Teen country/ pop singer songwriter Emmagen Rain has released her new single, FOR YOU. Co-written by Emmagen with Erin McKellar and Bread + Butter, it is the follow up to City Lights Call and Karaoke Song. Emmagen first came to prominence via The Voice Australia last year and followed up with debut single release City Lights Call. The single hit #1 on Triple J’s Unearthed chart and held the top spot for 2 weeks; before claiming a Top 10 National Country Airplay chart, with streams now in excess of 200,000. Follow up ‘Karaoke Song’ is at 250,000 streams and climbing.
Hailing from Murwillumbah, Northern NSW, Emmagen began singing and songwriting at aged 9. In 2018, Emmagen won the People Choice Award at Tamworth’s Country Music Festival Busking Championship and picked up the 2020 win at Tamworth’s Coca Cola Battle of the Young Stars. In 2019, Emmagen also won the World Junior Karaoke Championships in Las Vegas. She has also received mentorship from the likes of Ben Carey, guitarist for Savage Garden, Tal Bachman and Lifehouse.. Emmagen answers some questions about the single for Hi Fi Way
How has the build up been to the new single FOR YOU?
FOR YOU has been really well received, It was added to ten editorial playlists and is streaming particularly well on Spotify. Country radio are playing it which I’m especially grateful for as it probably sits more on the pop side of the fence. My friends, family and record label all love it and I love it and feel super proud of it. Being young in the music industry means other people are going to be making decisions on my behalf, yet I have very strong ideas regarding the creative direction of my projects. My team and I nailed that with this song and I am very grateful to everyone involved.
What is the story behind the single?
I really wanted to write a ballad that everyone could relate too. I was 13 at the time so I drew on my feelings from losing a close friendship. It’s essentially about meeting the right person at the wrong time and how it feels when you know you have to say goodbye but you’re the one that’s not there yet. Losing a loved one regardless of how, who or why can inflict an equally painful experience.
Have you been chuffed with how far and wide your music is reaching?
Yeah it’s pretty unbelievable, in the past month FOR YOU has had 160K Spotify streams by listeners from 94 countries – that’s just crazy. It proves how universal music really is and I’m happy that so many people are listening to mine. City Lights Call is streamed more in the U.S than here in Australia which is crazy.
How would you compare it sonically to some of your other music?
FOR YOU is my first ballad, it is more mature, anthemic and moodier than my previous songs. It builds with a mix of country, rock and pop beats and has a heavier instrument presence. The gang vocals in the double chorus heighten the impact of the melody making you want to belt it out at the top of your lungs. The balance of light and shade work to take the listener on an emotional journey which was the purpose. All of these elements work together to create a greater emotional depth compared to my earlier songs. Karaoke Song and City Lights Call are youthful, light filled and ultimately happy bops.
What was it like going to Las Vegas to win the world junior karaoke championships?
It was my second time in Las Vegas and it is incredible. The Casinos in Vegas are like mini cities and you literally do not need to leave them for any reason. The Karaoke comp was in the Circus Circus Casino at Vince Neil’s (Mötley Crüe) Tatuato Bar and took place over four nights. I sang Rolling In The Deep, Hopelessly Devoted To You and Somethin’ Bad and ended up winning the Junior title. I was twelve and the youngest competitor so It was pretty surreal to win, especially considering the Australian prelim rounds started almost a year before and getting to Vegas was a huge mission. After the comp and the pressure was off we got to hang at the circus and amusement park in the hotel which was pretty awesome. We spent our days Downtown in the mall watching street performers, sipping Starbucks and chilling at the best Mexican diner.
Did that open a few more doors for you?
I won some pretty cool prizes, the biggest being a trip to Canada to record a song and music video and was invited back to defend my title yet unfortunately COVID put a halt on all of that. I was approached by a scout from The Voice America yet was already making plans to audition for The Voice here in Australia. It does look good in my bio though.
Who would you say is the biggest influence on your music?
I’ve been influenced by many artists and genres from Carrie Underwood to Avril Lavigne, Lana Del Rey and Miley Cyrus. I would definitely say Taylor Swift is my biggest inspiration at the moment. She is a song writing and artistic genius and has paved a way for teenage crossover artists. I love how clever her lyrics and melodies are and she has so many great songs that I’m always finding new faves.
How frustrating have the restrictions around COVID been to you?
It has definitely been difficult at times. Apart from The Voice last year I haven’t really been able to perform. It’s been a bit upsetting because it’s probably my favourite thing to do, and there’s been a constant stream of cancellations and disappointment, I do however try not to dwell on the negatives. One positive to come out of all the lockdowns and restrictions is that I’ve had more time to concentrate on writing songs. I’ve done some co-writes on zoom and writing solo on piano, so there’s new music coming.
Are you feeling more optimistic about the prospect of touring this year or early 2022?
At this stage 2021 looks like it’s a write-off, yet I have hope the 2022 Tamworth Country Music Festival will go ahead as planned and kick off the year with a bang. It’s my favourite festival and I have family in Tamworth so it has the best memories. I really missed it this year. Followed by every other festival on the calendar. I really hope 2022 sees international travel open up again.
What’s next for Emmagen Rain?
I’m very excited to have just signed a record deal with ABC Music and in collaboration will most definitely release more music this year. I look forward to the time where I can get out there and perform my music live and connect with the audience. I haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet. I also plan to go to America and explore some very exciting opportunities.
Interview By Rob Lyon