“Autopilot” by Emili is a light-hearted singer/songwriter tune comparable to the work of Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, and Norah Jones. Emili has a breezy voice with a lot of storytelling character. This organically recorded track embodies simple guitar, bass and drum acoustic elements during the verse and then builds into full layered choruses where the drums really kick in and the picture-perfect harmonies pour in. Emili has quite a lot of talent with lyric and melody writing, especially for being only 20 years old. The chorus hook is catchy and feel-good without sounding over-the-top. The production is well-done and preserves the naturalness of the song. Based in New Haven, Connecticut Emili is currently a sophomore at Yale. Although majoring in Cognitive Science, she considers herself to be really majoring in extracurriculars, and she spends most of her time making music. She definitely is on the right path and is full of potential, as she clearly has a knack for songwriting.
I am so glad to have gotten the chance to interview Emili, and here is what she had to say:
“Autopilot” is such a well written song reminiscent of Ingrid Michelson and Sara Bareilles. What music did you grow up listening to that has influenced your sound?
Thank you so much! Yea, I actually listened to a lot of Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles growing up. Both of them are huge influences in my music. I’m also very inspired by Dodie, Norah Jones, Lianne La Havas, and Regina Spektor. Recently, I’ve also been playing Bruno Major’s music non stop so he’s a big inspiration for me right now.
What was the inspiration behind “Autopilot”?
I started “Autopilot” with just the beginning verse of pull my finger, tap my shoulder, etc. The imagery of me being a doll or machine that the rest of the world controls is what drove the song forward. When I wrote the song, I was feeling pretty lost in who I was and who I wanted to be. I felt like every action or statement was just a reaction to what the outside world expected of me and thus came the song.
Walk us through your creative and recording process for “Autopilot”.
So I wrote the full song last November but just on guitar. It was a very acoustic song for small coffeeshop performances. But then, after winter break, a fellow Yalie who produces music, Sam Lopate, reached out to me to work on music together. Then from January to March, we were in one of our on campus studios each week just working on this song. The current vocals and acoustic guitar on the piece was actually all recorded in one take. The rest of our time in the studio was focused on harmonies and the arrangement of the song. Another Yalie, Jason Altshuler, came in for a few sessions and helped bring the song to life as well. However, we were actually mid way through the production of “Autopilot” when COVID-19 hit… so we finished the bulk of the percussion and electric guitar/synths from our own separate homes.
What is your music life like while attending Yale?
Obviously, going to college (and majoring in something completely other than music: Cognitive Science) and balancing music is difficult task. I try my best to just prioritize my musical projects no matter how busy school gets just because I know I want to pursue this full time when I graduate. I love going to Yale though and being surrounded by such ambitious talented people. Everyone’s so passionate about their own respective projects (music or otherwise). The music community at Yale is also really tight knit and supportive which has been really important to me.
What musical projects are coming up next for you?
I’m currently working on the music video for Autopilot actually which should come out in the next month or so. I’ve been releasing a single monthly since April and I hope to continue doing so for at least another year. I have a ton more projects lined up and I’m super excited to share the songs with everyone. My next song should be released late September!
What would you like to say to your supporters out there?
First of all, I’m hoping everyone and their families are staying healthy and safe. Thank you to everyone who has streamed my songs and supported me in any way. Making music is my way of expressing myself and sharing it with others is a huge part of that. Just knowing that my work is being heard somewhere really makes everything worth it. I also want to thank Music & Fashion Blog for sharing my song and interviewing me on their platform! What you do for artists really makes a difference so thank you.