As we adjust to the new normal that 2020 has introduced us to, optimism may feel a million miles away. However, as it has since its inception, music is a remedy that makes that optimism feel a little more reachable. Without fail, at a time where we all needed something uplifting, as June came to a close, Emily Scott Robinson released her new single, “The Time For Flowers,” a song about looking past hard times in the present holding out hope that there are better days ahead.
When we last spoke with Robinson in January (feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?) she was riding the success of her debut full-length album Traveling Mercies with no immediate plans of re-entering the studio, saying that she would take that step when she was “ready” and when the time felt right. However, as the year continued to unfold and everything around us changed, so did Robinson’s plans, which spawned the simple recording session for her new single.
“This quarantine time and pandemic has taken all the rules off the table when it comes to making and releasing music! I realized that the facade of professionalism that I like to present (i.e. making music in a nice studio with a producer) just isn’t that important in the face of a global pandemic. We’re all stuck at home filming and recording things ourselves in our sweatpants!” says Robinson. “‘The Time for Flowers’ came organically to me and felt like a song for this time, like a dose of medicine for the world, so I knew I needed to put my worry and perfectionism aside and just record it and share it with the world! My husband and I filmed and edited the music video ourselves and learned so much in the process!”
Robinson, who has proven herself to be a fan of words and phrasing with her previous releases, says she was struck by a line in an Amor Towles book so much that it spawned an emotional reaction and the initial inspiration for “The Time For Flowers.”
“I was inspired to write this song from a line in the book A Gentleman in Moscow. In it, the narrator has been confined to living under house arrest in the attic of a grand hotel in Moscow, so his world becomes very small, just like our worlds became very small during quarantine. As he gazes upon the small shop of a florist (which has been boarded up and closed), he says to himself, ‘Ah, but the time for flowers will come again,’” says Robinson. “I cried when I read that line and carried it with me for a few weeks until a song started to emerge.”
Though that simple yet profound line of resiliency and hope laid the framework for the song, Robinson says she also drew inspiration from her elders and wanted to provide a light amongst the darkness that this year has brought.
“In this song, I wanted to draw upon the wisdom of the elders who have lived through so much more than we have,” says Robinson. “I also wanted to offer a song that recognized and honored the pain of this pandemic while also encouraging people to plant seeds for a better future. Above all, I want my music to be useful to people. I want them to take away a bit of comfort and hope for the future. Hope keeps us fighting.”
As February 22nd came and passed, so did the one year anniversary of Traveling Mercies, an album that introduced her to a plethora of new fans globally, amassing nearly five million combined streams and landing her on several 2019 “best of” lists. Robinson says she is grateful for the opportunity the album brought her to reach new people with “The Time For Flowers” and the music she will release in the future.
“It’s been a total dream come true! Honestly, I worked so hard behind the scenes to prepare for the album release. It took years to write those songs and it’s been amazing to see them received so beautifully in the world!” says Robinson. “Because of all the streaming, I have new fans discovering me every day. Perhaps their entry point will be one of my more famous songs, like ‘Better with Time’ or ‘The Dress,’ but then they’ll write to me and say that they went deeper into my catalog and discovered other songs really speak to their heart or tell a truth about their life. It feels great to have a body of work out in the world that connects so deeply with people and that I’m so proud of!”
As July began, so did the second half of 2020. Robinson admits to having to readjust and refocus her plans for the year, but all the while, she is continuing to stay busy and keeping a positive outlook on life.
“Oh my goodness, well, 2020 has thrown me through QUITE the loop! ! I’ve had to let go of all the attachments and dreams and plans I had for 2020 (which was going to be a great year of touring) and trust that my time will come when it’s safe again. Oh, how beautiful our reunions will be as musicians and fans when we can gather together again!” says Robinson. “Here is what I am currently doing with my days: Hiking in the mountains, riding my bike, rock climbing with my husband, writing new songs, playing online benefit concerts for causes I care about, watching a lot of Netflix documentaries, reading books about race and social justice, cooking, napping, meditating and wasting many glorious hours of time. I think one day I will look back on this time and miss it, so I’m trying to be grateful for it now.”
*Read our first interview with Emily here*
**Stream “The Time For Flowers” on Spotify**
***Images courtesy of Emily Scott Robinson***