Talon Tunes: Dance to the sound of college application stress with Emielyn


Courtesy Emielyn Das

Emielyn Das’s single “Hoping Hopelessly” is a smooth track about struggling to navigate the college application process without much guidance.

This week’s up-and-coming artist is Emielyn Das. A UC Berkeley cognitive science major born and raised in the Bay Area, Emielyn has been recording music since she was 12, but only recently found her (metaphorical) voice. With no formal training, Emielyn learned to sing from her mother, the only other artistically inclined person in her family of Silicon Valley software engineers, and YouTube tutorials. 

Emielyn’s first EP, released when she was just 14 years old, was soured by overbearing male producers who didn’t listen to her ideas — a problem, she explained, that is far too pervasive in the music and recording industry. After taking the EP down, it was four years later that she released her single “Hoping Hopelessly,” a smooth track about struggling to navigate the college application process without much guidance. 

With lyrics that any senior currently muddling their way through college applications can relate to, such as “I’ve been feeling this way sometimes I’m not good enough for me, laid my cards down now I’m hoping hopelessly” and “Brace yourself for the final judgment of my mistakes,” “Hoping Hopelessly” feels like a genuine representation of the stress, impatience and even vulnerability of the college application process from a student perspective. 

Sonically, the song is polished, with lush harmonies and clean production — far more sophisticated than one might expect from someone barely out of high school. Emielyn’s vocals flow effortlessly, with just enough emotion to carry the weight of her lyrics without being overbearingly stylized. With a chill, R&B-influenced pop sound, “Hoping Hopelessly” is the perfect song to listen to on repeat at 1 a.m. while having a breakdown over editing college essays. 

Emielyn’s next single, “Normal,” about life as a high schooler in the Bay Area, will be released before the end of the year. Listen to “Hoping Hopelessly” on Spotify and Apple Music, and follow Emielyn on Instagram @emielynd.

This is a part of a weekly series showcasing smaller artists. You can view future posts by clicking on the tag “Talon Tunes” below.