DC Interview: Emily West
We are so excited to introduce this divine darling, Emily West. After dreaming of becoming a country singer, Emily packed up and moved to Nashville in 2000 to pursue her dreams. She signed with Capitol Records, wrote a handful of hit songs, and even released a duet with Keith Urban. But it wasn't long before the roller coaster of stardom took her on a free-fall drop, which landed her back in Iowa, living with her parents. In 2014, Emily stepped back into the ring, finishing second on America's Got Talent. Now she's ready to take her career to the next level—can you say girl power?
Name: Emily West
Nicknames: Nemmers, Em, Ems, and Westicles
Current location: Nashville, TN
When did you know you wanted to be a singer?
From the day I heard Patsy Cline on a cassette tape. Anytime I'd play the Milton Bradley game of Life. I'd always pick the "Star/Singer" card for my occupation.
What was it like moving to Nashville at age 18?
I knew nothing about being an adult and paying bills. I just did it. I think I benefited from being so young and naïve because I was fearless. There are times when I wish I could still be 17½ and fearless. I try every day to be 17½.
Now the tough stuff. In 2012, you were dropped by your label and moved back home to Iowa to live with your parents. How do you pick up the pieces of your career after it breaks your heart?
You just do. I knew something inside me wasn't done, and I knew it was the only thing I could do without messing up. I had to pick up the pieces and be fearless again, like when I was 17½. I had to pretend my life was a Nike commercial and "just do it."
What is your best piece of advice for all the girls out there that are struggling to make their dreams come true?
Be true to yourself, and follow your heart. Don't listen to anybody that spooks your horses. Use your gut. And anything you do, make sure it has your heart stamp on it. No one thought I should move to New York, but I did. My heart stamp is all over that place.
What made you decide to return to music?
I got a letter from a fan saying that she needed me to keep singing. And it's the only thing I knew how to do. So I took her advice. Her name was Michelle.
What's the hardest part about being a singer/songwriter?
As much as I love to travel, it's hard to leave home and and my dog. But I couldn't imagine doing anything else, and I'm so incredibly lucky and grateful that I get to do what I do.
How would you define your personal style?
My personal style tends to throw back toward Lauren Bacall—old school, if you will.
When did you fall in love with fashion?
I'd watch Wheel of Fortune with my dad as a little girl and would only watch it to see what dress Vanna White came out in. Barbies and paper dolls were a big influence too. Then, when Carrie Bradshaw wore her hair extensions and gangster gold chains in "Sex in the City," too. Scarlett O'Hara blew me away at the party in Gone with the Wind when she showed up late to the party wearing that scarlet red diamond gown that Rhett made her wear. I wanted to be her—without the bad attitude of course.
Who/What inspires your personal style?
Marilyn and Judy. Dressing to be feminine is always sexy.
What's your best piece of fashion advice?
Kindness is always in style. Confidence and a smile, too. Long hair helps—and red lipstick.
How does your day-to-day style differ from your on-stage style?
I'm either in pajamas, or I'm in a ball gown.
What does your ideal day of shopping look like?
TJ Maxx and Sweet SeeSees. T-shirts at a thrift store or Goodwill. And I love any sort of estate sale. Consignment stores are always my jam, especially vintage places.
Describe your beauty routine.
I find that moving my body in some sort of exercise routine gives me a glow I could never get by just wearing blush. Drinking a big glass of water every morning and getting plenty of sleep are always good starts. I curl my hair with a Revlon curling iron on high heat. While this is happening, I slosh coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes for whiter teeth.
What beauty products will you never be without?
Obaji Facial Wash, Piloma Picasso Perfume, and Blue Lizard Sunscreen
What is your go-to hairstyle?
I can't get away from the 1950s hair. It just happens—I'm trying to grow it out.
Old school or modern? Old School
Handbag addiction or shoe addiction? Shoes
Favorite artist? Today Judy, tomorrow Barbara, Randy Newman, and Gilbert O'Sullivan. No wait… Daniel Tashian.
Guilty pleasure? Binge eating in NYC and getting lost on E. 61st while blaring Glenn Frey's 'You Belong to the City' out of my cheap Laguardia Airport headphones.
Fashion or beauty? Beauty because beauty goes deep. Fashion just lays on the floor if you don't decide to hang it up.
Describe your personality in 3 words: Quiet, wild within, quirky
Do you have any performances or tours coming up? Where can we find more info?
Where can we see Emily West in the next 5 years?
Probably married with one kid and 56 dogs, on tour and writing songs still. Maybe I'll have written a Broadway play. Out of my parents' house, possibly.