How EMELINE Channeled Her Newfound Strength Into 'this is how i learn to say no'

Rhode Island-born singer-songwriter EMELINE has made quite the impact in 2021, and we simply can't stop listening to her boldly hypnotic tracks.

Her biggest hit of the year has been "this is how i learn to say no," which was released in August to critical acclaim, with its lyric video garnering more than a million hits on YouTube. The song is vulnerable, yet empowering, with a gorgeously smooth sound that tracks EMELINE's own personal journey of learning the power of saying no. Honestly, it's a message we can all hear right now—and we got the chance to chat with EMELINE herself about what the song means and why it's so important to her.

Sweety High: What was the songwriting process of "this is how i learn to say no"?

EMELINE: I was at a turning point of my career and had to decide to be strong in so many aspects of my life, so the song is about me putting my foot down in order to show up for myself. It was super emotional and empowering. I had just me, Ana, Orion and David, who I wrote it with. There was something about venting to strangers who turned into friends that was really liberating.


SH: What specific feelings did you want to channel in the track, and what does the song mean to you?

EMELINE: Aggression, empowerment and relief. This was me freeing myself from the imprisonment of being a people pleaser.

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A post shared by EMELINE (@emelineisme)


SH: Is the song based on a true story?

EMELINE: Very much so. It's an accumulation of so many things I went through, and my decision to be strong for myself.


SH: Do you have any advice on learning how to say no to people?

EMELINE: I sometimes pretend that I'm Lady Gaga. She inspires me a lot as a person and businesswoman. Or I envision the baddest bi**h version of myself and just start showing up as her. Then it became a habit and got easier. It definitely gets easier with practice.


SH: How did the concept for the music video come about? What does it mean to you?

EMELINE: I was talking to the director, Joelle [Grace Taylor] about how I did a lot of my healing in solitude by the water, so it was cool to reference that. I wanted to show the layers to my emotions through healing and that it isn't all pretty—but that you have to be really strong to fight your way through it.

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SH: What's your favorite lyric from the song? Why?

EMELINE: I love the lyric, "When I got healthy, did that make you hate me?" I realized that some people are meant for the unhealed version of you. If someone dislikes you after your growth, that's all the closure you need to realize that they aren't for you.


SH: How is this song different from what you've released in the past? Do you feel like your music is moving in a new direction?

EMELINE: This song is the most vulnerable thing I've released. It was a moment I wanted to share because it spoke to so many people. A lot of my next music is about coming into my own as a bad bi**h after healing. I want to dive into the origin story on a future album, but on my next project, I'll be writing about where I am in the present tense.

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A post shared by EMELINE (@emelineisme)


SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

EMELINE: I have a project coming in 2022 with my proudest work and I can't wait to share it with you!


Love discovering the powerful stories behind great new tracks? Click HERE to read our interview with singer-songwriter Grace Carter on her emotional new single, "Dark Matter."