There are singers and then there are storytellers: someone who is capable of transcending their listener and illustrates a visual story before them. Emilia Glaser, a 19 year-old singer-songwriter from Snoqualmie Valley, is a true storyteller. Her most recent EP release, In The Trees, is whimsical and delicate, touching on the themes of longing, heartache and loss. A standout from the EP is her song, “The Falls,” which is an ode to a woman who committed suicide in her hometown. “and now you’re standing on the edge / mist kissing your face as you look down / 268ft off the ground / and as your feet leave the earth / your solace is found.” The poignant simplicity of this lyric and the sweet vocal delivery of Emilia’s delicate voice, juxtaposed with this dark message is chilling. It is curious, for someone so young to romanticize with such dark and real subjects. There are clearly strong influences from Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell, although, Emilia’s influences are simply a nod in admiration for her voice is simply her own. Her music has been featured on the Bold and the Beautiful and Rizzoli and Isles, and just recently she was featured in an artist showcase in Burbank, CA that is co-sponsored by publisher Heavy Hitters Music and production/record label services provider Nervesauce Music. Emilia Glaser took the time to sit down with us and discuss her music and inspirations.
Where are you originally from?
I am from the small town of Fall City, WA in the Snoqualmie Valley, just east of Seattle.
How did you originally get into music?
When I was in 3rd grade I started taking piano lessons. I wasn’t good at practicing though, so my career as a pianist died quickly, but taking piano really helped me get a foundation in music. I took band and choir in middle school, and I had an incredible band and choir teacher who encouraged me to continue with music. She has definitely been one of the biggest influences on me, and I really appreciate the support she’s given me.
Your music is quite wise beyond your years and has a lot of depth and sophistication lyrically. What got you into songwriting?
Thank you! I taught myself guitar in 7th grade, and I just started writing songs when I could play more than 2 chords. They were terrible, terrible songs, but you have to start somewhere.
What are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
Everything I listen to influences me in some way or another. My parents always listened to folk and classic rock (Joni Mitchell, CSN, Neil Young, Zeppelin, The Beatles) so being brought up listening to those artists has had heavy weight on my songwriting style. I like a lot of different kinds of music, especially soul and funk and I’ve started to experiment with different grooves because of that.
You’re such a wonderful storyteller! Your lyrics are quite poetic, illustrative, do you feel that the Pacific Northwest as influenced your style of writing?
Thank you very much. There is no way that the PNW hasn’t had some sort of influence on me. The physical environment has played a role in the imagery in my songs, for sure. And then there’s the fact that I’ve been surrounded by stellar local music my whole life and have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to wonderful live music from an early age. That, more than anything, has been incredibly influential on my music and style of writing.
You collaborated with Jay Pinto on your latest EP, In The Trees; how did you two meet?
I met Jay at The Black Dog Arts cafe in Snoqualmie, WA. He was the sound guy on open mic nights for a long time. I played some of my songs at one of the open mics and he approached me after. We started recording some songs not too long after that.
How do you feel you have grown musically since working on your latest EP?
My songwriting has changed, definitely. My music still has the folky sound, but I feel that my lyrics and melodies have matured. I’m not sure where I want to go with my music, if I want to keep it the same, stylistically, or change it up. I’m trying to spend some time discovering what I can do with it.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest EP and how it came to be
Jay asked me if I would be interested in making an EP and I said yes, so we started working on songs I had mostly already written, recording them and producing them. I didn’t write the song “In the Trees” till a week before we were going to go master it, so we worked really hard to get that one ready in time!
When songwriting, what is your creative process?
I don’t really have one. It changes every time. Sometimes I sit down and noodle around till something sticks. Sometimes I try, but nothing comes. Sometimes I get hit by a feeling of “if I don’t play within the next five minutes I will die” which turn into really productive writing sessions where I usually hit flow and can finish a song in a sitting. I really love those, they are bizarre.
What song off your EP impacts you the most? Why?
Release. It has a lot of memories wrapped up in it of rough times in a hard friendship. It still brings back the feelings I had during that time when I listen to it.
I love your song, The Falls, it’s such a beautiful Ode to depression. The melody is so beautiful and playful and has delicate moments like a leaf blowing in the wind. What was your inspiration behind this song?
Thank you. The Falls is my dads favorite song. I wrote it when I was about 15. I read an article in the local Snoqualmie paper about a woman who had decided to end her life by jumping off Snoqualmie Falls. I remember a feeling of disbelief as I read in the article that her family knew she had been looking for a place to commit suicide. So the song is me trying to wrap my head around the situation and what was going on in her head.
You were recently in an artist showcase in Burbank, CA sponsored by Heavy Hitters Music and Nervesauce Music! How did it go?
It went really well. I was honestly surprised at how well it went because I’m a bit of an introvert, so I was intimidated by the idea of me talking to a bunch of people about myself and being unbearably awkward, but somehow I did fine and it was fun.
Your music has already been featured in The Bold and The Beautiful and TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles. Do you have any additional shows that you would love to have your music placed in? Any shows you would like to write the music for?
I don’t watch a whole lot of tv, and if I do it’s usually just movies on Netflix, so I don’t really know what shows there are on tv these days. Lame answer, I know.
You just released a new single, “Stone” which is a beautiful ballad that swells in longing. Can you tell me more about this song and the inspiration behind it?
Stone is about how challenging it is to have any kind of relationship when the other person has too tight of a hold on you or is more invested than you. A situation I think we are all somewhat familiar with. It was inspired by a relationship of my own where I felt like I didn’t have a lot of room to breathe, but I cared a lot about the friend, so it was very difficult to go about the relationship.
On your website, it mentions you have a new EP to be released later this year. Do you have a date set? What can listeners expect from this new EP?
I’m actually not making a new EP. It was discussed, but I am trying to focus on school right now and also develop my music more before I put anything else out.
What are some of your favorite songs that made the most powerful impact on your life and why?
Ask a harder question, please! Haha oh man. All of Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon. That album kills me. The honesty and clarity of the lyrics set over the intricate guitar lines with stripped down production—it’s unbelievably striking and showed me the importance of the song over fancy production. I have a similar love for Joni Mitchell’s music, I began listening to her when I was just a wee pup and she has had a big influence on my songwriting. There are a lot of songs and musicians that have influenced me, but when I think of where I am now musically, Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell are the first to come to mind.
Do you have any songwriters or musicians you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Andy Shauf. He’s an incredible songwriter and producer. I would more than love to collaborate with him.
This year has been quite a busy year for you! Can you tell us what is on the horizon for you?
Yes it has, ah! I’m currently in my second year of University at Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia, so right now I’m trying to focus on school. My plan is to finish school before putting any more final projects out.
Emilia Glaser’s Playlist
The playlist below is a collection of songs selected by Emilia Glaser.
The songs selected are some of her biggest influences.