can’t help chasing after him even though she knows that its not going to work. I think all of us have continued chasing after someone who hurt us and didn’t love us back. It almost becomes a challenge at that point, to convince them that they love you back but in your heart you know that you have to give them up. I have an ideal personal “shout-out” that I’m going to restrain from making about this experience.
“Turning Me On” – Confusing booty-calls that someone tries to keep on the downlow that make you kind of feel used but its all good.
“Into The Light” – Emilia talks about what this song means in our interview so I won’t spoil it. Side note: No idea how this is not on BPM right now. Sirius XM, get your “ish” together. I can’t stop listening to this track.
DISCLAIMER: my interpretation of this album could be completely wrong.
Read our interview below! Emilia Ali is going to be a star someday and she seems cool as hell. You read it here first. Hope to see you on the West Coast/Best Coast, Emilia!
1. Where exactly are you from/originate? And is Emilia Ali your actual name?
I grew up in Hopkinton Massachusetts, about an hour from Boston! My blood is Greek, Cypriot, Italian, Irish and German, but I’ve been in the US my whole life. “Ali” is my middle name. My parents gave it to me after my great Yiayia, Aliki. I never got to meet her, but I’m thankful I get to carry a piece of her with me in my name.
2. How long have you been making music and what got you into music in the first place?
I think I’ve just always been surrounded by music. My mom’s a singer-songwriter and my dad’s a drummer. I was sort of born in the peak of her career (sry mom), and was on and off the road with them until I was 4. My parents are my biggest musical influences and I’ve been jamming with them since day one!
3. Are there any places where you live that you go to for ideas/inspiration? Or do you just draw inspiration from everyday life?
I love just sitting and analyzing the world. I write on my Boston fire escape at night a lot. My inspiration comes mostly from my relationships with others. I draw a lot from the people around me and definitely thinking of inspiration as more of a day-by-day thing. It ebbs and flows, so I rarely try to force it.
4. I really like your song “U Don’t Like Me When I’m High”, what’s the story behind that song?
First off that makes me so happy, thank you for listening 🙂
VALNTN and I went into the session for “u don’t like me when I’m high” with a chord progression and hook that we’d come up with separately.
One time I was paranoid that my roommates were annoyed with me for being too high, and that’s where the hook stemmed from. Though, as Val and I fleshed out the song, I started to realize there was a double meaning. I think we’ve all been in a situation where some sort of effort you’re making is unrequited. I’ve had relationships where in the end I had to face the reality that the other person wasn’t on my team, and didn’t want me to succeed.
5. All of the songwriting on Dreamland is so unique and so personal, how long have you been writing songs?
I’ve been emulating my mama since before I could speak! I think I wrote my first song to be like her when I was around 6. Also, shouts to my lovely co-writers on the record (Jake Torrey, Parker Nornes, Ben camp, and Wyatt sanders)
6. Do you have a favorite song on Dreamland?
“Into The Light”
We wrote it about some heavier things in my life, and I think the emotion rooted in the song is what makes it so special to me. The song is for my baby sister, Elaina, who went through a lot in her first year of high school.
7. What type of hardware/software do you use to produce your music?
8. Your music is so well mixed and mastered, yet it doesn’t seem like you have been in music too long (unless there are secret songs hiding somewhere) and Dreamland sounds like an artist’s 3rd or 4th album. Can we expect more incredible albums in the future from you?
Lots more to look out for in the future and this coming year <3
9. Where do you ideally want to be musically in five years?
I think I’ll be moving to the West coast within the next five years. The goal is to be making as much music as possible, performing frequently, and writing/recording all the time!
Also, there is a music video for “Dreamland”. Watch it here:
Thanks for reading/watching. Feedback would be tight! Also, follow my Paris to PCH playlist on Spotify.