Empress – Lovely I Am
ARTIST NAME: Empress
SONG TITLE: Lovely I Am
ALBUM TITLE: Lovely I Am
RELEASE DATE: April 19, 2019
At just four-years-old, EMPRESS’s life was changed when her hands touched the black and white keys on a keyboard for the first time.
Her love for music evolved into a career as a professional dancer, and she was one of the youngest members of the San Francisco Ballet.
As her talents developed, EMPRESS moved to New York City where she performed on Broadway as the lead in the Tony award-winning production of An American in Paris.
Today, her career comes full-circle, as she creates music as a singer/songwriter – but she’ll never stop dancing.
Tell us how you build up the tune for this song.
I always start writing music on the piano and the melody usually comes really naturally to me.
The melody for ‘Lovely I Am’ came to me in about an hour or less, but it took me over ten years to perfect the song. It’s gone through so many different versions. I recorded a version of it a few years ago but hated the production, and I finally found a producer who I love and trust to help create the right “sound” for this song.
Bart Schoudel (who works with all the top pop stars in the world) has a true gift for music and came up with the production.
He creates tracks where the vocals are always the center of attention and the track surrounds the vocals like a beautiful sonic picture frame.
‘Lovely I Am’ was our first collaboration of many to come.
Tell us the best means of becoming a famous artist and selling more records.
I think that fame and selling records come after you create great music and have a great relationship with your fans.
My fans are incredibly smart, inspiring, talented, empowered, and encouraging people and I feel so lucky to have their support!
Focusing energy on creating music that connects with your fans on a deep level is the most important quality that I think most famous people have in common.
I don’t really believe that famous people ever focus on being famous, long-lasting fame comes along with creating beautiful art and connecting honestly with your fans.
I strive to create music and art that is raw, honest, and always write lyrics that I truly believe in.
Tell us how fans are reacting to your music.
I was a ballerina for most of my career, so the first reaction is usually “I didn’t know you could sing!”
My debut single ‘Lovely I Am’ is such a dancer’s anthem and the dance community has been so supportive and kind.
The biggest surprise has been receiving a ton of messages from strangers and non-dancers who tell me that they really love the song and that the lyrics speak to them – which means so much to me! I mean, I expected only close friends and family to listen and support me, but to get messages from people I’ve never met from all over the world has been really incredible.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response. People seem to really like the song which makes me so happy.
Explain how to deal with fear on stage.
One of my ballet teachers growing up told me to always make friends with the audience. I have used that trick my entire career and it really works for me.
The bonus track that I picked up on Broadway was to remember to breathe and be present in each moment. When you are truly present, I find that it’s actually really hard to get nervous.
Tell us your point of view on the quality of production of today’s songs to old songs and point out what you think has changed.
The main difference I notice is the use of real instruments in old classic records versus synthetic instruments of today’s music.
There is something really special about live instruments that bring magical energy to a record that you just can’t duplicate with a computer.
Those old records are really exciting to listen to because it was all done live and you couldn’t fake anything, but today’s music blows my mind because of all the crazy things you can do.
The level of perfection that you can achieve in modern recording studios with auto-tuning and adjusting tempo, keys, etc. is incredible!
It’s also cost-effective for indie artists to use synthetic instrument sounds instead of having to hire musicians to record on a track.
Technology has opened the door for literally anyone to be able to call themselves a recording artist. I’m not sure if that is a positive thing or not, but that’s what’s happening in the current landscape of the music industry (in my perspective at least).
Tell us an interesting experience in your music career that is significant.
I have technically been an artist since I was four years old, but I have never identified myself as an artist!
In the ballet and on Broadway, I never felt in control of my artistry because I was dancing someone else’s steps (and there’s a right and wrong way to dance those steps), I didn’t get to choose my partner, or the music, or the costumes, or the lighting, the words I got to say nor the emotion my character’s supposed to feel. It’s like I was in the car and someone else was steering me in the direction they wanted to go.
As a singer/songwriter I finally have freedom in my artistry. I can’t tell you how incredibly empowering it feels to finally have creative control over my artistic career. It takes a lot of responsibility, but it is so refreshing to be able to make it all happen by myself, for myself.
Now that I have completely spoiled myself with artistic freedom, there’s no going back!
Tell us your best means of expressing yourself.
ART! I love being able to express myself in music, lyrics, and dancing.
Expressing myself with words and lyrics is new for me and I am having so much fun being able to express myself through this new medium.
I had to learn how to express myself with my body like a ballerina and, unfortunately, most of the world doesn’t usually understand ballet miming LOL.
Being able to communicate with words seems like a piece of cake compared to ballet miming but I am grateful I know both languages.
Tell us your opinion on using music to deliberate on issues affecting people like corruption, immoralities, politics, and religion.
I feel strongly that the only way that we will change and create a better world is by creating beautiful art that stimulates empowering and positive thoughts in people. I aim to channel all of my political ideas and personal beliefs through my creativity as an artist, so I’ll let my art speak for itself.
Discuss how you plan to create timeless music that your fans can cherish forever.
It took two and a half years to plan my career in the music industry before I released a single song. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly who I wanted to be as an artist and what I wanted to accomplish in my career.
I took a lot of time studying different artists by reading and watching everything I could about them, I spoke to a bunch of people in the music industry to pick their brain on what the current landscape of the music industry looks like, I wrote hundreds of songs, recorded different genres to find the perfect style for me, learned how to produce my own music, and did a little bit of everything so that I would always appreciate every single person that works with me throughout my career.
Finally, I took a lot of time to put together a team of core people who I respect and trust to be the foundation of my music career. I realize that I will only be as good as my team, and I am really happy with the incredibly talented people that I have assembled.
I know what I want in my music career and can see my dream much clearer, thanks to the past couple of years of dreaming as big as I can.
Now for the fun part, actually turning my dreams into reality…
List the names of individuals you can point out as legends and state your reasons.
Because they literally empowered an entire generation of girls with their slogan “GIRL POWER”! I really think that they have a big part in how strong and powerful this generation of women has become.
I mean, look at the #MeToo movement; this has been a problem since the beginning of time, but the women of this generation have finally found their voice. I give all the credit to the Spice Girls for inspiring me to become EMPRESS.
Need I say more?
I know he’s a touchy topic right now, but Michael was an incredible performing artist.
I have learned so much from studying his stage presence and watching that man perform.
Despite what he did in his personal life, I really appreciate his talent.
Every single thing that this man touches turns to gold!
He is the mastermind behind so many artists and their success.
He has changed the world of music for the better and continues to contribute to the greater good of the music world every single day.
I just love her voice.
She is such an incredible songwriter and her voice is so unique. She is the definition of a true artist in my opinion.
Tell us your viewpoint on discriminating.
I was home-schooled and was raised to treat everyone the way that you would want to be treated. To this day, I still do not understand discrimination, so I am not even going to try to answer that question.
I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to realize that we are all human beings living on the same planet. I feel like that’s a pretty big thing to have in common with each other right?
Tell us your favorite books and state your reason.
I loved Harry Potter growing up because those books stimulated my imagination and developed a love of reading that has continued in my adult life.
Tell us what triggers your creativity.
Everything – I’m not really sure if there is one thing that triggers my creativity. It’s never the same thing twice, so it can be hard to pinpoint where it comes from.
Sometimes it feels a bit…like I am hit by a wave of creativity that is coming from somewhere else and I am just the vessel that brings the music to life. It sounds a bit whimsical, but that’s how it feels.
Other times, I will write songs by reliving an emotional experience or by observing someone else’s life experience.
Sometimes it’s an image that sparks the song, sometimes it’s a chord or a phrase, but it always begins with passionate emotion – I have to believe in what I sing about, or else I lose interest.
A fun fact, my body never forgets songs that I write. Sometimes a song that I wrote when I was four years old will come back to me when I sit down at a familiar piano. I will start playing a piano tune that I haven’t thought about in decades! I almost never have to write anything down, not only because I hate sight-reading, but because somehow my body (or muscle memory) remembers the song.
Tell us how you generate musical ideas for your composition.
I could write a song about anything as long as I care about it. I focus on writing music that has a deeper meaning and a purpose and I try to write music that makes me feel empowered because I want to stimulate that emotion in my fans.
Tell us your greatest song and state the reason.
I love each one of my song babies and it’s really hard to choose one!
‘Lovely I Am’ means so much to me because it was one of my first songs. The song helped me turn a difficult time in my life into an empowering life experience which leads me to dream bigger and go after my dreams.
Each song on my EP is really powerful in its own way, but ‘Lovely I Am’ is a really special one that started my career in music.
Tell us how you compose your song.
It’s different every time, but one thing that I have noticed about myself recently is that am very visual when writing music. I usually visualize a story that I want to write about and then I figure out how to put words and a melody together that conveys the image I am seeing in my head.
Elaborate on the song.
‘Lovely I Am’ dives underneath the surface of the dark politics of being a dancer in a ballet company.
You see, ballet is a visual art form where dancers are judged by the way they look externally.
If the director of a company doesn’t like the way you are looking, he replaces you with one of the million dancers waiting in line to take your role. That happened to me a lot throughout my career while I was going through puberty. My body was changing and I felt like I was being punished for it by being replaced by dancers who looked prettier than me. That can be really hard to wrap your head around as a young woman and it’s a game no one can win.
I was eventually fired for “not fitting in with the other girls” and felt defeated.
One night a girl got injured before a performance and I was the only one who knew her part. I knew that the Director didn’t want me onstage, but he had no choice. While I was onstage I remembered how much I loved to dance and I imagined that I looked as beautiful to the audience as I felt on the inside. At that moment, I stopped playing the game and started focusing on my inner beauty. When I let my beauty radiate from within, it actually changed the way people saw me on the outside.
After the performance, the Director called me into his office and I was rehired.
Nothing had changed except for my energy and acceptance of myself.
I wrote ‘Lovely I Am’ in a tutu in one of the San Francisco opera house’s sound rooms during a break in one of the annual Nutcracker performances. It just came to me in about a half-hour.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
I chose the stage name EMPRESS because I wanted to empower myself to be the ruler over my own life.
I would absolutely love to inspire other people to do the same, but I am done pointing the finger outwardly.
I want to focus all my energy on myself because I know that I can’t take care of others if I can’t take care of myself first.
How cool would the world be if everyone was the ruler of our own personal life? I think it would be awesome!
The title ‘Lovely I Am’ is my poetic statement of self-empowerment as a woman and artist.
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EMPRESS Uplifts with Soulful Debut Single – “Lovely I Am”
San Francisco, California, April 16, 2019 – Today, EMPRESS released her debut single, “Lovely I Am,” to radio stations and bloggers.
It will be available to the public on April 19th. The song is part of a concept album, which was produced by two-time GRAMMY nominee, Bart Schoudel. The rest of the six-song album is set to be released this summer.
Schoudel, whose GRAMMY nods stem from his work with Beyoncé and Justin Bieber, shared, “EMPRESS is truly an artist soul. Few have been able to connect and meld so many facets of performance in dance, music, and art the way she can. In “Lovely I Am,” she dives deep into the struggle and sacrifices that come with following your passions, and most importantly, finding self-love on the journey.”
EMPRESS is a fresh-face in the pop music scene, but she has spent a lifetime dancing to – and creating – the beat. This experience is mirrored in “Lovely I Am,” which she wrote to reflect upon the duality of the condemnation she experienced as a professional ballerina, and the empowerment she felt from rising above it.
EMPRESS’s “Lovely I Am” music video, which will premiere on May 10th, is directed by Luke Willis, choreographed by Benjamin Freemantle, and features members of San Francisco Ballet.
“I want to empower people to be their own empress or emperor – ruler of their personal world,” EMPRESS said.
“When people hear my music, I want them to realize that they’re capable of manifesting their dreams, and to remember to always dream big! That’s why I call myself EMPRESS – not because I rule over anyone else. It’s because I’m empowering myself to rule my own life.”
On April 28th, EMPRESS is debuting her entire album live at Black Cat in San Francisco. Tickets for the event can be purchased through the venue’s website.