I first interviewed Emily Hackett in October 2018 when she was featured in my Music Spotlight column. There has been a lot of shifts in the music world since then and we were able to talk about how that is affecting her/the industry.
As mentioned in my column, in 2018 Hackett released her EP By the Sun, and in 2019 she released its counterpart “By the Moon which landed her as one of CMT Next Women of Country for 2019.
I wanted to know about the challenges of being a singer/songwriter during the COVID-19 quarantine. Hackett states, “I’ve always had a tough time writing when I am not too inspired. I pull my inspiration from things going on in my life. It felt like my well had gone a little bit dry. So even when it is on the calendar and I have to push myself to write I often come out thinking, ‘Thank God I did that.’ Writing songs is very therapeutic.”
However, the way that people get their music today has changed drastically in the past few years. Even downloading songs to your device seems archaic compared to the now popular streaming.
The genre’ blending songstress explains, “It certainly makes it more challenging to be heard, but what is beautiful about it is people who thought they maybe could have never gotten their music out can fulfill their dreams. If you have the time and work ethic to figure out how to make a track sound good, why shouldn’t you be able to put out a song next to someone who recorded in a studio/had a record label behind them?”
With the demise of CD’s and records, making money in the modern music industry can be tricky. Hackett advises she has been fortunate enough to have a handful of songs do well enough to provide for herself and funnel money back into creating new music. Her single “Easy” is currently in rotation at Nashville’s Lightning 100, which is a huge accomplishment given the ongoing struggle for women in country music to receive radio play.
The Country/Americana/folk-pop singer states that genres are a thing of the past. “My generation was kind of more exposed to all types of music because of technology, not just what was played on the radio.” People have had personal devices since the 80s and with each technological advance, genres have become less and less of thing. Today, ‘mood playlists’ are even more popular than the genre’ playlists.
Hackett, being born in Cleveland, Ohio, was raised on Rock N Roll. When they moved to Atlanta, she listened to a lot of rap. “I really listen to all of it,” she explains. “It affects my music and what I create. It makes me a versatile writer and comfortable with putting out whatever I want without being worried about whether not it fits into a box. I just want my songs to be heard.”
Earlier this year, Hackett released, “My Version of a Love Song” with a video comprised of home footage and photos of the artist and her husband to describe the real-life picture of a love song. Yet even more personal than that is her newest release, “Handle.”
The song was inspired after a night with her husband where she admits she ‘lost it.’ His reaction was no reaction which was the best way to diffuse the situation. It was then that Hackett realized she had an apology to make. How he treated her was “very humbling,” she relates.
“I can be hard to handle. This song was that kind of magic that happens in an hour because it was heavy on the heart and needed to come out, plain and simple. I wanted to keep it soft and gentle in and the moment. It’s the best apology I’ve ever made.”
The lyrics of both songs are reminiscent of the raw honesty often found in a Taylor Swift song. But vocal sensibility and the spirit of life found within the words make Emily Hackett our modern-day Emmylou Harris. And we need so much more of that in our world right now.