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Interview With Emma Zander

Singer-songwriter Emma Zander talks about her new single and music video for “Not A Fairytale.”

Press shot for the rising pop singer-songwriter Emma Zander.
Photo courtesy of Yoshi Uemura.

What was the songwriting process like?

Emma: My collaborator Jon Lundin and I wrote and recorded “Not a Fairytale” in two sessions, so it was a pretty seamless and natural process. I really wanted to challenge myself with the lyrics, and I had already written some poetry before the session -- I had a story in my mind I wanted to tell. He played that moody guitar, and the rest was history. How did you decide on “Not A Fairytale” for the title of the song?

Emma: I love playing with the idea of fairytales -- the stories we grow up loving and believing as little ones. The happy ending is where you ride off into the sunset and everything is magically okay. I really wanted to turn this on its' head and write a song that finally sees the reality of a situation for what it was -- NOT a fairytale.

How did you come up with the artwork cover for the song?

Emma: I knew I wanted to be in a wedding dress. For me, it was like a visual representation of so many women's desired fairytale ending. And yet, I did not want it to look like a bridal shoot. So we shot it on film with an incredible photographer, Neex, and I made sure the expression on my face showed that this was not a happy occasion. Did you face any challenges while making the video?

Emma: Oh yeah. It's definitely a crazy process to not only be starring in a video, but also playing producer, stylist, art director, and coordinator. So I wore a lot of different hats, and really put every resource I had into putting it together.

What was the creative process like behind the “Not A Fairytale” music video?

Emma: I collaborated with the amazing director Kimberly Aboltin to bring this video to life. We spent weeks determining who these characters were and what their stories were. We met for coffee on Larchmont and showed each other references. We agonized over the ending. How long did it take to shoot the video?

Emma: It was a 22-hour shoot day altogether, but we finished shooting in a day. The editing process was months. It was definitely a labor of love.

The glitching, rewind and fast forward was such a great addition to the video, what was the process like of putting that in?

Emma: Thank you! We worked with an incredible editor who made it happen. We were really inspired by the glitching in Fight Club - how quickly it happens like you could miss it in the blink of an eye, and what that does to your perception of reality. What was your favorite part of making the video?

Emma: Being proposed to with a fake Amazon ring on the side of the road at 1 AM after 19 hours of shooting was pretty funny. We were so out of it. I also got to be married in the video, pregnant in the video, and naked in the video -- so it was full of notable moments haha.

“Not A Fairytale” video starts and ends on a cliffhanger, was that something you planned on doing before shooting?

Emma: Absolutely. Just like at the end of a toxic relationship, you question your own sanity. What was real and what was imagined. What did you do to feed the illusion? That's what we wanted the audience to feel. We also wanted it to start a discussion, and it worked -- everyone I talk to has their different theory of what happened.


Watch the “Not A Fairytale” music video HERE

Follow Emma on her socials: Instagram | TikTok

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