- Mon, 2011-05-09 16:15
American teen actress Emily Osment is best known for her work alongside Miley Cyrus and co-starring roles in the Spy Kids series. Still continuing her film and television work, Emily has since branched out into music, releasing her debut album Fight or Flight last year.
With the UK release of her single Lovesick, I Like Music caught up with Emily to chat about making pop music, her advice for young performers, the trials of fame and her plans for the future.
"I Like Music because… I don’t think my heart would beat the same way without it.” Emily Osment
ILM: Your sngle Lovesick is about to get a UK release. Can you tell us about that track in particular?
Emily: I wrote Lovesick about a year ago. I'd written about five or six songs for the record with Adam Schlesinger, they were cool songs but not the electro-dance style that the label wanted to go for. So I was sent for a writing session with this guy called Toby Gad, and he’s written for pretty much everyone – Shakira, Beyonce, Selena Gomez; he’s a really super talented guy. When I got there I was a little intimidated but he was really cool. He kind of just let me takeover! I told him I needed a love song because I didn't have one yet and I wanted a love song told in kind of a weird way. Then I decided ‘well, I’m obsessed with robots, so let’s write a song about robot love!.'
ILM: The Lovesick video looked fun to make...
Emily: When I was writing the song I had an idea for a video in my head, then we got sent lots of treatments and there was one guy I really loved. I was a big fan of the stuff he’d just done at home and I liked his style so we brought him in. Then he put me in this weird robot costume, with one earring and giant heels and sparkly tights and a robot corset! Plus my whole band were in black leather – it was so fun! Haha!
ILM: How would you describe the process behind your album Fight or Flight?
Emily: It took me forever to write the record because I was working on the show and trying to write at the same time. I wanted to work with this one writer who lives in New York, so I was going back and forth. I wanted to write the whole record myself, which I did, I collaborated on every song and that always takes longer too. Once it was written it was mixed and mastered and done in a month and a half which is very, very fast. While we were in the studio we listened to Tinie Tempah, Air, Flying Lotus and all these really cool DJ dubstep songs, it gave us the inspiration to put that into the music. I think we made a record that really flows and I’m really happy with it! Although it’s funny, the music I’m writing right now is definitely more acoustic and jazzy – more like the whole Sarah Barielles style - coming from this whole electro sound it’ll be interesting to try to tackle this new record.
ILM: You've come from a strong background in film and television, how have you found the transition into music?
Emily: It’s a whole different world, that’s for sure. I’ve loved music my whole life; my mum is a musician, my brother is a musician and everyone sings or plays some sort of instrument in my family, so I grew up with that being supported. There were always musical instruments lying around; I still play my mum’s guitar that she’s had since she was 17. It was a very musical upbringing, so I took it from just listening to music, to truly sitting down and writing my own. I started doing that, sort of more professionally when I was 14 or 15. I worked with some writers, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I was learning, but I knew that I wanted to be involved with music and somehow it turned into what it is today. It is a big job...
ILM: In what way?
Emily: Well, I never thought that I could find a love for sleeping on a bus with ten other guys, travelling around the world playing music! I didn’t know I could have that love in my life, which I do now and it’s one of my favourite things in the world! I love playing live and I love touring and it’s so funny because it’s completely different from what I do. I mean, I’m in Montreal right now shooting a movie and it’s just so different from every process of music and that’s why I love it so much, because somehow I’m fortunate enough to be able to do both. And that’s the fans; that’s all the fans. It’s all the fans that allow me to do this and they’re the ones that keep me going and allow me to make more music. This is for them. This is for me as much as it is for them.
ILM: At what point did you decide to pursue music alongside your screen career?
Emily: I always thought that I was going to be an actress. I always thought that was going to be my thing, it was going to be my only thing. Then I heard the Beatles for the first time and I was just like ‘alright, changing!’ you know. It’s funny how music inspires you in the strangest ways. I feel so lucky, just so lucky that my record label and management have gotten me to this place where I can play these amazing shows. I played a show with Robyn, I love Robyn! I’m such a big fan and I’m supposed to be playing a show to kids who like the music and yet I’m like ‘oh my God guys, Robyn is here’! (laughs) I just feel like a nerd sometimes!
ILM: What would be your advice to all the young performers that look up to you?
Emily: You know, I think it’s pretty simple – you have to get into it for all the right reasons. You can’t get into it because you think you want to be Justin Bieber one day and have that sort of fame and that huge musical lifestyle. You can’t get into it for the fame, you can’t get into it for that, it’s the absolute wrong reason. You have to get into it because you love music. You have to get into it because that’s the only thing that you know how to do, it’s the only thing that you love; it’s the only thing that you can do for the rest of your life, for 100 hours a day and just enjoy it so much. The thing is I completely support YouTube. Kids on YouTube writing their own songs, covering other people’s songs, singing and putting it out there; trying so hard to just get noticed. I love that, because there’s not enough music in the world, there’s never going to be enough music in the world, especially from young kids. My cousin is nine years old and he can play every single Coldplay song ever written on Piano!
Emily: And he’s just amazing and that’s beautiful to me. That’s where I find beauty in this world, in music and in people that find it in themselves to make music, I think that’s amazing. And I don’t know how you can‘t appreciate it, because it’s just so fun – art, just to be able to enjoy it with other people.
ILM: How do you find fame?
Emily: It’s weird, it’s very strange that random people – well not random people, but people that you don’t even know, know very intimate personal details about you. Sometimes it can feel a little intrusive; sometimes it can just be kind of overwhelming. Most of the time you just have to use it for good, like I just did a huge campaign with ABC Family for cyber-bullying, trying to get the word out there. And using our powers for good – I didn’t want to say it like that – but it’s something that I can do, I can use what I do for a living to help other people; that’s so cool for me, I love that. I look out at the audience when I play a show and all those kids are my age, I feel like they’re my friends now, which sounds a little creepy to say....But all these kids, they come up after the show and they’re just so cool and they’re like ‘hey, we love your music, it’s cool, it’s nice to meet you’ and I’m just like ‘yeah, let’s go hang out, you guys are great’! It’s too funny; it’s just such a cool business. I mean, the fame is just the weirdest part of it. I’m a fan of people and I’m definitely a fan of artists in the world and the level it gets sometimes is just hilarious; I can’t believe it.!
ILM: What music have you been listening to recently?
Emily: I’m basically living in Canada right now. I’ve kind of been obsessed with Canada for about a year and a half now and I’m here a hundred times a year and I’m living here right now. I’m very into that sort of new wave Modest Mouse thing. There’s this band out of Toronto, they’re unsigned, but they’re brilliant, they’re called Wildlife and they just have the greatest record. They were standing up on stage and they were just like ‘hey, our record is over in the corner, grab one on the way out’, you know, they’re not like charging for their music, they’re just playing and they’re just giving it away for free which is so cool. Radiohead did that with their last record – oh, not their last record, but the one before, with In Rainbows, they put it online and they said ‘you pay however much you want to pay for it and it’s yours’. I love that and I’ve definitely listened to the new Radiohead record and I’m listening to the new Peter, Bjorn and John record. I’m listening to a band called Scattered Trees and there’s this great girl called Dana Alexandra – I don’t listen to a lot of girl pop, but she’s amazing. Her voice is incredible and she’s so cool.
ILM: What are your future plans?
Emily: It’s hard, it’s very stressful! It’s a weird thing, but like...I put off college to do this, I put off college for a year to go out and travel and it’s hard because I don’t know where I’m going to be in five years, I don’t know. I’m working on this movie in Montreal, but three weeks ago I had absolutely no idea that it even existed!
Emily Osment: Yeah, it happened so quick, so sometimes things just happen and a week later you’re there. It’s such a fast paced business and you could be here one day and there the next. You set up dates way in the future, but in between you’re like ‘alright, well I’ve got all this time’, you know? It’s very strange and all over the place and very irregular and spontaneous. It’s very cool because it’s never the same schedule, ever. But it never get’s boring, ever and it always involves friends and flying all over the country, or playing music or you know, working in Montreal, which is just the most beautiful city ever. I always just feel this amazing feeling of gratefulness because this is incredible. This is so, so incredible for me to just be able to travel – that alone is amazing to me, I love it!