Emmalea Deal has been making music since she was teen. The alt songstress has crafted her own version of rock and roll that, while leaning on her influences, leaves her own footprint. Emmalea Deal & The Hot Mess are letting you know who they are with their new track “Does She Have You?” Listen to it below and read our conversation with front woman Emmalea to get her insights about the song.
This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.
BB: Thanks for taking time to talk to us. Congrats on the new track. Tell us about it.
ED: Thank you! So the song is called, “Does She Have You” And it’s really different from the stuff that we put out on the last EP. I think it’s different in a good way. It’s definitely more of a creative risk, I would say for us as a band, especially as an alternative rock band. The song is very groovy. It’s a little slower than the type of stuff we normally do but why I’m so in love with this song is just the groove of it. I wrote the song around the riff and the intro which is just so cool and so funky. I love it.
BB: You wrote the song and you realize, okay, this is a risk. What made you stick with it knowing that this doesn’t necessarily fit into the wheelhouse of what you’ve done in the past?
ED: The reason why I am just so in love with this song is the story that’s told within it. It’s something that I’ve never really sung about before. I’ll tell you a little bit more about it. I wrote it from a perspective of being a woman and maybe having a crush or liking another woman who is being treated not so great by what I assume is another partner. And so it’s kind of like this heartbreak, like a love sick song, but in a way that’s calling out the person who’s mistreating the person you’re in love with.
BB: You say you put yourself in that perspective. A lot of artists write about experiences they personally have not had, but will write about what they think it might be like to be in that situation. Do you do that a good bit with your music?
ED: Yeah, definitely. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. I can’t remember exactly what it was. There was something was going on at the time, in the media when I wrote the song and it was a certain word that I read that just made everything click with the meaning for me. It made me want to write and tell the story. And it’s really important to me. So I hope people like it as well.
BB: Can you describe this track?
ED: I would say it’s a mix of some of Paramore’s current output but also similar to some older Arctic Monkeys.
BB: That’s a fun combo.
ED: I know it’s very interesting. It’s very indie rock. I would say it’s very reminiscent of the AM album by Arctic Monkeys.
BB: We recently saw a few bands perform at a festival that you were at. It had a variety of female artists on it. From a female raised and living in West Virginia perspective, what’s it like for you to see a bunch, and I feel like I feel like it’s a bunch, of female artists popping up and getting noticed in this state.
ED: I think it’s long overdue, honestly. I love to see it and I have made a lot of friends with women in the local industry, some new and some that have been around for a while, and I think it’s just really well deserved. The fact that you see these women coming out of different genres and that’s so cool, because it’s not just like one thing that the scene is highlighting. Sometimes it feels like there’s this mindset that says “you’re a woman, you have to do this style of music.”
BB: You’re as alternative rock as it gets, and then you’ve got others like Sierra Ferrell who’s more on that folk end of things, and then there’s a whole world in between there. It’s great to see. What else do you want to tell our readers about Does She Have You?
ED: I think just really like this song is a big moment for us as a band, because it’s technically the first song that we recorded under the name Emmalea Deal & The Hot Mess. We officially became Emmalea Deal & The Hot Mess in 2023. We have, like, been playing as a band for a while but you know how it is with, like, changing the names on social media and all that. It was a long process, but this is a big stepping stone for us as a band.
BB: Who is The Hot Mess.
ED: Myself, Emmalea, I play rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Jarod Kearns on drum/percussion, Cody Engnes on bass and Josh Adams on lead guitar.
BB: Where, where did you record?
ED: Oh, we recorded the single at Big River Media in Dunbar. OK.
BB: Awesome. And you wanna tell me who the producer was? You wanna give them a shout out.
ED: We’re still kind of undecided because it was kind of like a group collaboration. We never actually named who was gonna be the producer, I would say it’s more of a group effort.
Listen to Does She Have You below.