Check out our interview with LA-based artist Emma Zander who just released her delicate cover of Papa Roach’s chart-topping single “Last Resort” via New Noize Records distributed by ADA Worldwide. Emma also released the music video directed by Brandon Dermer who has done music videos for Dillon Francis, Panic! At The Disco, Diplo, The Jonas Brothers, Noah Cyrus, Trippie Redd, and many more.
Audiences will be delighted to hear Zander’s “Last Resort” cover featured in the Sci-Fi Comedy flick I’m Totally Fine, directed by Brandon Dermer, produced by Kyle Newacheck (What We Do in The Shadows, Workaholics, Murder Mystery), and starring Natalie Morales, Harvey Guillen, and Jillian Bell. I’m Totally Fine is distributed by DECAL
Follow Emma @emmazander
Hi Emma, please tell us a little about you?
Hey! Born & raised in NY, I moved out to LA to pursue music and never looked back. When I’m not making music, I love acting, screenwriting, and running a volunteer program for a non-profit called Destination Hope.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Thoughtful. Creative. Kind.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
I’ve been in the entertainment industry since middle school, but I didn’t really start pursuing a career as an artist until I moved to LA. I was actually recording vocals for a commercial jingle when the engineer asked if I wanted to write a song sometime. From the moment I wrote that first song, I was absolutely hooked and knew I had to keep going.
How has this changed your life?
Songwriting is therapy to me. It’s this safe space where I can gather my thoughts and feelings and make them into something beautiful. Something someone can listen to and relate to. Creating and performing music is my creative outlet and I’ve realized it’s absolutely essential to feeling fulfilled. No matter how hard the music industry gets, I always come back to the music.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Dark. Ethereal. Siren.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
Growing up in NY, all I wanted was to be on Broadway. So I sang in musicals for most of my life, eventually going to NYU Tisch for musical theater conservatory. I was so inspired by one professor there, incredible musician Darryl Tookes, who challenged me to find my own flavor of vocal artistry and soul. I love to think that there will always be certain theatrical elements to my music.
As far as artists who inspire me – I love Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Jack Antanoff, Phoebe Bridgers, Tommy LeFroy, Wet Leg.
Do you play any instrument?
I’ve dabbled with piano & guitar, but my voice is the only instrument I can play to my liking so far lol.
Do you ever get nervous?
I used to get super nervous before I went on stage. I felt so awkward – like “What do I do with my hands!?” It’s such a vulnerable position when a whole room is staring at you, so it’s completely natural to feel jitters. The thing that changed everything for me was realizing that I didn’t have to DO too much to be interesting or compelling to watch – as long as I meant what I was singing from a truthful place, the rest took care of itself. I also started doing embodiment practices, dancing around my apartment like a wild woman every night and just learning how my body wanted to move.
Tell us about your new cover of Papa Roach’s chart-topping single “Last Resort?”
My friend & collaborator Kayhan Azadi came to me last year with the opportunity to record this cover for Brandon Dermer’s movie, ‘I’m Totally Fine.’ He sent me the instrumental track, and suddenly, the song was transformed into this moody, sexy pop song. Now, Papa Roach is fully supporting the track, and it’s been so cool to work with them!
Why did you decide to go for this song?
l never would’ve imagined that I would cover this iconic badass rock song – I never dreamed I could do it justice! But from the first time I tried singing it, something totally clicked for me. It just works. I always loved this song, and it’s been so cool to revisit a song of my childhood as an adult and find new layers.
How was working with Brandon Dermer?
I cannot say enough amazing things about Brandon Dermer. He is such a talent, and such an awesome human. It’s rare to find people like that in this industry. Also – everyone go see the poignant & hilarious ‘I’m Totally Fine!’
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza, anything by Abraham Hicks.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
Create with no end result in mind. Follow your intuition. Trust your path. The answers are always within you. (still trying to follow this myself!)
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to disappoint other people. Live your life for YOU (:
How would your best friend describe you?
Ok, I texted my best friend and she said… “Loyal, silly, honest and authentic, fashion icon, very girly, not into camping, loves luxury, sensual, feisty, hard working, loves her family, talented writer, INCREDIBLE voice!”
Swear I didn’t pay her to say that lol.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
I’ve actually thought extensively about the title of my future memoir & I cannot tell you just yet… Let’s just say it involves cats. And some self-deprecating humor.
What’s next for Emma Zander in the last months of 2022 and for 2023?
I’ve got two new music videos ready to drop, so I’m timing those out. My new song will be in a Netflix show in early 2023 and it’s a show I actually watch & LOVE so I can’t wait!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Anything from Erewhon.
And your favorite cheat food?
I don’t believe in diets or cheat foods. But my sweet tooth is out of this world.
How would you explain your fashion style?
Bohemian hippy meets retro goddess.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Creating art. Hanging with family & friends. Being out in nature. Using your gifts.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Marilyn Monroe. She was a truly special soul.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
I’m dreaming of going to Italy this summer. Maybe with a few friends!
Best advice ever given?
Meditate every day.
Do you support any charity?
For the past 7 years, I’ve worked with people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles, volunteering for soup kitchens, campaigning for shelters, and fundraising for resources for our unhoused neighbors. I now run a volunteer program at a safe parking lot called Destination Hope, where people who live in their vehicles can safely sleep.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I don’t know if I can think that far ahead! But I’m forecasting happiness, healthiness, and abundance.
Favorite song? Why?
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. One of the first songs I ever covered.
What do you think of Social Media?
Probably like most people, I have a love / hate relationship with it. It’s definitely a fun way to connect – but easy to get obsessed. I really have to check myself.
Where can we follow you?
Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
Quote: ‘Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Movie: Almost Famous. La La Land.
Tv Series: Succession.
Favorite Food: Candy.
Travel Destination: Costa Rica.
Sports Team: I don’t really care about sports but I’ll say the Yankees cause the Zanders love them.