Emily Rowed has been on the move for two years straight.
It began in early 2017, when she handed over her apartment keys to a friend, sold her car, and packed up her entire life into a small blue suitcase. She had recently found love in Los Angeles, and what followed was an extended period of planes, travel, and living without a fixed address.
A year later, she documented the whole thing during a wildly prolific writing session with producer La+ch (Coleman Hell). “We stayed in his little writing room for thee weeks and made an album,” remembers Emily. “It wasn’t pre-written, it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t some idea that I had. It just came out.”
Emily and La+ch wrote new material every day in a Toronto studio barely bigger than a closet, recording as they went. They emerged with April — a 10-song LP that mashes up Emily’s raw, introspective folk songwriting with the producer’s crystalline noir-pop arrangements.
This represents the next artistic step for Emily — who began as a stage actor before gravitating towards music and self-releasing an acoustic album in 2012. Dance superstar Tiësto sampled her voice on his 2014 track “Say Something,” which paved the way for her to follow a more electronic sound. With April, she’s blended it all into one with a style that combines singer-songwriter intimacy with late-night electronic sparkle.
“Recording with La+th was like finding my dance partner. The music instantly clicked,” Emily reflects. “The album isn’t overthought, it’s not rewritten a hundred times. There’s a little bit of imperfection, and I’m down with that.”
The album documents a year in Emily’s life, from one April to the next. Opener “Two Feet” is about the exact moment the singer gave away her worldly possessions, her soft yet self-assured voice intermingling with moody dream pop guitars and swaying, heavy-lidded beats. The pulsing keys and weightless melodies of “Hey Love” capture the intensity of fresh romance, while “Watercolors” wraps the listener up in a warm blanket of sweetly hazed electro-R&B.
But the record isn’t all pure bliss. Uprooting your life doesn’t come without struggle, and many of the lyrics find Emily grappling with the choice to tear apart her old life and start anew. “If you wanna change then you gotta let your heart break,” she sings on the meditative pop anthem “Human.” The synth-kissed piano ballad “Glowing in the Room” reflects on the loneliness of long-distance love, and the hymnal “Oh My God” is an aching goodbye to an old way of life.
The album is an exercise in emotional vulnerability, as Emily offers a timestamp of her life with the confessional honesty of a diary entry. It’s all about letting go — of both possessions and inhibitions. “It’s kind of dangerous to fall so deeply, madly in love and then step up to a microphone,” she says. “Because we were writing so fast, I didn’t have time to think about poetry or metaphor.”
With all of these experiences captured on record, Emily is now entering a new phase. “The little blue suitcase has a wheel broken, so I’m thinking about slowing down for a little while,” she says with a laugh. “The suitcase and I are getting tired.”
Then again, with April’s singles hitting airwaves and a string of tour dates on the way, Emily Rowed’s wild ride is just getting started.
- about 1 month agoNew song "Seeing Colors" is out now! Check it out! 🌈 https://t.co/29MAlPtBZF
- about 11 months agowow - thank you so much Gems & Secrets. I do feel rich in emotion. Heart is so full these days. watch / read here: https://t.co/3XVJYhblpG
- about 11 months ago🌸Live 'Watercolors' directed by Daniel Keen🌸 Thank you for the premiere Popdust! WATCH HERE: https://t.co/41n2LkNEh3
- about 12 months agoDiscussing the making of April, on the corner where the album starts 🌸 Interviewed and filmed by Mandy-lyn Antoni… https://t.co/DMoTEY3kzn