“Maybe before I save you,” KV the Writer sings on the soulful new single “Save Me” by St. Louis R&B and hip-hop singer and songwriter Stringz EMB, “I should try to save myself.” It’s a reasonable rejoinder to a desperate request for a lifeline and an acknowledgment that those who ride to the emotional rescue of a lover are just as unprepared for success as they are for failure. It’s natural for people in trouble to reach for each other, but when they do, they’re likely to find togetherness as challenging as solitude.
That’s the dilemma that Stringz EMB and KV the Writer (with warm, smooth, sweet-as-honey background vocals from the multi-talented Jay Marie) explore in the beautifully written, heartfelt verses to “Save Me.” In language that’s alternately poised and urgent, the two artists make their desire for romantic connection palpable — but they also signal their unreadiness for it. Structured like an exchange between lovers, “Save Me” tells parallel stories of a pair of young people stumbling toward each other, holding on for dear life, and wondering whether it wouldn’t be wiser to let go.
If that sounds like a lot for a pop-soul song to accommodate, it is. But Stringz EMB specializes in fitting big feelings into smooth, club-ready packages, and his ability to inhabit his scenarios and articulate complicated concepts has made him a legendary figure in the St. Louis R&B underground. In KV the Writer, he’s found an ideal accomplice: a young vocalist who makes interpersonal predicaments come alive for the listener in unsparing language and powerful images. The production on “Save Me” is sultry, sleek, and engrossing, and it foregrounds the song’s undeniable hooks. But the real special effects here are the two singers, who make every word and every syllable count.
Miguel Orjuela’s elegant clip for “Save Me” underscores and intensifies the song’s themes. We’re shown a couple coping with the fallout of a stroke of good fortune: one partner gets a job opportunity overseas, and the other is left behind in a stylish but austere apartment that reflects his desolate inner state. His texts go unanswered, his appeals do nothing to change his fate, and even his fantasies turn against him. It’s telling that Orjuela and Stringz EMB don’t depict their characters as conventionally troubled people. They’re successful young city dwellers who seem superficially happy together. Yet they lacked what it took to save the relationship — and what it takes to save each other.
How did you land on the visual concepts you had for the “Save Me” music video?
The idea for the visuals of “Save Me” came from the lyrics. I attempt to create the most melodic form of my true life and that’s exactly what “Save Me” embodies. Allow me to fly and evolve, but if I ever float off too much, I’m trusting that you’ll save me and bring me back to earth. The visual speaks into the situation of a devoted relationship that is abruptly affected by personal achievement. The life we live is all about balance. Once must find and hold to partnership in the midst of loving and fulfilling self-accomplishments.
The “Save Me” music video gives us Miguel vibes! Is there an artist or group that inspires you?
It’s actually funny that you say Miguel; he is definitely one of my favorite artists. Kaleidoscope Dreams really paved the way for me. I fell in love with that project well before I began to create music, so naturally, when I got into the industry, it was already a part of me. Other inspiring artists would be André 3000, Drake, J. Cole, and Anthony Hamilton.
Give us a favorite lyric from the “Save Me” music video and why!
Honestly, the entire hook. To me, it’s a love letter to music and love.
“So, walk me down & hold my hand. Tell me that you’ll never ever let me go. If I open, will you understand? Just promise me if I get lost that, that you will come & save me.”
What did the music production process look like for “Save Me”?
So, the production credit goes to my producer brother, Dave Beats. He’s an extremely talented creator from Guam. We connected through Instagram. He sent me a beat pack with a few beats in it. All of them were dope, but this one snagged my ear IMMEDIATELY. I’m all about vibes and organic creation, so I didn’t attempt to fight the urge. I instantly began writing to it, and now we’re here.
What impact did being raised in St. Louis have on your music career today?
I am St. Louis and St. Louis is me. Everything that I create comes from my experience of being me. “If there was no struggle, there would be no me.”
What does Stringz EMB envision for your future in music? What do you hope to be doing more of and less of?
As an artist, my intention is to become a household name. I’m currently in the favorite list of several people, but I’m hoping for that to grow at an exponential rate. I’ll continue to give my heart and soul, so honestly, whatever is meant, will come.