Industry Insights #5 - Artist: Empara Mi

1. Do you have any creative rituals or routines?

A nice hot bath always makes me want to write. I’m not quite sure why but it became a routine where I tell myself I’m not coming out until I’ve cracked the idea I’m working on. My poor hands have to stay dry just in case I need to record a spontaneous voice memo.

2. What is a project you’re particularly proud of and why?

It’s always the next one. I can’t help it. As soon as I’ve released something it almost becomes abject and I want to get rid of it, so I’ll always say my next thing is the best thing, at least until it’s out. It probably is true in this case - the next video I’m releasing was quite a journey of blood, sweat and tears. I’m proud that I’m still trying to challenge myself and this one is definitely the most challenging thing I’ve shot to date!

3. Who or what is currently inspiring you?

Mostly the people around me. When I write I tend to write about my own experiences or put myself in the shoes of people I love and know. It also helps that I live with an extremely talented film composer so I’m surrounded by inspiring people who make me feel creative.

4. Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?

Probably the moment where I’ve had some mental idea in my head that I’m not sure if I can create in real life and then that moment where it actually sounds the same on paper as it does in your head. You feel like Da Vinci for about 3 seconds, for those are a lovely 3 seconds.

5. What is on your bucket list? What do you hope to achieve/do in future?

I want to play the Royal Albert Hall with a full orchestra behind me, a girl can dream. Apart from that all my other dreams and goals for the future aren’t necessarily things you can touch but more the dream that I can make music and be creative for a living for the rest of my life!

6. What’s the inspiration behind your stage name Empara Mi?

Empara is a Latin derivative from a word for Emperor (to seize or take over), but it’s also meant to sound like “Empower Me”.

7. What music/artists are you particularly enjoying at the moment?

I’m pretty predictable when it comes to music. I love what I know - Kendrick, Kanye, Tyler, School Boy. Although, I did discover someone called Ali Gatie who I can’t stop playing this week.

8. Your latest release ‘Ditch’ makes use of Mozart’s Requiem accompanying your hip-hop vocals. How did the idea to use the sample come about?

I’m obsessed with creating a cinematic feel. I’m a sucker for a long 2 minute spoken verse or dramatic interlude to express the overall feeling of the song as opposed to just singing a song because I’m trying to do more than just sing, so when I heard the sample I knew it was perfect. I could already imagine the visual before I’d finished writing it. I’m a sucker for a hip-hop beat with just a sprinkling of classical.

9. Any advice for your younger self?
Nobody knows what you want more than you, and no one is better to give you what you want than you.

10. What do you do when you’re not working? Any guilty pleasures?
I’m a professional dog snuggler on the side.

11. Your songs have been used in Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Kiss Me First, Dynasty and Broadchurch (nominated for a sync award) among others. What impact does sync have for an artist?

For me, I love Sync because it gives my music context. It’s cool when you see these amazingly shot scenes set to your song because it’s like its own little music video every time. It’s also incredibly helpful in terms of reach as you can reach audiences internationally that might never have had a chance to hear your music.

12. You’ve collaborated with Kojey Radical, Leo Justi, and top industry producers. What is your favourite part of the collaboration process? Any areas you want to explore in future?

I love being pleasantly surprised. I think you get used to hearing music back and it not sounding how you envisioned it so when you send a track to someone and they return with a verse that blows your mind away or adds production that completely elevates the song, that’s an amazing feeling. I’d love to write a lot more for other people in the future and collaborate with some of my faves!

13. Inspiration comes from lots of different styles and genres within your music. What is something that continually influences you, and where do you look for fresh inspiration?

Hip-hop. I’m not sure how much you can tell from my music but I mostly listen to rap and hip hop as it gives me the same energy that I like to put into my music, so every time I accidentally nearly write a happy song, I just have to put on some hip-hop and I’m right back where I should be.

14. Your music videos are visually stunning and conceptual. At what stage do you come up with an idea for a video to go with a song, and has a video idea ever led the creative direction of a song?

I pretty much have the idea for the visual as soon as I start writing, so yes it does often direct the songwriting. I have a song called ‘No More’ that I haven’t released yet that’s basically me describing a made-up scene from a Tarantino film. It’s quite visually descriptive. Also, it can be that I write a song knowing the feeling I want to portray in the video or hidden meaning of the song that I will slip into the visual if I want to be more mysterious that day. Either way, the visuals and the writing are equally important for me.

15. What’s in the works at the moment and what creative directions are you taking?
I’m just about to release a live filmed session of my song ‘Shine On You’ with live strings, then my next single ‘WYGD’ on the 24th of October and then the video. I try to switch up creative direction at pretty much every turn. I’d hate to be predictable. 

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