ARTIST NAME: Emily McNally
SONG TITLE: Can We Be Friends
RELEASE DATE: May 19th, 2021
GENRE: Soft Pop
Emily McNally is creating the soundtrack for the lovelorn and anxious generation of young people with her genre-fluid, DIY bedroom pop music. With vulnerable lyricism, Emily confronts their own naiveté and yearning in layers of lush vocals. She hopes to share a time capsule of the emotional whirlwind of queer adolescence in order to ease the sense of loneliness in others and herself.
Describe yourself as a musical artist.
I make music about yearning! And about other big emotions too, but mostly about yearning, and most specifically the kind of yearning you feel when you’re young and queer and anxious like me.
Tell us the genre of your music.
I tend to be quite genre-fluid actually; I take inspiration from a lot of different genres and use different genres as another tool for world-building in my songs. Sometimes the message or emotion I’m trying to convey is best suited for a particular genre, so I sonically craft the genre to suit the song instead of the other way around! That being said, I write a lot in a sort of folk-pop, soft-pop style.
Tell us the story behind your song.
There’s a desperate sort of wistfulness when you feel like you care about someone more than they care about you. Specifically, I wrote this song about messing around with someone casually, but still wanting that person to stay in your life beyond that in any capacity because of how much you care. I listen to a lot of soft pop and bedroom pop and I do think it’s the perfect medium for that slightly melancholy yearning that you can still dance around your room to.
Tell us the problems you are facing as a musician.
Oh gosh, ha. It’s exhausting these days trying to sell yourself as a product instead of just your music. I’m so jealous of the days, pre-video-killed-the-radio-star or even just pre-social-media. It’s an unrecognized massive amount of time and effort to market yourself that yields very few rewards and burns you out quickly and makes you want to quit. It’s extremely lonely, to be honest, and frustrating to see others hit viral success by just some stroke of luck. Unfortunately, it is just part of the process now though, so got to keep chugging away.
Discuss the recording and production of the song.
I recorded and produced ‘Can We Be Friends’ entirely by myself on GarageBand on my iPhone! I wanted to challenge myself to learn production and do things independently, which also became sort of a necessity during the pandemic. Writing and producing with electronic sounds and beats was just slightly out of my comfort zone, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come since I made this about a year ago.
List the names of blogs, radio, or television stations that have supported you so far.
Glamglare, Headlight Spirits, American Pancake, Start Track, HomeCooking, Music & Fashion Blog, Roadie Music, The Q Review, and more.
Elaborate on your music career, experience, and future goals.
I’ve been gigging around New York City since I moved here about seven years ago. I went to school for musical theater but shifted towards a music career after graduation. I’ve played bucket list venues like Rockwood Music Hall and The Bitter End. More recently I’ve been collaborating with up-and-coming producers from around the country on electro-pop singles, as well as writing customized songs for clients to give as gifts on Fiverr. I’ve signed to the label Corkscrew Records, and Maximal Sync is now pitching my songs for placement! My overarching goal has always been to make my income solely off of my art. More specifically, I’d love to be an opener on a tour, grow my TikTok following, and play a Tiny Desk Concert.
Brief us on what inspires you to write, compose, and sing/rap.
Often times when there’s a moment in my life that overwhelms me with emotion, I feel like I have no choice but to turn it into a song. It just sorts of itches at me from the inside until I externalize it I guess!
Brief us on the top-secret behind making a hit song.
Haven’t cracked it yet but I’ll let you know if I do!
Tell the advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
I love this Ira Glass quote so much so I’ll just pass it along here:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners; I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work; we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years, you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase and they quit… Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you got to know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s going to take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just got to fight your way through.
Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.
These days I mostly make all my music from my bedroom! Lyrics usually come first, I’ll record them into voice memos on my phone or scribble them down on scrap sheets of paper or the notes app. Then I usually add my guitar along to it, or create an electronic beat if that’s more the direction I want sonically, and then it all just builds from there. It’s lots of trial and error, playing around with different pre-set GarageBand sounds till I find something that inspires me. And adding lots of harmonies and vocal layers to every track…
Name your favorite artists for collaboration.
You mean like artists I’d love to collaborate with in the future? There’s simply too many- any artist. I’d collaborate with anyone. Dream collaboration would include Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo, The 1975, Charli XCX. I’d love to sing a hook on a Brockhampton track.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Wistful and day-dreamy, ‘Can We Be Friends?’ is queer folk-pop singer/songwriter Emily McNally’s latest single, available for streaming on Wednesday, May 19th. This track was recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely by the Brooklyn-based artist on her iPhone.
With vibrant electronic beats and an earworm of a hook, ‘Can We Be Friends?’ petitions a partner to stay in your life when you know you’re not right for each other but you still care about them so much. The perfect track to keep you company on a long late-night drive, this bedroom pop anthem shimmers with yearning and what-ifs.
It is their third single upon being signed to Corkscrew Records, a teenage-run label devoted to amplifying marginalized voices.
Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base.
I’ve been trying out TikTok! Slow, but steady growth on there, but that app has changed a lot of lives so you have to just keep trying. Other than that I’m most active on Instagram!
Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.
Finding a job that lets me be free in the evenings for gigs is crucial. And it’s also crucial just to have hobbies that let you be creative that aren’t monetized or for profit. I’ve been taking figure drawing classes online and playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons with friends lately.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Right now it’s just my real name! I’ve been itching to try out an artist’s name though, but haven’t found anything I love enough yet.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
The song is called ‘Can We Be Friends.’ The title is the main repeated lyric of the chorus. 🙂