Emma Louise – Bold & Beautiful

Written by: Rachel Licciardello | September 27, 2018

Only a true artist would take the enchanting voice she’s known for and warp it into a masculine interpretation for the sake of her art. But that’s exactly what Cairns native and self-taught musician Emma Louise is – a true artist. For her newest album Lilac Everything, released last month, Emma Louise impresses with the unexpected – get ready to meet ‘Joseph’. 

As a self-taught musician from Cairns, Emma Louise blew us (and the world!) away with her ethereal voice and beguiling presence in 2016’s Supercry and her 2011 debut EP Vs Head Vs Heart which introduced her monster-hit Jungle. (That particular hit even became the soundtrack to YSL’s Black Opium perfume’s worldwide ad campaign.) Today she has more than 100 million streams to her name, and yet maintains artistic integrity despite commercial success. This latest album again demonstrates that Emma Louise’s music is as bold as it is beautiful.

Success:
Emma, you released your new album Lilac Everything mid-September, which sounds like a dude version of you! Why did you decide to drop the pitch?

Emma Louise:
When I was maybe 19, recording my first album, I heard my voice pitched down on tape and I just loved it. I called the character ‘Joseph’. I was like, “I’m gonna do a whole album like this one day.” I tried it out on this album and I was like, “Yes! That’s meant to be.”

Success:
Your voice is really pretty, it’s quite ethereal. Was it a gutsy move to drop it?

Emma Louise:
I guess so, but I didn’t think about what people were gonna think. I was just listening to my own music and listening to what it needed and wanted.

Success:
What head space were you in when you wrote this album?

Emma Louise:
I was a bit sad, and went to Mexico where I wrote most of it over about two weeks. I was going through a transitional period and going to Mexico kind of took a lot of stress and pressure off – I just got to forget about everything. Weirdly enough, that made me able to write the music. When I was actually writing it, I was drinking margaritas, smoking heaps of weed and just having a great time.

Success:
Living the artist life. What inspires you? Obviously travel, drinking and relaxation; but what really gets you going?

Emma Louise:
I think people and my emotions, and also solitude. I’m learning about myself that I really need to have solitude to write.

Success:
Are you an introvert, is that why?

Emma Louise:
Yeah, I am a massive introvert.

Success:
As a Cairns kid, how did you first get into music?

Emma Louise:
I got a guitar from my friend when I was 12, started playing it and got a thirst for it. I didn’t even know it was possible to have a career in making music or being an artist. I did about three residencies a week in Cairns throughout high school, then I moved to Brisbane and did the same there. I started busking at the West End markets and around the city and stuff – I loved it. Those times were the best, most pure, amazing times I’ve ever had with music.

Success:
Your first big hit was Jungle in 2011 (and remixed in 2013 to reach global success), but you’ve said you struggled with the spotlight.

Emma Louise:
I was just busking, doing residencies and stuff, and then Jungle happened and all of a sudden, I was doing a lot of stuff. I actually got a bit overwhelmed and questioned whether that life was for me. At one point I was like, “I’m never doing an album again!” I just wasn’t used to the pressure.

Success:
Would you say you’re more a behind-the-scenes person and so it’s been a process to get used to being on the stage?

Emma Louise:
Totally, yeah. I mean I love being on-stage, I love performing, but it’s just there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with having your name attached to something. All of the attention that you get, it connects to your identity as a person and then all of a sudden when it stops, you feel deflated. Your ego is thirsty.

Success:
You had great response from fans and critics to your first two albums, and now the third. Is there pressure to produce something as dramatic but still different again for number four?

Emma Louise:
There’s always pressure, but for me, it’s really about each song. An album is just a timeframe. I feel like when I’m not writing, I’m kind of a terrible person, so I’m trying to get into writing for other artists. I’ve never been too concerned with pursuing my own career; it’s not my everything. I just want to write and make music.

Lilac Everything is out now.

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