"Experiencing life, downloading it, being deeply in your human experience, and then processing that with as much truth as I possibly can. That’s what being an artist is about."
Singer and songwriter Lowen just released her debut EP Only In My Dreams today! After taking a hiatus from touring under the name of Emily Kopp, she has returned with a voice that is more true to her. I chatted with Lowen about her new EP, recent music videos, and the choice to take a hiatus (and her inspiration for others)! Continue reading to learn more.
GMAT: Hey Lowen! Introduce yourself. Who is Lowen?
L: Hey there! My friends call me Emily. My mom also calls me Emily. I’m an artist. I write, produce, and play music. Usually, said music is about deep feelings. I’m also not sure how to answer this question so here are a few things I love: singing, learning, hearts of palm, avocado, my wife, making lanyards, my family, chocolate, sour beer, going places where you don’t know the language and figuring out how to get around, making friends, street food, the first sip of a bubbly water.
GMAT: Your new EP Only In My Dreams comes out soon! Can you explain what this EP means to you?
L: I feel really proud, and equally grateful. I’m grateful that I get to be someone who makes art - and I’m lucky I get to learn through it. I’m grateful for the gift of people who support and believe in me - so many who brought all the pieces of this release together. I’m feeling ready to put out a body of work for the first time in a long time. It feels like Emily Kopp the songwriter and creative has been quietly cultivating this world for awhile, but this feels like the first big step for me as Lowen the artist.
GMAT: I’m in love with your latest single “Only In My Dreams”! Tell us more about the song.
L: I’d been having dreams about someone who had recently passed away, and remember waking up feeling a mixture strange, emotional, happy, and nostalgic. My wife is someone who is really in tune and fascinated by her own dreams, and loves to explore meanings. When I told her about these dreams, she shared a really beautiful perspective that stuck with me. What if instead of interpreting this as a figment of ones imagination, we chose to see it as something of a potential other dimension. I loved that idea… the possibility of getting to meet up and spend time with someone in another realm - and that realm being somewhere we go when we fall into a deep sleep. Waking up feeling like you had a chance to make another memory together in a dream, is really beautiful.
GMAT: The videos for your two newest singles, “Morning, Mourning” and “Only In My Dreams,” are so visually appealing! How was the process for creating the videos?
L: Thank you! Each one of these videos came together very differently. For "Only In My Dreams," I knew I wanted the visual to feel otherworldly, and almost unidentifiable… sort of like a dream. Avatar meets Tame Impala light show meets some sort of fantasy. The process ended up being really seamless and organic. There just so happened to be an immersive art exhibit in town called “Otherworld," and it embodied everything I could have wished for. It was all just there - like it had been waiting for us to film. When we reached out to Otherworld about wanting to make the video inside of their exhibit, they welcomed the project with open arms. I spent the day shooting with my director Luke Harvey. We went on a Wednesday afternoon when nobody was there and just explored, had fun, and laughed a lot.
I knew from the start that I wanted this visual to feel extremely intimate (not a sexual intimate, but something much deeper). The idea of people in movement together, struggling, holding one another, working together to be in flow. Skin on skin. The song and recording is intimate and it was important to me that the video represent that in the same way. My director, Luke Harvey took the non concept concept I gave him, and sent over a stunning treatment and story centered around a dancer slowly being unwrapped out of this cocoon - as a representation of my heart. The planning and filming process was more involved than with OIMD We were small, but mighty: a cast of 3 dancers, my management (all hands on deck that day with team Lowen haha), and my director Luke Harvey. I rented a little RV for the day as our mobile green room / bathroom, since we were filming inside of an A/C - less, waterless warehouse. We even managed to MacGyver a rain scene. It was a team effort to say the least, haha.
GMAT: What was the most memorable thing about creating these two videos?
L: For "Only In My Dreams," I loved getting to create alongside my director Luke. It was just us two through the entire thing. The idea that it’s possible to take an idea from conception to actualization with a vision and creative thinking blows my mind. It felt very powerful to be able to share this concept, come together and be able to make it. No big budget. No involved production.
GMAT: I understand before the announcement of this EP, you took a hiatus. How did being on a hiatus help you create Only In My Dreams?
L: The intention behind the hiatus and sabbatical was to heal, and find a sense of purpose and inspiration again after loosing a lot of it. Between nonstop touring, and falling out of love with someone, I needed to find meaning, immerse myself in new experiences, and dig deep to find a spark again. After a year of living and traveling abroad (New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Israel, Argentina), everything as I knew it shifted. I’d gone from being hyper focused, and career obsessed, to experiencing life holistically and in a balanced way - from art, personal life, and career. The entire framework of what I knew to be real, true, and important changed. I rediscovered who I was outside of music, and how important it was to zoom out and truly be inside of my life - all of it. Taking time to smell the roses, so to speak.
By the time I moved back to the U.S., my priorities had shifted and I’d realized that without being a person fully immersed in all aspects of my life - I couldn’t possibly be an honest, true, and healthy artist. It allowed me to create freely and without bounds. There was no difference anymore between me the person and me the artist. Experiencing life, downloading it, being deeply in your human experience, and then processing that with as much truth as I possibly can. That’s what being an artist is about.
GMAT: If another musician is struggling to create in the industry, would you recommend taking a hiatus? What other tips would you offer?
L: I sort of see this as a person thing rather than strictly a music thing. There’s a really eye opening speech I read awhile back - that a writer named David Foster Wallace gave at a commencement ceremony. He starts out the speech by telling a story about two young fish swimming. They meet an older fish who wishes them good morning, and then asks, “how’s the water?” The two young fish keep swimming until one of them looks at the other and goes “what the h*ll is water?”. We get used to the simple yet miraculous parts of our live’s because it’s easy to become numb, flow through life, and fall into a sort of sleep walking. It’s harder to stay conscious and participate actively, recognizing that life isn’t something that we exist inside of but rather something that we participate in. I work very hard to not become numb to my “water." The second that ever happens, is the second it’s time to make a change and take a hiatus again.
GMAT: After the EP releases, what is next? What goals are you setting for 2020?
L: I want to continue diving deeper into my art and allow myself space and time to write, write, write. There are songs in the works that I’m really excited about and stoked on exploring production on. I want to stay balanced, and spend quality time with my loved ones. As far as next year, I’m excited to be playing out again. ;)
Connect with Lowen and be sure to stream Only In My Dreams now!
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