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“My Last Name” Emily Daniels’ New Single Was Inspired by Kelly Clarkson

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Nashville native Emily Daniels has the charm of the girl next door, fashion sense of a personal stylist, and the determination of an entrepreneur. Witty, honest lyrics; heartfelt, powerful, pitch-perfect melodies; and infectious, catchy arrangements all blend perfectly. It’s a little Shania Twain sass with a dash of Maddie & Tae sweetness that will leave you humming all week long. Her music is a head-turning as her signature red outfits.

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“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” What was the moment when you felt ready to share your music?

I never felt fully “ready,” but I think I just had to do it anyway. I’ll always be growing and evolving as a writer and artist, but I want to share where I’m at in my journey right now through my music.

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‘Five O’Clock Friday’ with Sarah Jones and close to 100 covers. How have these songs/covers influenced your own songwriting?

I can’t believe we’ve done that many!! These covers have helped me figure out what I resonate with as an artist and what resonates with my followers too which is super helpful. It’s also been cool to see how it’s changed from just picking random songs to getting requests from people!

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“ … you can take anything that you want, but you can’t take my song!” Which songs inspired you to write your own story in “My Last Name”?

I was first inspired to write my own story when I heard Kelly Clarkson sing “Piece by Piece” on American Idol a few years back. I remember it being the first song that I could relate to when it came to my own relationship with my father. It made me realize that I wasn’t alone, and my hope for writing and releasing “My Last Name” was that it would help someone else out there also know they weren’t alone.

Women supporting women. You wrote the new song two years ago, before you legally changed your name, with Kelly Seidel and Hailey Verhaalen. What message do you hope other women take away from the song?

I hope they feel empowered to take whatever step is next for them — whether that’s changing their name, walking away from a toxic relationship, or whatever that looks like for them. And for women who have great relationships with their fathers, I hope they thank their dads for treating them right because that is such a huge gift in life.

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“Prayer is where I turn especially when I need guidance and answers, and I believe that prayer along with action can spark real, lasting change.” After years of ‘being silenced’, you chose to act and wrote your truth. You said that after playing the song in live shows, fans would share how they related to the lyrics. How difficult was it to perform the song in public the first time?

I remember that show like it was yesterday. My momma and Faux Pa were in the audience which made it even more special, but it still took everything in me not to cry on stage. Even now, I get emotional when singing it because it’s just so personal and vulnerable.

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“ … Faux Pa … thank him for all the big and small ways he’s stepped up …” Can you share a favorite memory with Daniel?

I have so many great memories with him, but I think one of my favorites is when we were road tripping from California to Tennessee together one summer on my way home from college. We stopped in Vegas to see some friends and had sushi for dinner. I quickly found out I was allergic to seafood and became very sick overnight. We were supposed to take turns driving since it was a total of about 2,000 miles, but I was clearly unable to do so, so he drove every mile home and kept making sure I was feeling okay. He never once complained and was just so selfless. He always likes to remind me that the best travel stories come from the trips when things don’t go according to plan, and I’d have to agree.

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“I can’t change the past, but I can decide how I will let it shape my life.” Letting go. Moving on. What advice would you give to others struggling to regain power over their own lives?

I’d first tell them that they’re incredibly brave and strong because moving on is rarely ever easy. I’d encourage them to find a healthy, supportive community of people who can speak truth into their life and encourage them. And in my own life, I’ve learned that healing isn’t a linear process — some days you feel great and think you have moved on and then the next day you feel like you’ve taken two steps back, but that’s okay. Give yourself grace because we’re all human.

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“When I lived in California, I’d run to the beach when I was stressed … it helped remind me that the God who created every single grain of sand also created me, loves me unconditionally, and has things under control.” Where are your Nashville go-to-places?

I honestly don’t have anywhere in Nashville that compares to the beach, but I enjoy taking long drives down country roads. This summer in particular, I’ve really welcomed any opportunity to go visit my parents’ cabin in the mountains. It’s incredibly peaceful, and I always find true rest there.

As Labor Day approaches, what’s left on your summer bucket list?

I still want to go to the lake at some point! Tennessee weather is brutally hot and humid in the summers, so I look for chances to beat the heat and the lake is a great place to do so!

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