It takes a special kind of artist to make the kind of song that has your heartstrings tugging with every lyric, and Emily Monsen manages to achieve that every time she releases something new. Her latest offering, “how we used to be,” is a stunning look back on a past relationship with a nuanced perspective, admitting to the hurt while celebrating the positive moments and how they shaped her into who she is today.
“It reminds me a lot of my youth and adolescence,” Emily tells TREMG. “Even though I wrote that song six years ago, I can still remember the day I wrote it and the pain and hurt I was experiencing. It’s about the pain of having to let go of someone you desperately don’t want to see leave. It’s about being blindsided by love and someone you trusted. It’s wishing you could go back to how things used to be. You don’t want to hate the person, you just want to go back to a time before when you didn’t feel an ache in your chest whenever you looked at them.”
“how we used to be’ is a gorgeous fusion of pop and country, perfectly showcasing Emily’s songwriting talent and her ability to draw you right into her story and feelings. As you listen, it feels like you’re a friend sitting on the floor of your living room while Emily pours her heart out about a formative romantic experience. It’s clear that she’s not only in tune with her emotions, but also the best ways to convey them in musical form, combining both frustration and wistful acceptance in her vocals as the mellow instrumental mirrors the peace she’s reached since then.
“This song was honestly written so fast,” Emily explains. “I think I wrote it in, like, 15 minutes. The first lyrics came to me, and then it just all flowed out. I had been holding onto the pain for so long and not wanting to accept the truth, but once I did, ‘how we used to be’ came to life.”
You can find “how we used to be” on your favorite streaming services now, and get to know Emily Monsen on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter! Keep reading for more from our interview with this mesmerizing singer-songwriter.
Congrats on your latest single, “how we used to be!” How does it feel to finally be sharing the song with the world?
Thank you so much! It feels absolutely amazing to be sharing this song with the world. I wrote this song six years ago. That’s so crazy to me. Time flies by so fast. But I wrote it when I was 18 and I think this song is my favorite song that I have out now. This song has been in my back pocket for the last six years and to finally have it out in the world and share it with my audience is such a great feeling.
What does “how we used to be” mean to you?
It reminds me a lot of my youth and adolescence. Even though I wrote that song six years ago, I can still remember the day I wrote it and the pain and hurt I was experiencing. It’s about the pain of having to let go of someone you desperately don’t want to see leave. It’s about being blindsided by love and someone you trusted. It’s wishing you could go back to how things used to be. You don’t want to hate the person, you just want to go back to a time before when you didn’t feel an ache in your chest whenever you looked at them.
“how we used to be” has so many gorgeous lyrics, reflecting on a past relationship while focusing on the positive aspects. Is there a certain lyric you’re especially proud of?
My favorite lyric in the song (and one of my favorite lyrics I’ve ever written) is “I can’t tell you what the weather was like that day, all I know is that it should’ve rained.” I love this lyric because it came to me so effortlessly, like it was just waiting to get out. This lyric paints the picture of, “I have no idea what that day even felt or looked like because I was so consumed with heartache and pain I couldn’t bear to notice anything else, but it should’ve rained, symbolizing the sadness.
What was the creative process behind “how we used to be” like?
This song was honestly written so fast. I think I wrote it in, like, 15 minutes. The first lyrics came to me, and then it just all flowed out. I had been holding onto the pain for so long and not wanting to accept the truth, but once I did, “how we used to be” came to life.
In addition to your own music, you post so many fun covers on TikTok, spotlighting artists like Daisy Jones & The Six and Lizzy McAlpine. How do you choose which songs to cover?
I choose songs that speak to me and are fun to sing. I love songs where you can really feel the emotion behind them. I also love turning super upbeat/fun/pop songs into a kinda nostalgic, sad, indie vibe. It’s fun for me because I like sad music. Actually, I love sad music.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with your music already, which of your songs would you recommend to them to get a feel for who you are as an artist?
Definitely “how we used to be.” I have other singles out, and I love those songs, too. I think at this point in my career, I’m trying to really find my sound in the studio. I think “how we used to be” is the closest we’ve gotten, but I’m really looking forward to what I’m working on in the studio now! Every time you release a song, it’s a learning experience.
We at TREMG love getting to know new artists who haven’t gotten the success or attention they deserve. Who are some of your favorite underrated artists at the moment?
Some of my favorite underrated artists are Victoria Bigelow, Annika Bennett, Joe P, Ashe, and Ready Revolution.
What can your fans look forward to in the rest of 2023?
They can look forward to a lot more new music, new music videos. Just a lot MORE from me this year. I am ready to roll and so excited to get more and more stuff out there for them.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention or say to your fans that the questions didn’t touch on?
Thank you so much to every person that’s been listening to my music. Thank you to all the people who have given me a chance. It’s hard to be an independent artist and I couldn’t do it without all the people who support me. So thank you so much, it means more than you know.
By Madison Murray
Featured Image: Courtesy of Trend PR