22-year old London newcomer Emma Bradley delivers raw emotion with an air of true beauty. The singer-songwriter's intimate and tender lyricism met with transcendent atmospheres built upon exquisitely impeccably delivered, ethereal vocals makes for hauntingly sublime listening.
On Wednesday 11th August, Emma will release her four-track debut EP, 'Perfumed By You'. In celebration of the news, and new single 'Malibu', we caught up with Emma to learn about the path that led her to a career in music, the film scores she takes her influence from and all things 'Perfumed By You'.
Hello! You’ve just announced your debut EP, ‘Perfumed By You’ - how are you feeling about getting that body of work out into the world?
Hey! Oh my goodness I am so so excited! It's truly such a dream come true of mine to have created a body of work like this. It is such a personal project and I feel like each song represents a different side of me, so I am so proud to be putting out something that is so true to who I am! That being said it is such a vulnerable collection of songs, even the more upbeat ones are still super honest and personal so that is definitely slightly daunting, but at the end of the day I think that's what's so cool and special about making music. So I'm embracing that side of it! Feeling all of the things!
The second single from the EP, ‘Malibu’ has an almost cinematic atmosphere to it, would you say that it’s a good representation of what’s to come?
Definitely! I love creating music that feels super atmospheric and cinematic, I think it's a big part of how I write and a huge part of who I am as an artist. I am really inspired by film music and I think that definitely comes across on the EP, especially Malibu. I really wanted that song to feel like something that could play in a film or at least live in that world of music. I feel really naturally drawn to cinematic sound worlds and orchestral / acoustic instruments, and I think that really influences how I write. So yes, definitely more cinematic pop songs to come!
There’s an incredibly personal feel to your lyricism - do you think you’ve learned anything about yourself through your songwriting?
Absolutely. My first instinct when I feel absolutely anything or if something happens to me is to go and sit at the piano or with my guitar, without fail. It's kind of like a therapy for me and there's nothing more cathartic than writing a song that perfectly captures how you feel or what you want to say about a specific situation. A lot of the time I will just sit and play piano and sing over it, just random words until something clicks or makes sense. Sometimes I don't know what I'm writing about or how I'm actually feeling until I've finished writing it and I'm like... oh yep that makes sense. It's like a way of processing things for me I guess. Even if the song doesn't turn out good, I still like to go through the motions of writing it because I always learn something - it's like musical journalling I guess?!
Talk us through your musical journey so far, you’re only 22 - when did you realise a career in music was something you wanted to pursue?
It's really absurd to think about now, but as a child I hated music. So much so that I used to sit out of music lessons, which is so dramatic from a 9 year old haha. One day I started liking singing, but secretly. So it was a big shock for my parents when we were at a local fair with a music competition and I just decided I was going to get up and sing in front of all these people. I ended up winning it (to my parents disbelief, they now admit they were worried I was going to embarrass myself because 'I didn't sing and couldn't sing'). After that I remember stealing my brother's guitar and beginning to teach myself how to play. I then started writing my own music and just realised really quickly that it was all I wanted to do. I feel like from that point onwards there was never a doubt in my mind that it was something I wanted to pursue.
Your initial inspiration came from film scores, right? Is that still the case, or are you finding your influences are expanding as you get older?
Yes! Film scores are the reason I can play piano; I was completely obsessed with the scores from Amelie, Edward Scissorhands and anything by John Williams. I would just sit at the piano for hours on end and listen to them on repeat until I could play them, which in retrospect is maybe a weird way to learn piano haha. As I get older I am still super inspired by film scores, but also just films in general. I've written a few songs recently that are based on films, which is so much fun. I love the story telling aspect of writing a song from the point of view of a character that is so different from me and has totally different experiences to me.
If you were able to create the score for any film, which would it be?
If I could write the music for a Tim Burton film... that would be a dream. I just love that entire world.
You’re from London, where are your favourite places to hang out when it comes to discovering new music?
Growing up I went to a lot of open mics, whether to watch friends or to play myself. I really love them, they're just really low-key and relaxed environments to share music and meet other musicians. So those are probably my favourite places to go and hang out. I also love a little jazz club situation - that's always good vibes.
Speaking of new music, who are some fellow upcoming artists you’re a fan of at the moment?
There are so many amazing new artists at the moment it's so so cool to see. I love Holly Humberstone - I think she just has such an interesting and unique voice and her songs are really beautiful. Also Lennon Stella - who probably has my favourite voice ever!
Beyond the EP, what’s on the cards for you as an artist?
I'm writing songs all the time and exploring my sound more, which has been really fun. I'm really excited to share more of them! I'm also really looking forward to being able to play live shows! It's been so long since I did anything like that and I feel like now I have a collection of songs that I love so much and are so me, so it'll be so cool to play them live.