by Jessie Castle
VANCOUVER – From a thrift store somewhere between Chilliwack and Vancouver, Emily Rowed
discusses how a bluegrass hippie leapt into the world of synth-pop anthems. After being featured on the EDM DJ Tiesto’s 2014 track “Say Something,” the folk singer/songwriter found unlikely love within the electro-pop arena.
“I think it was the work I was doing with DJs. I started writing pop lines and became really intrigued by the sounds that were coming out,” she says. “Playing with the effects and synths, the sound was so wide and big. I was also at a point where I was looking for a little spice. I guess I was satisfied, but I wasn’t getting butterflies anymore.”
With the release of her new EP, Electric Heart, Rowed has well and truly marked a career departure. Drenched in robust beats and synth waves, it’s hard to imagine her as a folk artist. Rowed explains how a self-proclaimed hippie child fell down the proverbial pop rabbit hole.
“This whole thing has been a 180, really. I started making the very music that I was opposed to. I got curious about electronic music and dove into this project coming from literally the other side of music… It’s a different part of the story, it’s invigorating”
Don’t be fooled by the transition though. While Rowed may be riding a new sonic wave, Electric Heart still manages to pay homage to her folk soul. Her track “Burn” is an intimate look at having one part of your life dissolve to make room for another, as her haunting vocals capture the sadness of letting go.
“A lot of the album is saying goodbye to an old thing and feeling invigorated by something new. There’s a touch of heartbreak in at least two of the tracks and then the others are a reclaiming anthem… I want to do pop and honour the folk artist vulnerability. I’m still writing all the songs, the sounds around them have just gotten louder and busier, that’s all”
While Electric Heart may be Rowed’s first endeavor into pop music, there is nothing cautious about her resolve. Electric Heart is an unwavering and harmonious marriage between muscular beats and tender vocals. It seems Emily Rowed has successfully found the sweet spot between folk and pop.
Emily Rowed’s Electric Heart is available now on Spotify and iTunes.emily rowed