FEATURED ARTIST – Emilia Vaughn
Feature Interview With Emilia Vaughn
Interview by Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Hello Emilia, thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions for me today. How are you?
EV: Of course and hello! I’m doing great and so excited for this opportunity to share my story. Thank you for having me!
DK: Anytime Emilia, you’re very welcome! I really love your songs, “Sunflower” and “Pieces and Pages,” they’re very well written, sung and very musically appealing. I know “Sunflower” was written when you were 14 and that is still quite young (to me) to write such a great song. Are these the only two songs you currently have recorded?
EV: Thank you so much! I actually have a whole EP that I have professionally recorded at a studio in Orange County called OC Hit! The EP consists of five songs, two of which include “Pieces and Pages” as well as “Sunflower.” The other three songs are all recorded and finished, but not yet scheduled for release.
I have a home studio where I record my “scratch recordings” and have lots of songs I have written since as early as ten years old. They are technically recorded at home, and I have done some other recordings with other local studios in the last few years. Right now, though, I am focused on the music currently driving me.
DK: Very impressive, and you are already so ahead of the game by having a home studio to work from. What else can you share about the EP?
EV: A lot of the songs I wrote on the EP give a look inside the life of the stressed out and emotional person I am. I am hoping others will listen to my EP and relate with a lot of the lyrics and themes I sing about, and that my struggles and relief through music gives them the same relief from their struggles. My goal is to help people through music.
DK: And that is one of the many things that I find most wonderful about you, another one is how you’re donating 50% of your streaming proceeds to two non-profit charities that are providing assistance to those in need in the Ukraine from now through June. Can you tell me more about this?
EV: Thank you! And yes of course! I am donating 50% of my streaming proceeds for “Sunflower,” to two non-profit charities helping Ukrainian refugees! The organizations are called “World Central Kitchen (#ChefsForUkraine) and Friends of Moldova – Ukraine Refugee Relief Effort!” We have all heard about the war and horrible tragedies against everyday civilians taking place in Ukraine, so while I was researching what was happening and educating myself more on the situation, I realized that Ukraine’s national flower was the sunflower!
It was honestly a miracle because I knew how important my song “Sunflower” was to me, and I had always known I wanted to do something bigger than just releasing it as a single, because to me, the sunflower is a symbol of light in darkness. Now, with the donations to help Ukrainian refugees, the “Sunflower project” will not just be a huge moment for my music, but also a beneficial source of positivity for the people of Ukraine and the people around the globe who want to help struggling Ukrainians, and can now do so by listening to “Sunflower.”
I hope to help others around the world help Ukrainians through these organizations and by shining more light on this heavy and dark time.
DK: It is very great what you’re doing, so keep it up and I hope we can help by bringing more attention to it for you too! So, you have your own label already too? How did you go about putting that together?
EV: I work as an individual artist under my own family label that is managed by my artist development partners in California. DNT Entertainment is focused on marketing, publicity, brand strategy and distribution, OC Hit is focused on production and artist development, and with their assistance we launched my family label called Emilia Vaughn Entertainment and Media Group! Working together, my team and I have created a label for my brand where I can become the artist and visionary I have always pictured myself to be.
Having an independent label has been such a wonderful learning experience. I have loved getting to know how the music industry works and love learning alongside my fellow artists at OC Hit!
DK: Yes, all this will be tremendously beneficial to your continued success; you’re definitely on a great path! When did you create the label?
EV: I thought about it for years and created it with my family in late 2021!
DK: Will this be exclusively your own releases on this label or do you foresee expanding one day to include other artists on your label too?
EV: For now, I am releasing and promoting my own individual music. I have however written songs that I personally don’t want to record beyond my home studio, so if people are interested in singing and recording those songs, and/or if my music grows popular and my following expands enough so that I gain the power and the platform to do so, I would love to have other artists sing my music and/or join my label!
DK: That could be quite interesting too, try one song out and see how it goes… or invite a couple artists to collaborate on one song, I’d be interested to see the results too. Do you have a music business background by chance?
EV: Not really…I am a teenager and just turned 18 in February, so I am really good with working socials (mainly Instagram and TikTok), writing and producing music, and following my own creative direction for the brand and my vision. I usually leave the business side up to my talented publicist and manager, Dani Thompson!
DK: I hear you, and can totally understand how that goes. But again, you’re definitely off to a great start, just being willing to learn will help you phenomenally as your career develops further. Can you tell me a bit about your family life? Was/is your family very supportive of your music and how was it balancing school and music?
EV: I have the most loving and supportive family. My parents have always been, and still are, so supportive of my music career. My Dad was an aspiring musician when he was my age and knows how it feels to be in my position and really have big dreams, but his parents were not sure about the career path of being a musician because of the hard times they had trying to do so, and the money, time, and hard work that comes with it. Luckily, my Mom and Dad are supportive and encouraging of my music career and understand my dreams strong enough to help me make them real.
DK: As a parent and former musician myself, I can see both sides of the coin, the music industry is a hard road to walk down, but as long as you understand the difficulties it may present and are prepared for them, you can continue to forge ahead successfully through it.
EV: My whole family encourages me, and have since I was little, cheering on as I played my own music during our Christmas gatherings. I am sure they have videos I would be embarrassed by now! As for school, it is always so hard balancing school and music! School is important because college is always an experience I’ve wanted to have, but I still want to work hard with songwriting and production for my career in music, so music is a necessity in my everyday life. I am never not busy, let me tell you that!
DK: What was your first-ever song that you wrote and how many songs would you say you have at this time?
EV: The first song I ever wrote…Well, I was writing songs so early in life on many different notebooks, journals, and diaries, I honestly don’t remember where it all started! I remember the first song I wrote and produced on my computer on my own though, it was called “Wait a While.” I wrote and arranged it when I was 10, 11, or 12, and I remember being so proud of it. Now, looking back, it is not something I would want to share with the world even though my Grandmother and Mom believe it could be a hit.
My Grandma told me when she hears the song, she hears a crowd singing the chorus!
DK: I would definitely call that some great encouragement and support!
EV: I would say I have as many songs as 200. All of them might not be finished masterpieces, but songwriters and emotionally vulnerable people like me are always writing and producing to cope with what is bothering us on the inside. I am so appreciative of my weaknesses and gifts because it is so beautiful to me how the darkest moments of my life can turn into pieces of art I can share and help others with!
DK: Wow, I cannot stop saying impressive when it comes to you Emilia, but that is not a bad thing. Are any of your other songs about mental health in any way?
EV: Oh yes! I write most of my songs during anxiety attacks or episodes of depression, so they all have a common theme of mental health and wellness; looking for hope, staying strong, finding joy during pain, and how I’m doing or feeling internally. In my music, I process hardships and overwhelming feelings, either my own, or stories that my friends share with me, and I try to find a way to help them overcome those situations through music.
DK: How do you plan on combating the stigma that is still associated around mental health?
EV: I hope that my music will show others with mental health issues that they are far from alone and that people with the brightest smiles and most creative personalities can be the people who are struggling on the inside with their darkest inner demons, negative self-talk, shamefulness regarding their bodies, thoughts, and social life in general.
It is okay not to be okay all of the time and to try to turn mental illness into mental wellness. We need to recognize that feelings that are completely normal and healthy could be considered by some people as weak and unattractive, but to me, when someone is themselves and embraces how they feel, and is vulnerable enough to share how they feel, there is nothing more inspiring and lovely to be around. Beauty from pain. Flowers from hurt. That is the energy I will strive to show in my career and throughout my music journey.
DK: What are some other important issues that you would like to write about, support, or even fight against?
EV: I support fighting against racism. I do not like unnecessary discord – people fighting because they disagree. People should be able to actually talk and try to understand each other and try to come to agreements. Meeting in the middle to agree is better for all sides because we learn along the way and try to reach a compromise. Also, I love the comfort and joy animals can bring humans. I have two dogs and a guinea pig that make me laugh and brighten my days.
DK: Animals always seem to reach us in ways people cannot, it is uncanny and yet, at the same time helps deepen that bond we have with our pet friends. I have a dog too. I understand you’re an artist as well? How long have you been creating art?
EV: I have been creating art since I was a baby! Once again, I can’t remember the original date I started drawing, painting, and sketching! It is all a blur! My Mom can show you some of my early art. I am also trying to incorporate some of my artwork into my label – the spider with “Pieces and Pages” and the bee with “Sunflower.”
DK: I was getting that sense of intent when I saw them on your site; that there may be some additional purposes for your art. The works are quite beautiful to say the least and also very professional! What artist inspires you most?
EV: I am absolutely obsessed with weird and different art. For example, surrealism and contemporary art, any art form that makes you pause and stare at it for a little while. Currently, I have been admiring Pablo Picasso’s work, as well as Frida Kahlo!
DK: Aside from your beautiful art and music, what else occupies your time?
EV: So, so, much! I write a lot of poetry, which also may end up turning into lyrics for my music. Besides music, art and poetry, mainly friends, pets, and family when I am not busy with music and schoolwork! When I have independent free time, I also love to design jewelry and work on crafts and mini projects around my house; I just taught myself to crochet last weekend. I also LOVE climbing trees and going on mini adventures!
DK: It sounds like you have a very well-rounded life, that is great! Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?
EV: I would love people who struggle with anxiety to stream “Pieces and Pages” and “Sunflower” to see if those songs could help them in any way! And keep an eye out for my EP, featuring other songs about dealing with anxiety and other precarious situations we humans may find ourselves in! Thank you so much for this opportunity to connect with a larger audience and share my music and story.
DK: You’re most welcome and thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Emilia! I wish you all the best with your career!
EV: Thank you very much!
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Emilia Vaughn is an American Alternative Pop singer-songwriter from San Diego, California. Her debut single “Pieces and Pages” was released on January 21, 2022 under her independent label Emilia Vaughn Entertainment and Media Group, with support from artist development partners OC Hit and DNT Entertainment.
Emilia’s second single “Sunflower” was released on March 25, 2022; 50% of streaming proceeds for the months of April, May and June 2022, will be donated to two non-profit humanitarian charities providing support to the people of Ukraine. Emilia is driven to reduce the stigma associated with mental health by creating a community of confident, loving, and open minded individuals. To learn more, visit https://www.emiliavaughn.com/.