Artist to Watch: OTNES Grieves & Glistens on Dreamy, Dazzling Debut Single “SPIN”

SPIN - OTNES
SPIN - OTNES
Atwood artist-to-watch OTNES (formerly Emily Blue) channels grief into warmth and wonder in her dazzling debut single “SPIN,” a heartfelt tribute to a lost loved one and a moving celebration of life, love, and the power of human connection.
Stream: “SPIN” – OTNES





Grief never fully dissipates; the more we experience it, the more we learn to live with the heavy weight of loss, and the more we come to understand that death and change are as much a part of life as is the very act of breathing.

Some might say it’s all about how you spin it – the ache and pain of a loved one’s absence; the once-innocuous moments we come to cherish as some of our fondest memories. OTNES channels grief into warmth and wonder in her dazzling debut single “SPIN,” a heartfelt tribute to a lost loved one and a moving celebration of life, love, and the power of human connection.

SPIN - OTNES
SPIN – OTNES
Before you died
I remember we’d
Go dancing every night
And you’d spin me round
Listening to those heavenly sounds
So when’d I get so nervous dancing around you?
I forget when I lost my rhythm, but
I wake up and I’m still thinking about you
I miss the days
We were the only ones in the room
I look back on a sunny afternoon

Independently released November 11, 2022, “SPIN” is a raw, poignant reminder that our time on Earth is precious – and that there’s something to be said about recognizing the people who make our every-days feel special, magical, and larger than life. But OTNES’ debut single doesn’t dwell in dark depths; rather, the artist formerly known as Emily Blue transforms her sadness into a radiant, golden-hued indie pop reverie.

OTNES' "SPIN" © courtesy of the artist
OTNES’ “SPIN” © courtesy of the artist



OTNES' "SPIN" © courtesy of the artist
OTNES’ “SPIN” © courtesy of the artist

Hailing from Chicago and now based in Nashville, Emily Blue was (and is) a longtime Atwood Magazine artist to watch and Editor’s Pick; we premiered her 2016 debut single “No Pain” and subsequent debut album Another Angry Woman, alongside numerous features, interviews, and reviews over the past five-plus years.

“Blue’s left-of-center indie and alt-pop music has always subverted expectations – combining a particular emotional potency with incredibly catchy lines and irresistible melodies,” we wrote in a 2022 feature. “And yet, The Afterlove – independently released in mid-January 2022 – feels like something new and special; something worthy of recognition and praise. In listening to Blue’s brand new third album, one feels a kind of fully realized artistic potential. It’s the perfect marriage of buoyant and bold, finessed ’80s dance pop (think Carly Rae Jepsen and MUNA) set against resoundingly raw, intimate lyrics built around topics of self-love and human connection, grief and personal growth. Though chock full of radiant earworms – I wouldn’t be surprised if “7 Minutes,” “San Junipero,” or the title track magically take off on TikTok or Spotify – The Afterlove is an album that was made to be, and deserves to be listened to from start to finish. It’s a moving, achingly honest piece of art that explores the artist’s inner journey – one that involves coming to terms with herself; with love; with pain and loss, and much more.”

OTNES' "SPIN" © courtesy of the artist
OTNES’ “SPIN” © courtesy of the artist



While we will continue to appreciate and embrace Emily Blue’s music, OTNES represents an important rebirth for the musician (born Emily Otnes) – one that grants her a renewed sense of identity, freedom, and artistic possibility.

Speaking to Atwood Magazine, OTNES explains the thought process behind the name change and her decision to say goodbye Emily Blue. “During COVID I spent so much time with myself and realized that I have changed so significantly as a person since the Emily Blue project was born,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “Not only my gender identity (now going by they/she pronouns), but also my priorities as an artist, the trials and tribulations of going through a pandemic, and really looking inward.”

“She’s [Emily Blue is] gone for good only in the sense that I no longer am her,” OTNES continues. “I have almost all my music from projects spanning my whole lifetime on various streaming platforms, and still perform some of the oldies. I learned so much as Emily Blue and collaborating with my friend Max Perenchio, who’s no longer with us. Part of the decision to part from Emily Blue is that the project just isn’t the same without him. OTNES feels so true to my heart (it’s my real last name) and also more androgynous, so I can truly lean into my fluidity. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me and can’t wait to see where this leads.”

I don’t drink anymore
I remember you
Face down on the floor
Wasn’t it all so fun?
I truly mean it and I miss you every second you’re gone
So when’d I get so lonely dancing without you?
I forget when I lost my rhythm but
I wake up and I’m still thinking about you
Gone are the days we were the only ones in the room
i look back on a Sunday afternoon
OTNES © courtesy of the artist
OTNES © courtesy of the artist



As beautifully bittersweet as it is buoyant and utterly breathtaking, the dreamy, glistening “SPIN” is the perfect (re)introduction: A sweetly synth-soaked song that captures everything we loved about Emily Blue, while importantly establishing OTNES as an indie pop phenomenon in her own right and an undeniable artist to watch in 2023.

“This song talks about nostalgia, memory, and grief and deals with the realities of addiction,” OTNES shares. “An homage to the death of an important friend and loss in general, OTNES displays how growth can be brought out of pain and reflection. The visual follows the artist through a journey with a magical pocket watch that teleports them into fantasy and memory, ultimately realizing that the beauty of life can be found in the present moment. The visual is self-directed with the collaborative powers of Mossflower Pictures, showcasing [my] Wes Anderson-style color universe. A mix of fantasy and reality, ‘SPIN’ is a reflective anthem for the fall and winter.”

I look back, I look back…
When’d I get so nervous dancing around you
I forget when I lost my rhythm but
I wake up and I’m still thinking about you
I miss the days we were the only ones in the room
I look back on a sunny afternoon

“SPIN” is as seductive as it is stunning: OTNES has debuted with a song that soothes, stirs, and hits hard deep down inside. Stream “SPIN” wherever you listen to music, and stay tuned for much more from OTNES in 2023!

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Stream: “SPIN” – OTNES




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SPIN - OTNES

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