Emily Vu is unstoppable. With powerhouse vocals, a sizable following on TikTok, and a down-to-earth charisma that practically bursts through your phone screen, she’s already a force to be reckoned with—and this is just the start of her upward trajectory. Vu has only released a handful of songs thus far, but each one feels distinctive and lyrically precise, a sign of an artist wise beyond her years. Her single, “Weekend,” gives us a taste of the dynamic pop to come; the music video features two Vus speaking into a tin can telephone, as well as a hefty dose of quarantine creativity. Vu’s newest release, “Just Wait,” sees her opening up about her sexuality, quietly lacing beautiful synth-pop with queer undertones. It’s clear that she’s already an artist to watch out for. Lithium chatted with her about her new releases, rise to fame, and plans for the future.
Lithium Magazine: You just dropped your debut single last October. Since then, your music has gotten over two million streams—what does it feel like to achieve such a huge milestone in so little time?
Emily Vu: It honestly feels amazing! I never would have imagined that my first ever single would be doing as well as it is right now. I’m so thankful for the constant support from my family, friends, and followers!
Lithium: Has there been a specific moment in your career so far that made you think, “Wow, this is really happening”?
Emily: That thought crosses my mind every day since I only just started putting my music out. Everything is so new to me right now and the possibilities seem endless. It’s just so unbelievable.
Lithium: Have you always wanted to be a musician?
Emily: Actually, no. Before I got really serious about music, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I’ve always had a soft spot for children and I knew I’d enjoy seeing little kiddos every day.
Lithium: What was your songwriting process behind “Weekend,” your upcoming single?
Emily: My producer friend SZNS and I were in a session and going through YouTube beats for inspiration, and we came across a really pretty guitar beat and decided to recreate it. At the time I was going through a little heartbreak myself so writing the lyrics was fairly easy.
Lithium: What went into filming the music video for “Weekend” at home during quarantine?
Emily: The shoot went all day, from 10:30 AM to 11 PM, so we spent a lot of time getting the perfect takes. I also had to switch back and forth between the two outfits, so that was a little exhausting—but worth it in the end!
Lithium: Your music is filled with bits and pieces of different genres. Which artists are your top musical influences?
Emily: I’d say blackbear, Lauv, and LANY. I’ve been listening to the three of them for years now.
Lithium: Why did you start uploading your covers and songs to TikTok?
Emily: I originally started uploading covers on TikTok because I really liked singing but I didn’t want to post them on the social media accounts that I already had. So I went ahead and made a TikTok. I started with no following and just randomly starting posting cover videos.
Lithium: Your lyrics paint such a vivid picture of being a teenager in the suburbs, especially in songs like “Want To.” Do you draw inspiration from where you live? Why is this such a consistent theme in your work?
Emily: Yes, actually. I only write from experience. “Want To” was a song based on my friends and me hanging out, just doing our usual thing. The lyrics included a lot of our daily activities. Writing from my own experience is a consistent theme in my songwriting.
Lithium: What’s your number-one piece of advice for someone getting started with music on TikTok?
Emily: My advice would be to really put yourself out there. Step out of your comfort zone and be your authentic self. Being like everyone else on the app won’t do you any good.
Lithium: What’s next after “Weekend” for you? Are there any future projects you can tell us about?
Emily: I’m currently in the works of putting together an EP and after that release, I definitely want to perform more live shows.
Stream “Weekend” now on Spotify.
Interview by MJ Brown
Photo by Terrence Williams