Written By Kelly Holm
Canadian-born and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Emily Brimlow says she doesn’t want to get caught up in comparing herself to other artists, and will blaze her own trail regardless of how others respond to it. “Don’t measure yourself based on the amount of streams you get, that’s a deadly trap,” she tells Elicit. “I want to make art. Not keep up with trends.”
But, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Brimlow’s power anthem “Hope” is evocative of Lauren Daigle. Her soulful sound is influenced by some of her biggest inspirations like Stevie Wonder and Norah Jones.
Brimlow has been constantly singing since childhood. “[I] used to really annoy my brother in the car, ‘cause I wouldn’t shut up,” she says laughing.
But, she did not publicly share her gift until a high school talent show, where she showcased an original song.
“I had to restart the song twice because I forgot the lyrics. Definitely the scariest feeling I had ever had,” she recalls. “But, once I completed the song and the crowd started clapping and yelling, it was all worth it… I started to take it more and more seriously every year.”
At age 20, she started giving performances at small cafes and bars.
“That’s when I decided there was no plan B,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
These days, Brimlow gives it her all, whether she’s home alone having a spontaneous jam session with her guitar or facing a stadium-sized crowd. She’s sitting on plenty of unreleased music and is wrapping up a tour in collaboration with Australian musician Ziggy Alberts, with whom she goes way back.
“I saw Ziggy playing his guitar outside of his van in Byron Bay around six years ago,” she said. Six years later, she became the supporting act for Alberts’ American tour, and the two found a shared love for the finer things in life: coffee, yoga and Harry Potter.
“It all clicked in my head one day that he was the same person I saw in Byron Bay,” Brimlow said. “The world was small, it was meant to be.”
Aside from being a resume booster, the tour helped Brimlow forge a major path of self-discovery. On board with Team Ziggy, she learned life lessons ranging from “I sleep better on moving buses” to “My goal at a show should not be to win over the crowd and make sure they like me… I should be measuring success [by] whether or not I had a good time.”
Brimlow is on her way to releasing more new music and promises that her new material will signify a shift in style.
“The music I’m writing now is more experimental, but honestly, it’s always changing,” she said. “Each new song speaks to the season I’m living in at the time, and that’s the biggest difference.”
Recently, she penned the mellow track “Unread” with her friends Britney Spencer and Cody Aledia.
“I love singing it because it’s different for me vocally and challenges me in a new way,” she said.
Although Brimlow did not share who she’s backing for president in 2020, she takes inspiration from candidate Marianne Williamson’s famous quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”
It’s the perfect motto for Brimlow’s sunny personality. A friend once told her that she is a disturber of bad spirits: “They told me I annoy and disturb people with the freedom within me. I thought was the coolest damn thing I ever did hear,” she comments.
But, that’s not to say her fans take her free spirit as an annoyance.
“I love playing small, intimate shows for 20 people, and honestly feel the same joy in front of thousands,” Brimlow said. “Any show with people singing all the lyrics to my songs feels extremely successful.”