Detailing the breakdown of a once intimate, loving relationship, singer-songwriter Emily Drinker is back with her new single “Enough is Enough” – rediscovering her self-worth and sense of identity.
With production from Matt Muir, “Enough is Enough” is the lead single from the Philadelphian’s upcoming debut LP, set for release in the autumn. A track full of subtle swagger, her impassioned vocals and upbeat instrumentation coalesce into something bigger than love… freedom. “I love singing this song because it makes me feel so powerful,” she says.
“The track came about at the end of a long, drawn-out relationship that never seemed to fully ‘work,’” she said. “I kept returning to this person, despite the emotional pain inflicted during our relationship. For me, the song encapsulates that moment many of us reach in strained
relationships when we find ourselves throwing up our hands and reaching a breaking point. By the time the chorus hits, I’ve stepped into my empowered self, exclaiming that I won’t put up with any of that anymore.”
Drinker’s delicate blend of folk, soul and ukulele-driven pop creates a rich sonic haven for her listener to reside in. Completing her first tour in the U.S in 2019, the young artist also toured with a friend’s band in South America, performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and received support from NPR.
PW recently caught up with Drinker to talk about her career and new music.
Let’s start with your early interest in music. When did you first become interested in performing, and when did you realize you wanted to make a career of it?
I became interested in performing at a young age. Growing up, I spent most summers at a performing arts camp in the Philly suburbs (called Consortium for the Arts), which instilled in me a deep love of musical theater. I began piano lessons and dance classes around age 5, and I was always involved in choirs and a cappella groups in school.
As I got older, I began getting starring roles in many of the shows I went out for, and a dream emerged to be on Broadway. I went to college in New York City (at Barnard College of Columbia University), desiring to be as close as possible to Broadway, but in college a shift occurred that pulled me away from theater and toward music and songwriting. I began writing my own music and longed to perform more, but I didn’t quite know how to get started.
A year or so after I graduated from college, while living in Brooklyn and working three low-wage jobs to get by, I saw an ad on Craigslist for a band that needed a singer to join them on a four-month contract on a cruise ship in Europe. I auditioned, got the job, and flew to Barcelona to join the ship. That was my first real job as a musician, and it was then that I realized that I might actually be able to make a living performing.
You’re from Conshohocken originally, but now live in the city. Your name also has come up a few times in some of the other musician profiles PW has done in recent months, so you’re pretty enmeshed in the local scene. How have the city, its rich musical history and its many performers influenced you?
Folks are so lovely to have brought me up in their interviews! Before I entered the scene as a performer in my own right, I was taken with the history and culture of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. I was so obsessed with that long-standing tradition that I interned at the Philadelphia Folksong Society in college, wrote my undergrad thesis about the Folk Festival, volunteered countless times at the festival, and briefly worked in the office for a time in between cruise ship contracts.
Over the last four years since returning from several years of performing on cruise ships, Philadelphia has been a terrific place for me to establish myself as a songwriter. I’ve met so many incredible musicians in Philly, and I feel that the local music community is quite supportive, rather than competitive. I love that aspect of our scene. After a few years of actively throwing myself into the music scene here, I see that I am becoming a name that people recognize around town, and I find that comforting and special in a musical city that I admire so much.
I’ve been most influenced and inspired by the folks around me who make their living playing music in this city, who grind away but remain humble. It blows my mind when I meet Philly-based artists who tour with big names, but will still stop in at the local open mics or play the same arduous cover gigs that I’m still doing to get by.
“Philadelphia has been a terrific place for me to establish myself as a songwriter. I’ve met so many incredible musicians in Philly, and I feel that the local music community is quite supportive, rather than competitive. I love that aspect of our scene.– Singer-songwriter Emily Drinker
Your new single, “Enough is Enough,” was just released and will be part of your debut LP this fall. Talk a little about how the single came together and how the album is shaping up. Did the pandemic and all of the ensuing closures affect production? How can people hear the new song?
Fortunately, “Enough is Enough” was completed before the pandemic hit. In April of 2019, my band and I spent a day at Kawari Sound, (a recording studio in Wyncote) recording seven tracks for the album. We got a ton done that day, but months after that first day I went back into the studio several times to record harmonies, add in other instruments, and watch in wonder as my recording engineer – Matt Muir – expertly mixed the tracks. In July, I was able to return to the studio to work on a few more of the album’s songs, which felt fantastic.
After many months removed from the project, it has felt invigorating to come back to this album and to prepare to actually release the thing! There’s still at least a few more sessions needed to finish production, but we’re getting there and I’m very excited.
People can find the song anywhere music can be streamed.
What’s ahead for you once the pandemic ends and things begin to return to “normal”? Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am longing for in-person connection in live performance spaces again. If that becomes possible again anytime soon, I will be planning a tour and hitting the road, which I was just beginning to get the hang of before COVID. In five years, I see myself touring extensively, and playing all of the music festivals I always dreamed of playing. I see myself creating and collaborating more than ever. I also see myself going back to school to get a master’s in music therapy.
What are the best ways for fans to keep up with your music and what you’re up to?
I love connecting with folks through Instagram and Facebook, and Spotify has become the go-to in terms of streaming. I also try my best to keep emilydrinker.com up to date with what’s happening in my musical world!
Right now I am mailing out free stickers to fans in an effort to get out the vote in November. Please reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook if you’d like a sticker! They are simple, but badass, and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. VOTE 2020.”