Meet Emily Nicole Green, the NYC-based singer-songwriter bringing a raw, soulful authenticity to her music and helping perpetuate the diversity within Americana music.
By blending classic themes of different types of music like indie rock, pop, folk, jazz, and blues, Green creates a unique style that expresses her own feelings and experiences in a resonating way. Her vocals are packed with emotion, and her lyrics are laced with truth and poetic sentiments.
This style is exemplified on Green’s most recent release, “Wreckage,” a single that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of having your heart broken, and longing for closure or a chance to say what you didn’t get to say. Green appropriately describes it as “the letter you wrote to your ex, but burned before sending.” From its scorching and honest lyrics to its soulful instrumentals and passionate vocals, “Wreckage” is indeed a song that demands to be not just listened to, but heard.
The new single is the second release leading up to her EP, Outrunning The Animal, due out in October.
We got a chance to chat with Green about the new single, her upcoming album, future goals, and more.
How’s your summer been so far? Any highlights?
Thanks for asking. My summer has been busy with promoting my new singles, but we did go to Montauk for a long weekend which was great and I’m hoping to do a little trip before the summer is over to just sort of clear my head and reset.
Do you remember the moment or moments that led you to pursue a life of songwriting and music-making? How about any primary inspirations and influences?
I have always been surrounded by a love of and reverence for music. My grandparents sang to us and my parents were both very passionate about music. I started playing piano when I was three years old and I would also write and read poetry. I think I can still recite the poem, “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. From the time I was about five years old I was performing in plays and variety shows. When I was 13-14 y.o. I wrote my first song, “Puppy Love” and from then on writing songs became my go-to for my self-expression and processing my emotions and the world.
In terms of my musical influences, my mom would play musicians like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Snow, and Bob Dylan in the house and my dad loved James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, David Crosby, and many others, so I was really exposed to these incredible songwriters very early on. When my parents got divorced, my step mom introduced us to country music, so that had a big influence on me. I know almost every Garth Brooks song and the album, Stones In The Road, by Mary Chapin Carpenter was really important to me.
Beyond what was playing in the house, Ani Difranco is my North Star. I made a Spotify playlist with over 500 of my favorite songs, it’s called “Nothing But Green Lights” in case anyone wants to check that out. Just to name a few of my favorite musicians: The Indigo Girls, Jill Scott, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z, The Roots, Adele, Bob Dylan, Brandi Carlile, Joni Mitchell, Lauren Hill, Erikah Badu, Jonny Lang, Elton John, Patty Griffin, the list really goes on and on. Janelle Monet strikes me as one of the most interesting and innovative musicians right now. In 2019, when I saw Brandi Carlile in concert, it set me on a course back to music, so I will always be grateful to her.
You recently released your single, “Wreckage,” on July 20th. What was the inspiration and backstory behind this song? Is it autobiographical?
The inspiration was a relationship I had and I’ll leave it there, but what I say about the song is very true: “it’s the letter you wrote to your ex but burned before sending”. I’m not a therapist, but if you sing “Wreckage” at the top of your lungs while driving down the highway, you’re gonna work out a few things by the time you get where you’re going.
What messages or feelings are you hoping to get across to the listener with “Wreckage?”
I’m hoping to acknowledge the brutality of unrequited love. I am trying to validate just how painful it is to fall from the heights of the possibility of what could be. Even though this song was written many years ago, I wrote the song in the midst of the pain, so it really captures what I was experiencing. When you’re in it, it feels nearly impossible to believe that you could feel this strongly and the other person doesn’t, especially when they have said things to lead you to believe they do.
I’ve come to realize that it’s essential to take note of people’s behaviors and how they treat you, not just focus on their words. I hope this song gives people permission to feel all the feelings they may have buried. I also hope there is an empowering takeaway here, which is let’s forgive ourselves for not seeing the signs, but let’s also remind ourselves that we are worthy of healthy love and to learn from these experiences so we can do our best to be more careful with the precious cargo that is our heart.
There are three things I know to be true: 1) Two things can be true at the same time and we need to be able to hold multiple perspectives. 2) We cannot abandon ourselves for anyone else or anything else 3) There is no outrunning the animal.
What does your songwriting process tend to look like? More regimented and structured or loose and when inspiration strikes?
My songwriting process is a hybrid between regimented and when inspiration strikes. For example, I was knitting earlier today and I started writing a song, so I just opened my voice memo app on my iPhone and started recording. That’s more of the inspiration part, but then I will dedicate time to sitting down and working on the unfinished parts of a song and approach them in a more methodical way. I have over 700 voice memos with what I call “song seeds”. I have started to create a catalog of my song seeds so that I can see what’s there and what’s ready to be worked on. I write on walks, while driving, on the treadmill, and now, apparently while knitting. I also write songs in the bath and the shower.
I see “Wreckage” is part of your forthcoming EP, Outrunning the Animal. What more can you tell us about the album? Common themes, motifs, etc.?
In a certain way each song is exploring grief from a different angle. This EP is kind of a study of grief. Sometimes the point of entry to begin to see the grief is through a secondary emotion like anger; sometimes it is about sitting directly in the sadness; sometimes it is about looking for a kind of dark humor like in wreckage “I guess that’s just how you talk to friends,” and sometimes it’s about choosing to have faith that there is hope and light available to you while still submerged in the grief. I have a lyric from one of my song seeds that has served as the mantra for this EP: “at the altar of the ache you’ll find the light below the wound”.
What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you?
I have to tell you that the biggest realization I have had is that the gift is in the making of the songs. Once we wrapped on production, I felt like I had done what I came to do. So I would argue that that is success. Creating something that didn’t exist before and making music for yourself and for your taste and learning how to trust your gut and trust yourself.
However, my mission for my music is “to get my songs to the hearts that need them,” so that is my Why and that is the engine behind my promotion efforts. I had a goal to get 10,000 streams in 10 days and I just made that goal for “Wreckage,” so now I need to start making some new goals. I would absolutely love to get my songs into TV shows and films because I do believe that they could really draw out the emotional resonance of a scene. My goal since I was a kid has been to be on Broadway and write a Broadway show, but at the moment, I feel pulled to continue to produce songs and work on finding the courage to play them live.
If you could tour with or open for any present-day artist, who would it be and why?
Ani Difranco. She is the most authentic songwriter I know. She is a person with so much bravery and integrity. Her lyrics are beautiful and brutal and I love her from the bottom of my heart. It would be the highest honor to open for her. There are other musicians who are also very important to me as well.
Opening for Brandi Carlile or Bonnie Raitt or The Indigo Girls would be absolutely incredible. When I stood in the audience of Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend music festival in Mexico in 2019 I was overcome by this knowing that I was going to play on stage with her. Maybe one day! You have to let yourself dream. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will believe in you?
Do you have a tour or anything planned post-EP release? Other exciting plans for the rest of the year?
I am working on creating a live show, so that’s all TBD. I turn 40 on October 30th and my vinyl release party will be my 40th birthday party, so that’s all in the works! I am so excited about my vinyl art and design. The back cover is a piece by this fantastic French visual artist, Alexandra Duprez. I worked with my designer on getting the look and feel of the vinyl just right– from the colors to the textures and the fonts. I want to hear more stories about women who make their dreams come true in their 40s and 50s and 60s and beyond. I think we need more stories about older women. I’m much more interested in art from people who have taken some time to live.