Friendships can be rewarding, challenging, thrilling, supportive, dramatic, warm – or some combination of all of the above. Great friends can even make you a better person, which is why “breaking up” with someone you were once close to stings in a particularly painful kind of way. Singer-songwriter Jilian Linklater knows the situation all too well: the artist went through a situation where she was suddenly losing one of her best friends. When she thought couldn’t quite find the words to explain the feeling of loss, she was able to transform her emotions into a gripping track called “Break Up with Your Best Friend.”
To hear all about the song and Jilian’s writing process, be sure to catch Celeb Secrets‘ exclusive Q & A interview, below.
Writing this song was definitely a sort of therapy for me.
Celeb Secrets: Can you tell us the story behind “Break Up with Your Best Friend,” and how it turned into a song?
Jilian Linklater: The idea came about as one of my closest friendships was ending. It was extremely painful for me. I had never had a friendship end the way this one did. I use songwriting as a way to process my emotions, and writing this song was definitely a sort of therapy for me.
Celeb Secrets: How would you describe your musical journey, and your career up until this point?
Jilian Linklater: I would describe it as a journey of self-discovery. Every step along the path I’ve had to overcome a challenge or insecurity. In the beginning it was hard for me to even say I was a songwriter and an artist because I wasn’t confident enough. But as my confidence grew, I kept pushing myself further into my career as a musician. I began to discover more of who I am. That is exciting!
Celeb Secrets: What is a message you hope listeners take away from your work?
Jilian Linklater: That they are not alone. I try so hard to be completely honest in my music so that people can listen and say, “Oh my gosh, me too. Maybe I’m not crazy.”
Celeb Secrets: What is your songwriting process like, and is that how this song went as well?
Jilian Linklater: Typically I write to process my emotions. As a kid, I had a really hard time verbally communicating what I was feeling or thinking. But when I started playing guitar and writing songs it was like everything came pouring out. I can’t tell you exactly why, it feels almost mystical to me. But in terms of my process I start with a general idea or a title and I start playing my guitar or piano and just singing whatever comes out. I call the words that come out “ghost lyrics” because sometimes they make no sense at all. But as I continue to sing a little nugget of a melody or a really great line will emerge and I will start building from there.
Celeb Secrets: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote was, and how old you were when you came up with it?
Jilian Linklater: Hmmm…. I would have been in the fifth grade when I wrote my first full song. I remember I wrote it completely in my head. I wrote the lyrics on the back of my art class folder and sang it to my friends on the playground. I think it was something about flying and never coming down.
Celeb Secrets: Do you remember a song that was really influential to you when you were growing up?
Jilian Linklater: “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles. This song is pretty much the perfect song. It’s so simple yet says so much which is what I strive for when writing songs. It’s also just extremely nostalgic for me because my high school friends and I loved to go to Beatles impersonator concerts. They introduced me to a lot of great music that definitely shaped my songwriting and artistry.
Celeb Secrets: Was there a moment when you intentionally decided to pursue music or did it all happen naturally?
Jilian Linklater: It was kind of whirlwind. I wanted to be a pediatrician most of my life, but I started really getting into music half way through high school. I ended up winning a trip to Nashville where I got to record two songs in a studio on music row, attend CMA fest, and meet Taylor Swift. It was on that trip that I learned that a career in music was actually a possible career path. So from then on I just kind of went for it – I went to college in Nashville where I majored in Songwriting at Belmont University and there was no turning back.
Celeb Secrets: What was the best advice you got along that journey?
Jilian Linklater: It was from my songwriting professor Tom Douglas (wrote hit songs such as “The House That Built Me” for Miranda Lambert). He said to trust myself and trust my instincts as a songwriter. My biggest struggle is that I doubt myself and my abilities. I can get in my own way quite a bit, but hearing from a Songwriters Hall of Fame songwriter that I was good enough to trust my instincts was extremely encouraging. I don’t even think he knows how impactful that was for me.
I’m really inspired by female artists that are first and foremost songwriters.
Celeb Secrets: Who are some of your dream collaborators you’d love to work with?
Jilian Linklater: Oh my gosh there are so many – but right now it would be Julia Michaels. Not only is she super talented, she seems amazingly sweet and fun to work with.
Celeb Secrets: Are there any other artists whose journeys inspire you, or who you look up to?
Jilian Linklater: I’m really inspired by female artists that are first and foremost songwriters. Like Julia Michaels, Carole King, Lori Mckenna, Maren Morris, Taylor Swift. Songwriting was my first love and I think to all these women it was too. The song comes first in my mind. If you don’t have a great song you don’t have much. These women know the importance of writing an amazing, honest, heartfelt song and then had the courage to get up on stage and sing it themselves and tell their story.
Celeb Secrets: Are there any songwriters you’d love to sit down and write with?
Jilian Linklater: Honestly, all the women I listed above would be on my dream co-write list. We could add Lauv and Paul McCartney as well.
Celeb Secrets: For Celeb Secrets, would you be able to share a fun secret about yourself that not a lot of people know?
Jilian Linklater: Oh dear… I’m actually pretty darn goofy. So I have lots of weird embarrassing things I do. But one is, I recently bought a giraffe onesie and wore it driving from Nashville to Michigan where I’m from. I got out and got McDonald’s, got gas, and I got many many weird looks. But it was fun and cozy.
Be sure to catch Jilian Linklater’s latest song, “Break Up with Your Best Friend,” in the Spotify player above, and let us know all your reactions below!