“All the world’s a stage,” mused William Shakespeare in times past. “And all the men and women merely players.” It’s a particularly pertinent quote for Devon-born, Perth-raised, New York-based singer-songwriter Emmi who releases her new single “Drum” today. The single is the first offering from Emmi’s forthcoming concept project Players – a collection of epic pop songs inspired by the characters of Shakespeare’s plays, but repurposed for our times.
“Drum,” a cacophonous, percussion-heavy banger that gallops through life and death and is based around the witches from Macbeth opens the show. Written by Emmi and produced by BAYB (Ben Harrisson and Ibrahim Asmar), the avant-pop “Drum” bolts gothic drama onto sinister, Arca-esque beats.
But existentialism, Shakespeare and witches aside, there is a more personal meaning behind “Drum”. “This song is really a message to myself – ‘Step into the spotlight, don’t be so shy’. I’ve wasted years feeling too anxious to be myself in my work for fear of opinions of people I don’t even know. This single is me shaking that shit off and saying…’Fuck it. We may not have tomorrow. So this is me! With orchestras!”
In many ways Players is the perfect encapsulation of Emmi’s creative life so far. Signing to a film agent at the age of 19 Emmi upped sticks and headed to the UK with dreams of acting in period pieces and Shakespeare. Her first few songs were written in backstage corridors and theatre orchestra pits between shows. It wasn’t until another cast member held out the phone while on a call to a music manager that Emmi was discovered and her free fall into music began. Starting out via the songwriting-for-hire route, (with platinum selling co-writes for artists such as Little Nikki, Sonny Alven and French DJ Feder), meant that she could start to utilise the skills she’d learned from acting, (by imagining herself in someone else’s shoes), before cutting her teeth on her own material.
Emmi’s early self-released singles earned her early fans in the likes of Taylor Swift, Elton John, The Guardian, MTV, Billboard and BBC Radio 1’s Greg James. Despite the warm welcome and the demand for more releases, however, Emmi lost her way and made the unusual decision to vanish, no sooner than she had appeared… Until a chance email out of the blue asking her to perform a song co-written by JK Rowlingturned into an unlikely appearance in Rowling’s 2016 blockbuster Fantastic Beats and Where To Find Them as a CGI jazz singer. As part of that process Emmi got to go to London’s iconic Abbey Road studios to watch over scoring sessions, an experience that changed everything.
Three years later Emmi returns with a wealth of songs and stories to set free, with “Drum” proving a key song in her Players project and a fitting first taste of Emmi’s newfound sound. “It took three weeks and about seventeen rewrites, but that’s when I truly heard myself for the first time.” In four minutes, Emmi had managed to bottle everything about her character – the performer, the dramatist, the lover, the show-off – into music she could really believe in.
EMMI’S “DRUM” IS AVAILABLE NOW ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS
UK-born, Australia-raised, New York-based singer-songwriter Emmi’s early singles earned her praise from likes of Taylor Swift, Elton John, The Guardian, MTV, Billboard and BBC Radio 1’s Greg James. Her track “Sleep on It” was a top 10 Global/US Viral charts on Spotify and in 2016 she won MTV’s “Brand New Artist” honor (Australia/New Zealand). That same year she played Radio 1’s Big Weekend and found herself supporting Kygo at Brixton’s Academy 02. She has 2 platinum selling co-writes to her name – Sonny Alven’s “Our Youth,” and Feder’s “Blind”. During this same time period she also landed a movie role as a singing goblin in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Taking a pause to dig deep into inspirations, Emmi returns in 2021 with what is sure to be one of 2021’s most inventive pop albums.
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