A songstress prepares to take over the Big Apple and beyond, so we got to talking with her.
Emily Nicole Green is following in the footsteps of Americana and folk legends Ani DiFranco and Bonnie Raitt with passion, grace, and exquisite songwriting sensibilities. Just one spin of her forthcoming EP, Outrunning The Animal, and it will evoke emotion in you much like that of her musical heroes. She’s taken all the right notes – literally and figuratively, as her vocals captivate on first listen.
The born-and-raised New York City artist listened to a mixture of music growing up thanks to her parents, so it makes sense that Outrunning the Animal covers a lot of ground sonically; it’s a record that illustrates heart, pain, and nature’s simplicity. Standout track “It’s Gonna Be Okay” fills a void in the world that we so desperately need during times of crisis. Whether it be current events, relationships, or positivity, this songstress can shine a light on all of us.
The Aquarian sat down on Zoom with Green to talk about the writing and recording process of Animal, her list of folk influences, and what is coming next as she gets ready to dominate the music scene.
What does this new EP mean to you?
This EP truly means almost everything to me. I’ve been writing songs since I was 14 years old. I started playing piano at three. I was never good at practicing and I always wanted to do my own thing. I was lucky to have a piano teacher who was a songwriter herself and she recognized what I was trying to do. I would write poetry and practice piano. Then, at 14, I started writing my own songs and it has been very cathartic for me. Songwriting helped me process anything difficult that has happened to me, and on the other side of writing a song, I really feel I walked through a door emotionally that has a space between me and whatever happened.
Why did you name the EP Outrunning the Animal?
I feel like what happens a lot in our society is people believe that if they keep moving fast enough and stay busy and ignore the emotions and do not process them, then they will be able to outrun them, but that’s not how it works. There’s no outrunning the animal. You cannot outrun yourself, but if you try to… it will go from a whisper to a yell to a scream. It’s an invitation to stop outrunning the animal and to face the animal, be it the emotion or the parts of us that have not been healed yet – the inner child or angsty teenager which need to be attended to. I tried to outrun the animal and these are the songs I had to go through to get to a little bit of light or hope. I thought that some of these songs can be played and I could sit as a close friend and show the listener my process so I can help them go through theirs.
Take me through the writing and recording process of this EP.
Some of these songs I wrote 14 years ago and some I wrote a few years ago. It’s been a lifetime in the making. I chose the songs that would stay with me. I quit my job, started taking voice lessons with a vocal coach called Raab, and he connected me with a piano player. I started my demos in early 2021. One thing led to another and I rerecorded these songs with three different sets of musicians in three different studios. I worked with arranger Mike Williamson. We took everything out my head with the textures of the instruments and figured out the tempos and put them in the studio. I did not want songs that were like fast food – I wanted songs that would be timeless and have endurance.
The EP is also very relationship based.
My parents divorced when I was eight. When I write a song it’s rarely about one thing. It usually starts with an inciting incident. I’ve taken from different emotional experiences I’ve gone through. I definitely think my twenties were a learning curve. I really found a love for myself that I was looking for in other people.
What made you fall in love with Americana music and the blues?
My parents are both music fanatics. I have a folk singer/songwriter foundation. Growing up it was Phoebe Snow, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Elton John. My dad also was into BB King and Eric Clapton. I love Bonnie Raitt. She was a huge influence from a very young age. When I hear Americana, I feel a rawness, a vulnerability, and a humanity. There’s not a lot of fat on it – it feels like you’re right there with the emotion. I see it in Brandi Carlisle’s music too. I also was led to Americana through country music. I could probably do a Garth Brooks lyric contest! I don’t feel an artist influenced me. I feel like songs or albums influenced me [such as] Tapestry by Carole King. I feel like many different roads led me to Americana.
I listened to a lot of jazz in my twenties: Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Nir Felder, John Scofield, David Bryant, Mark Giuliana, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett.
The Beatles, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Phish, The Roots, The Nappy Roots, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, Béla Fleck, the soundtrack to Buena Vista Social Club, Delbert McClinton, and Johnny Lang are some others I love.
I call Ani DiFranco my ‘North Star.’ The angst, the power, and fearlessness of Ani and her emotional background is what I fell in love with. I felt most aligned with Bonnie Raitt and Ani DiFranco growing up, but I’ve gotten Dolly Parton comparisons because of my vibrato, as well.
What is the inspiration behind your song “It’s Gonna Be Okay,” because it could have such a universal message behind it.
Basically, I write songs hoping it could help others. I wrote this for Uvalde victims’ parents. If parents cannot go work thinking that their children cannot feel safe going to school is awful. I wanted to write them a song. It was also on the heels of the Ukraine war happening. It was too much to process at the same time. It was also when COVID was going on. We were feeling this distance from one another and wanted to hear someone say it’s gonna be okay like a mantra. I don’t feel this song is hopeful, but points in the direction of where hope lives.
Will you be taking these songs on tour?
That is the hope. I was contacted by a radio booker. We are getting some radio airplay. I haven’t played my original music live since 17. The goal is to be put this all out by my 40th Birthday. The EP is available on vinyl, as well, and I will be playing Brooklyn for my EP release party on October 28.
FOR ALL THINGS EMILY NICOLE GREEN, VISIT HER WEBSITE!