Emily Whitehurst | Survival Guide
LFC: Introduce yourself to us through some of your song lyrics!
Emily Whitehurst: “Past behind me, sky above me. Only way to move is forward, standing on my own.”
LFC: Now, we know it could be considered as hard as picking a favorite child, but tell us some of your favorite lyrics you’ve ever written – and what they mean to you.
EW: You’re right, I’m not sure I would use the word “favorite”… but one of the songs that makes me feel the most emotional when singing it is “Way to Go” (this song also includes the lyrics I referenced in the first question). I initially didn’t want to be a solo artist, but circumstance led me here. The lyrics list some of the thoughts I had when considering whether I should continue to make music: “The universe likes to play this trick on me. Did I pick the wrong door? Been down this path before. Do I close the gates, erase everything, admit that it’s too late? Standing all alone also means I’m standing on my own.” It’s not necessarily poetic, but when I’m singing that, I’m feeling it too and it’s kind of difficult!
LFC: Being able to channel your emotions into something other people can listen and relate to is really awesome. We were just talking about that with another artist we interviewed, JoLivi. Keep on doing what you're doing! So, you’re currently on tour – what’s the best way for you to stay balanced and feel in control while constantly being on the move?
EW: I’ve never been much of a party person on tour. The show is the most important thing and the reason I’m on the road, and the second most important thing is getting enough sleep! I also try to drink lots of water and eat (mostly) healthy – basically I try and take decent care of my body so it can do its job every night at the show.
LFC: We're big supporters of taking care of your body. No better feeling than getting a good night of sleep AND drinking the right amount of water. Talk about being on cloud nine. So you mentioned this a bit before but, you’ve experienced personal transitions throughout your career in the music industry already – how has that shaped who you are as a performer as well as a business woman?
EW: I have changed SO much as a performer over the years. I started out singing in a punk band, not responsible for anything but my own microphone and my voice. Then I played in an electro-pop band and added keyboards. Now, in Survival Guide, I have to be practiced enough and have enough trust in myself to be able to do it all! It hasn’t been the easiest transition, but I feel like a stronger musician because of it. As a business woman, again, this is the first time I’ve worked alone. I’ve always been one of the main decision-makers in all of my past bands, but now I’m the only decision-maker! I’m still working on learning to go with my gut, since I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of.
LFC: It can be hard to trust your gut, but it's definitely advice we've heard from a lot of our past entrefemmeurs. We try and do it too. Since you're the only one you rely on right now, how do you define success for yourself?
EW: There are different levels of success. One type of success I already have is that I’m able to reach people all over the world with my music. I’m extremely grateful for my fans! The ultimate success to me would be if I could make music that I love as my only job. This would entail me reaching more people and making even more fans to be grateful for.
LFC: The fans always make it worth it. We're huge music supporters - having gone to quite the fair share of shows ourselves. Nothing better than seeing a fan get lost in the music. On a less pleasant note, the music industry is notorious for their poor treatment of women. Have you experienced anything like this? What advice would you share with our readers who may have gone through similar experiences?
EW: I experienced it a lot more when I was in a punk band, since the ratio of females to males is pretty small in that genre. Being in the indie world now, I’m not noticing it quite as much. There are a lot more women on stage! But, that being said, I am still my own thing right now. I’m just navigating booking, playing shows and recording my music. I haven’t had to negotiate contracts or other large business moves in the indie world yet. My advice to other readers is to just keep doing your thing! The majority of adversity I’ve experienced in the past was all just simple words*. If you feel strongly about playing music, you just push past that and keep going. Oh, and this is a no-brainer to me, but supporting other female musicians is also key. There’s room for all of us!
*One thing I thought was funny – when I started The Action Design (the electro-pop band), somebody commented something like, “Oh look. Guitar, bass and drums with a girl who sings and plays keyboards. How original” to which somebody replied, “Really? Four dudes in a band: a singer, guitar player, bass player and drummer… 75% of all bands everywhere”. That’s hardly the worst thing that’s been said about me, but it just shows that people are silly and your fans can see it too and will stick up for you.
LFC: There is definitely room for all of us; that's a message we're trying to send too! For women of any age, young or old, looking to work in the music industry – what would you share with them before they start?
EW: If you aren’t doing it because you love music, you probably won’t want to be in the industry for a long time. It’s not an easy industry to be in, no matter what gender you are. Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s easy. As a woman, I’d say that unfortunately you may come up against obstacles where people want you to prove yourself. Thankfully, if you really love music, it’s not that difficult a task. Also, you may be surprised at how many women are behind the scenes at music venues and festivals! It’s really fantastic. The more we support each other, the higher we’re lifted up in the world.
LFC: Yes! We couldn't agree more. Women supporting women is what we're all about here. So, to wrap it up in classic LFC style, what does being an #entrefemmeur mean to you?
EW: To me, being an entrefemmeur, I already consider myself equal to men. They may challenge me (see previous question) or judge my looks, but none of that makes me feel lesser than them because I know I am not. I just keep doing what I want to do.