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London-via-Perth based songstress Emmi has spent the past few years writing songs for the likes of Little Nikki, Leona Lewis, Bridgit Mendler and others (the list goes on), however now she is finally poised to put out her own project.
She just lit up the web with the recent release of her first single “My Kinda Swag,” it’s a smooth, soulful and utterly addictive track that has us eager for more sonic goodness.
GroundSounds recently caught up with Emmi to talk about her bright future and upcoming projects, check out the exclusive interview below.
For those just discovering Emmi, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started making music?
I learned to play the piano by ear as a kid. I loved music so much but I wanted to feel it, not learn it, and I could never quite get my stubborn brain around the mathematics of it all. I’d play these incredibly complex pieces with the sheet music in front of me but I couldn’t read a bar of it. I would just turn the page at exactly the right time to make it appear like I was following along. Eventually I started composing instrumentals. After high school, I trained full time as a dancer and then an actress. I worked solidly in theatre and TV from the age of 17. It wasn’t until I was on a show in England that I started writing songs for the first time. I was hooked. I didn’t know the first thing about music or the industry but I was determined to be in it. I left the tour, moved to a house-boat in Wiltshire, took a job in a tea house and just wrote songs. Many jobs and songs later, my music hit the ears of a publisher in Australia who offered me a deal as a songwriter. The rest is history.
What do you enjoy most about London? What is one local spot every visitor should check out?
London is a big melting pot of history and cultures and people, which makes it an incredibly inspiring place to be. My favourite thing to do is grab a take out coffee from the market on Southbank and walk along the Thames. Along there, you have the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, plenty of free events going on, buskers, an open air bookshop and gardens on rooftops! It’s buzzing. (There is also a great bar called Sushi Samba near Liverpool Street worth having a drink in. It’s high up so you can see the whole city!)
We at GroundSounds have had “My Kinda Swag” on repeat! Can you tell us about the inspiration and creative process involved with this fresh track?
Thank you so much! Now you got me all embarrassed.
‘My Kinda Swag’ was written with US wiz kid Jarrad Kritzstein. It was our first session together, but we just clicked. At the start of the session, Jarrad played a few moody chords on the piano and asked me if they were “swag enough” for me, which made me laugh. I told him they were “my kinda swag” and the rest you know.
Basically the song is a reminder to the listener that, to the people that matter, your value as a human being on this planet has nothing to do with what you do, what designers you wear or how pleasing you are to the eye and everything to do with who you are and how you affect the world around you. It’s a celebration of the good people in life.
I’ve been lucky enough to write for a really diverse range of artists all over the world. Folk bands, rockers, straight pop artists, EDM guys, rappers, you name it! I absolutely love it. And I’ve no doubt that being exposed to so many styles gave me a pretty colourful pallet to paint with when I eventually sat down to write for myself. Writing rap, for example, has definitely changed the way I use rhythm and exposed me to a whole new level of word-smithery I can now aspire to. Writing in pop has taught me the value of getting to the point. (You may have noticed I’m a little verbose:-) I am a songwriter first and foremost so I continue to write for other projects. I absolutely love collaboration. I just want to make music.
What musicians and bands are you currently listening to?
As I type this moment…Usher “Burn”. Tune. Lately, I’ve been listening to Shawn Mullins (that speaking voice!), Ch^rches, Nina Simone, Laura Mvula, Fink, Feist. A man who makes coffee at my local told me to look up the Cocteau Twins last week too and I’m loving that discovery.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
Script writing I think. I’ve actually started drafting some ideas on the side already (my plan D). I just want to tell stories. I’ve aways been drawn to the idea of occupational therapy too. I’d love to explore ways of using music to help people recover from mental and physical illness. You can grow plants on the stuff. That’s some power, right?
What’s next for Emmi? What can fans look forward to?
A video! The video for ‘My Kinda Swag’ will be out imminently. We are also planning a couple more single releases in the coming months. Exciting times indeed!