Hi Emma, how are you?
Good thanks. Hope things are well with you?
Which instruments do you play?
I play a few but the main ones are guitar, bass, trumpet, some drums and keyboard/ piano as well as vocals.
What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
I do perform in a few bands as well but started my solo career back in 2001 when my manager at the time suggested I do some solo work as he was more interested in the demos I had recorded on my own than the band stuff. I personally love playing both solo and in bands.
Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live?
Yes I try to but sometimes due to other commitments I end up recording all the parts myself, but ideally I would use the musicians I gig with all the time
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Pop/ country/ indie pop very mellow singer-songwriter stuff
What have you been up to recently?
To be completely honest this last year has been a very hard time for me a lot has gone wrong in my personal life and I have really struggled to make a living from music this year. My plan was to finish off another album 'Mend this heart' and release 'I wish you loved me' in cd format but at the moment it is only available online. At the moment I'm in the process of trying to get back on my feet again and taking my music career to the next level but like I say it has been a hard year.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
The new album should be finished later this year and I plan to gig all over the UK and possibly outside the UK very soon. I believe in rewarding those that have supported my career over the years so trying to keep my online music as free as possible and still trying to keep doing free entry gigs. I might also be joining another band as a 2nd guitarist.
Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?
From my early teens I wanted to be a performer but before then I wanted to be a vet or a cowboy
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Mainly my dad's music collection, which was a mix of country, Bowie, and Queen
How long have you played your instruments?
Played guitar for about 16-17 years. Cornet/trumpet I've played since primary school so would be twenty something years
What was your first music making experience?
I started playing cornet with my dad at home but the first time I played in public was at a talent contest while on holiday with my family it was quite nerve wracking as had a very old cornet at the time and the valves kept sticking.
What is your current equipment?
Ibanez masa electro-acoustic guitar, Ibanez electric and fender strat. On trumpet I play with a Yamaha
Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
Had lessons but have self taught myself things as I've gone along
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
I would buy quite a few different Ibanez guitars I just find them very easy to play and love the tone they have, and possibly another Fender Strat as they are beautiful guitars
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
I'm not very well organised when it comes to recording, it is more a case of desperaterly trying to get the tracks recorded before I forget the song idea. Examples of thise can be seen on my youtube channel as when my multitrker broke I resorted to keeping song vlogs (my youtube channel is emmatheelf)
Which software/recording process do you use?
Would you sign with a major record company?
yes I would but at the moment I might not make a huge amount of money but I do have a lot of freedom and get to keep 100% of what I earn therefore it would have to be worth giving that up for. I don't have to worry too much about my appearance doing things my way if I signed this would change and I'm not entirely sure how comfortable I would be about that. I have the luxury of walking onstage just as me - no stagename, no fake age, no makeup and no stage outfit just me in my scruffy clothes and I'm very comfortable with that.
Do you have any new recordings planned?
yes will be starting recording more tracks over the next few months
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
I usually produce and arrange all my own material
Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I would love to collab and have spoken with several other artists but not much has happened lately on that front. In the past I have worked with Baz applin and Keith Watson and Chris Thomson from The Bathers also produced Glasgow 2001 album/demo. I'm very keen to worth with another female singer-songwriter in the future.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Yes I do enjoy recording, have always found it quite exciting.
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
To date I don't think I have successfully captured the energy I have live in a recording but I will keep trying to get that right
Do you have any favourite tracks on your album?
Yes, My favourate tracks are Dancing on the tables and love spell from Chocolate and Red Wine. From Keeping the undesirables out album my favourite tracks is illuminate. Out of I wish You loved Me my favourite tracks are I do Remember You and Blind Spot.
Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
yes or about personal experiences of people very close to me but mainly it is my own experiences
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Easy, feels like therapy when I write songs
Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Heaps of artists I would love to collab with - any of my heros for starters esp Mary Gauthier, Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlile and Tegan and Sara.
Who are your favourite songwriters?
Mary Gauthier, Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Linda Perry, Lucinda Williams, Brandi Carlile, jill Jackson, and Tegan and Sara.
Which countries have you gigged in?
All over the UK and also gigged in Ireland
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
I would love to tour all of Europe, US and Canada
How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
I promote my music by providing free downloads on lastfm to my fans, I also have a facebook and myspace which I try to keep as up to date as I can. The main way I promote myself is to get out there and gig as hard as I can to let folks hear me live.
Do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
Yes, I am on both websites
Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
Yes, they are a great tool for unsigned artists and make it a lot easier to promote events online
With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
I honestly think that the only problem an unsigned artist faces when promoting things online using these sites if the enormous budgets that labels spend on breaking artists. Labels get their acts on the front page of a lot of sites like myspace and music mags with paid for ads no way an unsigned act with no money behind them can compete with that unless they have an ingenious way of advertising themselves for free. Any website that had the same following as fb and myspace and offered free ads to unsigned acts would have the edge in my opinion.
How do you relax?
Music is not only my job but my hobby so use it to relax. I find songwriting relaxing but also like to play classical guitar to unwind when stressed
What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Best gig would be an open air gig in Aberdeen organised by the MU I totally loved seeing such a large crowd bopping along to the band ( it was a Bad Karma gig) and the sunshine was wonderful. Was my first open air gig so have a soft spot for it.
Worst gig was one in Manchester where hardly anyone turned up and there was a leak very close to PA system and the stage was a little
bit too close to the toilets which were also leaking...not pleasant at all.
Do you get nervous before a gig- how do you calm down?
I do sometimes get nervous if there is a huge crowd but most of the time I'm pretty calm before a gig or excited as I still get a buzz out of performing
What else do you do apart from being a singer/songwriter?
At the moment it is the only thing I do for a living and sometimes I teach beginners guitar and trumpet privately
Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
I am working full time as a musician have been since AUG 2007 which is great apart from would like to be earning a bit more to get by.
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Yes but only in indie films
Is there something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
I'd love to play either bass or guitar in a touring band as do enjoy playing in other people's projects