As much as we wish it could be, life isn’t always glamorous, so when we turn to music, songs about how great life is at a particular moment won’t always resonate. Sometimes, it takes looking within one’s vulnerable moments to touch the hearts of listeners. With her newest single “My Last Name,” Emily Daniels has done just that.
Delving into the toxic environment created by her biological father, Daniels delivers a heartwrenching performance on a song that hits incredibly close to home for her.
“’My Last Name’ is the most personal song I’ve ever written, but it’s also the most rewarding. I had to be extremely vulnerable in the writing room with my co-writers Kelly Seidel and Hailey Verhaalen in sharing my past with them, messy parts and all,” says Daniels. “It was emotionally hard to write because it brought up a lot of painful memories, but it didn’t take us long to actually write it. I couldn’t let myself cry in the room because I knew if I started, I wouldn’t stop, so I barely held it together until we were finished. They were the most supportive co-writers to have in the room for a song like that.”
As 2020 marks 10 years since her father left, Daniels says writing and releasing “My Last Name” brings a level of catharsis as she’s had time to reflect on her own personal growth.
“I didn’t realize just how much time had passed, but it felt right, and I finally felt ready to open up about my story to the world,” says Daniels. “In the past few months, I’ve had time to reflect on how much I’ve grown over the last decade, and I think the old me would be proud of who I am today.”
With the weight of her biological father’s burden off of her shoulders, Daniels says she felt free to look deep within herself and the emotions the situation brings to create her vulnerable new single.
“For so many years, I felt silenced by my biological father, so now that I’m not under his control anymore, I feel obligated to speak my truth on behalf of people who aren’t able to speak theirs,” says Daniels. “I wish I had known back then that I wasn’t alone. I’ve learned that by speaking openly and vulnerably about my past, it shines a light on toxic relationships that people are presently stuck in. For the most part, people have been incredibly accepting of me sharing my story; not everyone will understand or want to talk about the heavier parts of life, but that’s okay.”
To that point, since the song’s release just over a week ago, Daniels has received messages from listeners about how the song has touched them and how shining a light on her story has resonated with their experiences.
“I’m honestly overwhelmed, but in the best way possible. This song is my story, but it’s unfortunately not only mine. Every time someone can personally relate to the song, it tugs at my heart and it’s a bittersweet connection,” says Daniels. “I honestly don’t want people to be able to relate to a song like this, but it’s a broken world, so a lot of people do. I just hope it helps them heal a little the way it’s helped me.”
“My Last Name” comes on the heels of May’s “Ex on the Beach,” which is rapidly nearing 30,000 streams on Spotify and leaving her excited as the song continues to reach new people.
“It’s been exciting to see people streaming it all summer! I love seeing videos of people playing it whether they’re at the lake, pool, beach, or just at home with a drink in their hand!” says Daniels. “It’s encouraging as an independent artist to see momentum and forward motion of any kind, and to see people connecting to your songs, singing along, and sharing with their friends”
Though 2020 has dealt a tough hand so far, Daniels is keeping a positive outlook as she prepares to return to the studio to record new music.
“I’m going back in the studio to work on new music!” says Daniels. “Even though we can’t play normal shows just yet, I’m doing my best to stay positive and focus on what I can do right now, which is continue writing and creating music for the future!”
*Images courtesy of Emily Daniels’ website and Facebook page*
**”My Last Name” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**