Being a part of the music industry or even an artist was never on Emily Hackett’s radar. While in high school in Georgia, she decided on a fluke to visit Belmont University with a friend so she could miss a day of school. This University of Georgia bound, Atlanta girl fell in love with a town and a college that she previously knew nothing about. Emily Hackett was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was literally raised on Rock and Roll. “Dad played Rock and Roll, bluegrass, literally everything but country music.”
She wasn’t even aware of the whole ‘Nashville Dream’ until she enrolled in college and started interning in the music industry. Emily states, “Here I was in Nashville at school. I had no idea that there was this whole world of music where you could have careers.” Emily was surrounded by amazing writers and artists and dreamed of becoming one herself but as she said, “I didn’t realize there was so much to it. It was cool to be studying the music business at college. I thought I could always be a writer and in Nashville, writers actually get to perform.”
She finished school, but still she wasn’t fulfilled. She felt there was a piece missing. “I let fear take the driver’s seat. I wasn’t creating full time. I was working for the creators.” When she made a conscious decision to “do this” then the doors started opening.
In 2014, Emily won the national Belk’s Modern Southern Music Showcase where she played tour dates with artists Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Rascal Flatts. About this same time, a friend was getting married and she wrote a song, “Take My Hand” (The Wedding Song) with her buddy, Christian Luthi, for their wedding. Naturally, they asked her to sing it. Emily recalls, “The wedding was supposed to be the only time we ever performed it, so we wanted to get a decent recording of it made for them as a gift. There was really no other intention for the song than that.” So they went to record it at Christian’s friend’s house, who she did not know. The man who opened the door and recorded the vocal that still exists on that song, also became the man that she married four years later.
Her husband, and producer of “Take My Hand,” Mikey Reaves, encouraged Christian and her to re-release the song with Will Anderson’s (of Parachute) vocal as the male counterpart because their voices blended well together and he was willing to it. They released the track on Valentine’s day of 2014 and it went to the top five on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Charts. Emily shared,”It was a beautiful thing that we gifted this for someone’s wedding and it gifted me my husband and also paid for me to record my own record and work as an independent artist.” Emily jests, “God is laughing saying, ‘Bet you didn’t know this was going to happen.’”
Recently, Emily Hackett released the first half of her debut album, By The Sun EP, out everywhere. Featuring her critically acclaimed singles “Good Intentions” and “Nostalgia”, the EP is comprised of 5 songs that are true and dear to Emily’s heart. She will be performing at Beachland Bar and Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio on November 20th.
Rolling Stone’s Marissa R. Moss states, “Her forthcoming EP, By The Sun, is a smart meeting-point between early-Aughts pop, country’s current genre playfulness and the one-name women of the Nineties (Faith, Trisha, Shania), with plenty of room for both tender and tongue-in-cheek confessionals.”
As do most of the young artists throwing their hats into the music arena, Emily Hackett writes or co-writes all of her own songs. Emily Hackett released “Good Intentions” during early June in conjunction with her CMA Music Festival appearance on the Radio Disney stage. The idea for the single “Good Intentions” came to her while listening to her pastor in church. He stated, “Everybody has good intentions, but you can’t get to heaven on good intentions.” At first, she though it would be a serious song, but when she started writing with Mikey and Adam James and “we just turned it on it’s head” to make this fun, slightly irreverent song.
The single, “Nostalgia” is one of Emily’s favorite songs. “It was night write with friend, Steph Jones. Mikey was playing a loop on guitar. We just started saying things….that kept tumbling out. The next thing we know were describing ‘nostalgia’ personified.” Part of the video was filmed at carnival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Many parts of the video are real and unscripted,” she relates. “It made for that feeling of what of what nostalgia is really about.”
When asked about the recent passage of the Music Modernization Act, Emily responded, “It’s a big deal to all songwriters because that percentage of additional ‘mailbox money’ could mean the difference between [being able] to buy a house or a car.” She continued, “My husband is a writer and I am a writer and that is the only income we have. The passage of the MMA is critical, especially for those with families. It may be a struggle for those who are used to getting their music for free, but without songs, our lives would be empty. Songs are attached to all aspects of our lives.”
Whether you are a traditional country music fan or prefer pop or rock and roll, you should take a listen to Emily Hackett’s EP, By The Sun along with her wedding song, “Take My Hand.” The songs are heartfelt and fun, yet still authentic. And knowing the stories behind the songs/artist makes them even more relatable.
You can follow Emily Hackett on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can listen/download her music on YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music.
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Bethany Bowman is an entertainer writer for The Tennessee Star. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.