Currently touring in support of her incredible second album, Virtue, Emmy The Great snuck away to record a couple of exclusive live session tracks for us. Her gorgeous voice and narrative lyrics have won her praise across the music press and she continues her prolific output with an upcoming Christmas album this November!
So when we saw you last we'd stolen you away for an hour or two in between your soundcheck on one of your many tourdates. Did you enjoy the tour? Were there any favourite venues or shows?
It just finished yesterday, and I'm off to New York to meet my guitarist for some more shows, so the best gig might still be to come! Overall I couldn't possibly choose. We met some really amazing crowds and had a lot of fun. We also fell in love with our support act, Stealing Sheep...
The album Virtue seems to have been immensely popular so far. I understand it's been a long time coming since your debut full length 'First Love' back in 2009. How different is your approach to writing with an album in mind - as opposed to say, one of your EPs?
It's been a while since I wrote an EP. For me an album is an act of intention, you're writing with that focus in mind. With all of our EPs, they've been more a collection of stuff I've already written, maybe not knowing what I would do with them.
The music that you write always seems to be so insightful, yet quite character based as a whole - is it easier to write under these 'guises' if you will? To be a story teller?
I like to write with other people as characters. I understand that people want to hear songs by musicians who really bare their own souls, and I've been accused of hiding behind characters, but that's just how I write. They're like little stories, or mini plays, to me, not stream of consciousness about emotions.
On the day of the session you recorded the last single 'Paper Forest' as well as 'We Almost Had A Baby' from back in 2008 - is that a particular favourite of yours when playing live?
I was into that song that week, cause I'd just played it acoustic again recently, and remembered the lyrics! I'd been playing it with full band for so long I forgot the little story at the heart of it.
As for the session itself, is the live recording an approach you're used to? Do you prefer it?
I love the process of recording, but there's something so free about playing live. You only have to do that performance once, and then it's gone. It's a beautiful thing.
Speaking of your earlier work, how did you go about first getting yourself heard? Releasing your first singles? And on that note, do you have any advice for any artists perhaps in the same position you were in - do you think it's easier now?
It's definitely easier to get your music heard! But it's harder to sustain a career. My advice is always, keep working, don't give up until you've got what you want. And if things go wrong, that's because things go wrong, get over it and move on.
I was pretty excited to read that you were doing an Christmas Album, and with Tim Wheeler too - really curious to hear what it sounds like - especially as I'm told you began writing it in the Summer? What can we expect?
We started writing it last Christmas when we were snowed in, but then we finished it in spring and summer, which was weird! Loads of sleigh bells, obviously, and lots of what I would describe as 'cheer'. It was really fun to make so I hope it'll be fun to listen to as well!
I noticed that in conjunction with the new George Harrison film you were invited to be part of a collection of covers for Mojo Magazine to coincide with the films release - did you get to choose the song you recorded? Are you a big fan of his solo work and what did you think of the film?
The film is astounding. I just watched it. Didn't love the first half, as it was just standard Beatles retrospective, but the second was just jawdropping. Really remarkable. I am a fan of George's. Though I learnt more about his various vices from the film, I really think of him as an inspirational figure, more creatively than anything else. I loved his solo stuff. We chose that song because he wrote it for John Lennon, and I wanted to sing the words he wrote for Lennon, who is a hero.
So what's up next for you - more shows? I see you have some dates across Europe - how does the touring experience differ over there? And are there more U.K shows in the New Year?
I've never toured Europe before! We'll see. Actually we've done Germany and Spain a few times. I found some very saucy things in a German service station one time.
Lastly, are there any bands or artists out there that you think we should all be keeping an ear out for?
I'm really into the new Wild Flag album!