The Drop: Exclusive Music Video Premiere For Emily Warren's "Hurt By You"

Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Emily Warren's voice sounds familiar — especially if you've listened to The Chainsmokers. Her vocals are featured on three of the DJ duos songs off their debut album, Memories Do Not Open. She also just wrapped up a nationwide tour with the group where she sang in stadiums for thousands of screaming fans. But, even if you don't listen to The Chainsmokers — you still definitely know Warren.
She is responsible for some of the lyrics that have been stuck in your head again and again. Warren is first and foremost a songwriter and story-teller, and the 24-year-old has been lending her brain and life experiences to some of the most popular pop artists for years. From Shawn Mendes to Jessie J to Noah Cyrus to Dua Lipa, the New York native is quickly becoming a prolific lyrist. Not every songwriter is on the receiving end of a tweet from Coldplay deeming a song she wrote as "basically perfect."
Now, she is letting her "basically perfect" lyrics narrate her own songs. And it's so good. Refinery29 is exclusively premiering the music video for the rising star's debut track, "Hurt By You," which, after being released on May 5, has already garnered over one million streams on Spotify. The video itself has its own hidden connections to the music industry, much like Warren herself. Warren and her photographer friend shot the video in a spur-of-the-moment decision after touring the iconic Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee while she was on tour with The Chainsmokers. Sun Studio is deemed the "birthplace of rock and roll" — Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded music there. What more could you want from a debut video when you have the musical energy and spiritual guidance of Cash and Presley presiding over you?
In an interview with R29, Warren told us that the song is inspired by a real life experience (as all of her songs are) and that it is about vulnerability in a new relationship. "I wrote it about my current relationship and how, at the beginning, I was hesitating to make myself vulnerable," she says. "I was scared of being there. I felt like something was kind of holding me back at the beginning, so the song is a reminder to myself to not be afraid of what could happen."
Check out the premiere below, (yes — she is playing Presley's piano and singing into his mic) and then read on for an interview with the leading lyrical lady as we discuss feuds in the music world, Harry Styles, and not pigeon-holing her sound.
Refinery29: Can you tell me the story behind the music video?
Emily Warren: "We were on tour in Memphis and we took a tour of Sun Studios. It was a good tour, but they would not let you touch anything. Then our photographer was like ‘We should just ask’ if we could shoot there because it would be the perfect place for 'Hurt By You.' So we asked the guy standing behind the counter and to our surprise he said 'Yes, definitely' and we went back that night at midnight after the show. It was sick because they also let me play Elvis’ piano and sing into his mic. It was totally surreal and crazy that it all came together."
Was there a different energy?
"There were a couple times that it hit me and I was like, ‘Oh my god’ I cannot believe I am actually playing into this piano and singing into this mic."
Drew [Taggart] described The Chainsmokers as “"blurring the lines between indie, pop music, dance music, and hip-hop." How would you describe your sound? "Probably why he did that, and why we all do that when we are asked to pigeon-hole our music, is because we grow up now listening to so many different things so it would be hard to say that ‘This is pop’ or ‘This is indie’ But for me, the songs are stories first and foremost and they are real things that have happened to me, so the production is there to support that and is classic and organic with some new elements so they don’t sound dated for throw-backy."
You just wrapped with The Chainsmokers — what was the highlight of the tour? "The last place on tour we played was Forest Hills in New York and apparently it had been really cold in New York and then was super hot the days after, but two days [of the outdoor shows] were perfect summer weather. I had my whole family and friends there and it was totally surreal. I don’t even know how to explain it except that there was magic in the air."
What was it like working with and writing with Noah Cyrus and Dua Lipa, who are both younger than you? Is it weird writing lyrics for someone with maybe less life experience? Or is she actually like that?
"They are both older souls and are down to say crazy stuff. For both of them and all artist I work with i help them with stuff that they want to say. In both cases they were pretty comfortable telling those stories. I try to not impose my ideas onto them. They end up being true to each artist because it is coming from their story, too."
What do you think about the feuds in the music industry now that you are putting yourself at the forefront of your music?
"I try to not think about that stuff and sometimes it is hard. I feel really strongly about not writing things that are not good messages to put out into the world. A lot of the songs coming out that are feud songs are really silly. If you’re a big artist with a huge platform and that is what you are choosing to put out into the world, I think it’s kind of irresponsible. I try to avoid that in my own writing by just saying things that are good things to say and putting the right message out there."
Who is inspiring you the most right now?
"I am always inspired by the things I grew up on like The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald. But recently the Harry Styles album. I really admire the fact that he had everyone’s attention to put out whatever he wanted and instead of going with the heavy hitters, he made a real '60s rock true album. He doesn’t care if the girls who like One Direction like his album. It takes a lot of guts to ignore the pressures and just do what you think you should be doing."
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