Each week, OOR Studio reaches out to various artists, musicians, and those with all-around good taste.
SOUND OF THE WEEK PT. 59: EM GLASSER
Em Glasser is a young artist who creates elements in her music that imitate the nostalgia of her youth. The 19-year-old currently lives in Paris and will delight us in the future with many great musical surprises, which offer us space and freedom for our own interpretations and stories of her music.
You grew up in Miami, lived in Vienna and Berlin, and are currently based in Paris. Do you find it hard to establish a sense of home in different cities? Have you ever had the feeling that you don’t know where you belong?
It’s hard in the sense that you must get used to change. But because of so many moves, I feel like I’ve grown another layer of skin for it. You need to adapt and go through phases of loneliness. You need to gather confidence, and you need to be able to make your space feel like home. I was always quite good at that, but yes, it’s hard to move and restart. I did have the feeling I never belonged. But at the end of the day, that feeling feels quite unique in its own way.
Has music always played such an important part in your life, or is there a defining moment?
Yes! Music was always around me, my father would play me songs by the Talking Heads, Boney M., Bill Withers or Al Green! It was so wonderful. But my love for creating music started when I started learning guitar at 12. And then the defining moment was when I uploaded my first song on Soundcloud.
Did you teach yourself everything musically autodidactically, or did you also have singing or instrumental lessons in your youth?
Music is so much of a feeling, but it helps to know the basic rules. I learned guitar for a bit, and then I started teaching myself. My parents also forced me to learn piano when I was little; I could not even be more thankful for having to do that. I also started to teach myself GarageBand, which was easy, and then I moved on to Logic which I’ve also been experimenting with production-wise.
Your songs tell your story and your experiences. Do you find it easy to write about it, and are you open with your feelings?
I always found it hard to open up, however, music was the one area where I was able to do it. People would understand that I’m going on about a personal experience, but I like to hide it poetically.
Where did you get your self-confidence at such a young age to stand up for your music and not to be talked into it and to change it?
I realized pretty young that I wanted to fight for the things that make me happy. Music was one of them. It’s hard, of course, to stand your ground with your creative element and energy when you’re also working with labels or just any other people involved. But since my music has always been so personal, I try to stay true to it.
You want your listeners to understand their own story and use your music and lyrics for their own interpretation. Do you also engage in exchange with the people who listen to your music?
Yes definitely! I can’t even express how much joy it brings me to hear what people think or how my songs have spoken to them. My heart melts when I receive messages from new fans who discover my music and tell me things about their life. Music is supposed to connect one another.
Through your film studies, the visuals and music have become particularly important to you. Which music video is a complete success, where both are harmoniously integrated?
I’m pretty happy with all of them, they are scattered through the years, but I feel like All I want is the music video that touches me. It was filmed with friends and was so thought out and carefully constructed. It really symbolizes what the song means to me and wraps up my time in Berlin. I’m also super happy with Dust music video.
Strawberry Picking is your most streamed song on Spotify, with 1,048,482 views. Is it also the song you’re most proud of so far?
Strawberry Picking means a lot to me. It’s a tribute to my grandfather and is also about a memory I had when I was younger, picking strawberries with him. And I’m so grateful for the love the song has received. However, it’s not my favourite. My favourite right now is an unreleased one I produced in Thailand.
Last year you released two songs, Dust and Reality, in collaboration with producer Maatz. What was special about the collaboration with him, and how did it come about?
Maatz and I first met for a brief moment, and right away, we clicked. Especially because of our love for jazz and blues. We knew in that moment that we had to create something together. We did the song Reality in around 5 hours the second time we met.
Which artist fascinates you the most, and with which artist would you like to start a collaboration?
There is not just one artist. At the top of my head, I’ll always say, Mac Miller! And I would love to collaborate with Joy Crookes.
Besides your music, you also work as a successful model and are under contract with international model agencies. Would you rather define yourself as a model or a musician?
Definitely as a musician more, but I do work as a model, and it goes hand in hand sometimes, so I don’t mind placing both in there.
Nowadays, social media may quickly create social pressure, especially when you share your life on Instagram. Do you often find yourself comparing yourself to others?
Definitely! It’s human to do that. The key for me is to stay grounded and present and continue to understand that this is your life, and it’s important to love yourself as much as possible.
Are there more releases or even live shows in the future? And do you have an overriding goal that you pursue musically, or do you let it take its course organically?
Releases are definitely coming and pumping. Im so keens on focusing on music as much as I can. I love performing live. Maybe there will be some shows soon.
Interview by Helen Weiss
Credit: PR/Em Glasser