Interview with Emily Luther: From Woonsocket to The Ellen Show

Emily Luther on The Ellen Show.

Emily Luther on The Ellen Show. Photo provided by Emily Luther.

Article/Interview By: Alyssa McCord

If you don’t know who Emily Luther is yet, then you will soon. Emily Luther, from Woonsocket, RI, is a 19-year-old third semester Music Therapy student here at Berklee College of Music – but she won’t be here for long.

Emily and fellow Berklee student/YouTube star, Charlie Puth, recently scored a recording contract with Ellen DeGeneres’ label, eleveneleven, and Interscope Records after their video covering Adele’s “Someone Like You” went viral. The video broke one million views within one week and was featured on Perez Hilton’s website for winning first place in his cover contest. After Emily and Charlie performed the duet on The Ellen Show, the video continued to climb to well over three million views and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Although it’s been several weeks since the video was first posted on YouTube, you can count on the hype about Emily’s outstanding talent to only continue to grow from here.

Did you ever expect your entire life to change just from one YouTube video or to score a record deal while being a student at Berklee?
I never thought this would happen, not while I was a student either! I always hoped for the best but I didn’t come into anything with expectations.

What was your experience like performing on the Ellen show?
It was surreal. I guess it didn’t really hit me while I was out there until we were at the hotel after it all finished and my parents and sister-in-law and I were thinking, “What just happened?”

Tell me about your experience being offered a record deal by Ellen’s label, eleveneleven, and Interscope Records.
We were in the dress rehearsal on the day of our performance on the Ellen Show and there was an entourage of people in the audience. Ellen watched all three run-throughs of the song and she doesn’t usually watch the dress rehearsals at all. Before we sang through the song for the third time, Charlie looked at me and said, “I think that’s Akon in the audience” and it was! After finishing the third run through, about an hour before we went on to perform, they brought Charlie and I into Ellen’s dressing room, for a “pow-wow” as Ellen called it, and we were offered the deal with eleveneleven and Interscope Records!

So you and Charlie Puth will be working together for the record deal… How has it been working with him?
Charlie is great. He’s an extremely talented person. He created the track and engineered it and everything for the cover of “Someone Like You” by Adele. We’re also doing “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum as the second video! Charlie and I just work so well together. When we’re in the studio, we get things done in an hour because we just work so well together. He’ll say “Hey, do this at this part!” and then I’ll say “Sure! Hey, you do this at this part!” and we just get things done quickly. We mesh well together as artists.

How long have you been performing? Have you always dreamed of being a performer?
My first show when I was 9 as a mouse in Cinderella. I loved it and I fell in love with performing! My first professional theatre production was when I was 11 and then I just started doing it more and more and more and things just took off. I know it sounds cliché, but there was never really a question – it just always felt right. I never sat somewhere and thought, “I’d rather be this or a teacher or something.” It was never an option for me.

So you started out in musical theatre – do you ever want to get back into that or do you solely want to be a recording artist?
I think I’ve always wanted to do everything, it was just a matter of what order I wanted to do it all in. I would love to be on Broadway, which was my dream when I was a kid, but it’s all relative. I want to start with this but I want to eventually branch out. I want to do everything.

Do you think Berklee played a role in getting you to this huge step in your career?
Absolutely. The connections you make at Berklee are amazing. To be thrown into a school where there is a TON of talented people, it just makes you work that much harder. Before all of this happened a few weeks ago, I was working really hard everyday on improving my voice and gigging with Colin Jaros’ amazing GB Band, “Groovin’ You.”

What will the next steps be as you start getting involved with your record deal?
Right now they’re working through the logistics of when I move out there and get started with everything. The biggest step at the moment is getting really good people around me to help me. There’s definitely more pressure to work harder on writing since I didn’t have a lot of writing experience before this happened, but I’ll be getting a lot more experience with it now and I’m really enjoying that.

You come from a really small town, Woonsocket, RI. What do you think it’ll be like relocating LA or New York?
I think it’s going to be a huge change, which is very scary. For any musician, this is what you dream of but now that it’s happening, there’s so much I have to get in order. It’s really just getting used to a new lifestyle and people you don’t really know recognizing you and some people being like, “Hey, I loved that run that you did at the end of that song!” Before, people didn’t notice that.

What are the five most important things that you think aspiring performers should know? Do you have any other advice for them?
1. Always remember to stay true to yourself and what you believe in.
2. Never ever let others tear your dreams apart.
3. Everyone’s going to have an opinion… I mean, haters gonna hate!
4. Surround yourself with really good people.
5. Don’t forget where you came from.
As for other advice… Just keep going. If you surround yourself with positivity and just keep going and work hard and make sacrifices, which I’ve done a lot of in my lifetime, it WILL pay off someday. Keep on keeping on.