An artist who’s wholly planted in 2017 but whose music sounds utterly timeless, Rhode Island’s own Emeline knows the value of technology in building her career. A social media sensation, she uses her platforms to promote and gain feedback on her music, grow her modeling and acting career, and engage her fans directly. She has over six million loops and 30,000 followers on her Vine channel. (The rapid-video-sharing site recently shut down, but her videos are still available for the time being.)
Recently, Emeline released her first music video for “Angel,” a song that goes to the heart of what it means to be an outsider. The concoction of pop she’s brewing is both ready for radio and message-laden, making it important and reflective of a young person’s typical societal experience.
Emeline took a few moments out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for Popdose about her music, career, and her desert-island discs.
Like many artists today, you’re reaching new fans and promoting your music via social media. When and how did you see your socials really take off?
I started getting serious with posting short creative videos in ninth grade. I noticed that the more I followed my vision and was unapologetically myself, my content was compelling enough to trend often. It was an escape in some ways; I was bullied at school, but a few mean people are nothing compared to my army of online friends who love me for me.
How does your online community affect the music you make?
I love how accessible it is to discover artists. I try to expand my taste, [and] I think it’s important to have a diverse background as a creator. People will send me song requests online, which I get really excited to listen to. The encouragement I receive is such a driving force. It makes me want to give more. I’m doing this for them.
In addition to your music, you’re also a model, actress, activist, and more. How do you make time for it all?
My life is so crazy busy, but I pour my heart into working a lot because I love it all so much. I started out being an activist by simply voicing my opinions as a lyricist! I want to…change the world, and at the end of the day, all of the labels sort of blend together. I am a creator.
It’s important that I spend time chilling with friends. Most of them don’t even know what I’m up to behind the scenes or that a ton of the songs I write are from their perspectives! It’s refreshing to take a step back and just be a teen when I’m with them. I am so blessed with the help from my team at Red 13 Studios, supportive family, and high school (The Met School). It really does take a village.
“Angel” shows a great deal of vulnerability. Can you personally relate to the lyrics as someone who lives her life so much in the public eye on social media?
I can definitely relate to that perspective. It’s a numbers game on social media. Self-worth should not be defined by double taps, but that’s easier said than done. It’s hard to tell through the internet if some collaborations are really inspired by good work or if they are done simply to gain a bigger audience. “Angel” was about a similar thought hitting me, wondering if I am actually respected by people in my real life. The angel is that real friend who’s got your back always and simply respects you. Comparing that back to social media, the angels are definitely my real fans.
What was the process of making the video like? Did you have much creative input?
I actually wrote the video treatment myself and produced it along with Red 13 Studios as well as working closely with director Jim Foster. I envisioned what I wanted the video concept to be when I was still writing “Angel.” The song is sort of dreamy; it’s full of the questions you ask yourself when you feel alone in a crowded place. I wanted to make that physical isolation clear in the music video.
I also have a sort of ironic sense of humor that may or may not be apparent when just hearing the lyrics but is more clear in the video. One of my favorite lyrics from “Angel” is, “I’m just a pill that you take / there’s no heart here you can break.” Through the music video, I make it clear that lines like this are intentionally sarcastic, like a satire. I follow this line with a dramatic eye roll and throwing a giant pink pill to the side.
I collaborated with local artists in building and painting unique props such as that pill to be featured in the video. We even designed the party-door entrance. I still can’t believe we shot it all in one day. This music video has so many things that could only be shot in one take, like slapping someone with glitter and jumping in water (that was very cold)! It was most incredible to have it all come to life on set. The streets we run on are in my neighborhood and the extras are my good friends!
It was most incredible to have it all come to life on set. The streets we run on are in my neighborhood and the extras are my good friends!
You’ve developed quite a captive audience on Vine. Did that expertise come in handy when it came time to create the “Angel” video?
Making Vine videos made me super aware of melodic timing because of the loop feature. Sometimes I would spend an hour making a perfect-looping six seconds! That came in handy when Jim and I were editing. I love how the beat syncs up to the clips in this video.
What can fans expect from you in 2017?
In 2017, I’m dropping my first EP! They can expect lots of surprises. I can’t wait to get surprised myself from what’s to come of it all.
One final question: what are your top three desert-island albums?
Currently, I would be feeling You Should Be Here by Kehlani, The Life of Pablo by Kanye West, and Help! by The Beatles. I would definitely be singing “Help!” on repeat considering the whole desert-island situation.