Written by: Frank Iacono
The musical journey of Emma Stevens, a singer and songwriter from Guilford, Surrey, in the United Kingdom, began when she bought her first guitar at a very early age. With Emma always singing and constantly wanting to join in and play with her parents, they realized music would play a definitive role in her destiny. Desperate to learn more, she began taking piano and cello lessons, became a member of the Surrey Youth Orchestra, and involved herself with numerous music clubs both in and out of school.
Constantly writing poetry in her bedroom and creating parts on various instruments, Emma combined her two passions and discovered the art of songwriting. Later she enrolled at the Academy of Contemporary music, where she studied Guitar and Performance. This education solidified her performance and songwriting skills, and combined with her growing repertoire of musical instruments, including guitar, piano, cello, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, percussion and baritone guitar led to session and tour live-backing work.
As Emma’s skills on guitar developed, she began playing for artists and bands, including fiN., H- Boogie, and Ronit. This led her to touring worldwide with bands such as The Kooks, Mona, Feeder and Incubus. No stranger to the stage, she would often perform at arena style venues to up to 20,000 a night! This gave Emma a great deal of experience and a wonderful foundation.
With a passion for performing, and longing to release her own music, Emma decided to concentrate on her solo career as a singer and songwriter. Emma’s sound has been described as a combination of ubercatchy pop hooks, country elements and folk storytelling sensibility. Her voice is emotive, clear and effortless with an endearing country twang and an audible joyful smile.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with Emma Stevens and asking her a few questions about what first got her into music, her musical inspirations, her career, the concept behind her EPs, her debut CD release of Enchanted, and her upcoming headline tour.
The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize you wanted to be a musician and who inspired you?
Emma Stevens: I first started playing the guitar at the age of three after watching my mum. She totally inspired me.
TCS: How would you describe your musical genre and sound?
ES: I sometimes get a “British Taylor Swift” or “Female Ed Sheeran”!
TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and how did they shape your music style and song writing?
ES: I loved listening to Paul Simon, UB40, and the Dixie Chicks. My parents would play a huge range of music around the house growing up. I feel as though my music has elements of them all!
TCS: Describe for us the first time you stepped onstage to perform and tell us how does it compare to now?
ES: It was a small gig in my home town and I was terrified. I think I was about 13. I remember loving being on stage and singing my songs as I do now.
TCS: Tell us about how important your time at The Academy of Contemporary Music (UK) was for your development as a singer, songwriter, and overall performer?
ES: It was a wonderful experience. I met so many talented musicians and was inspired by some of them too. I learned so many techniques on the guitar which I put into my writing and still use today. It is also where I met Sam Whiting, my beloved best friend and guitarist.
TCS: Share with us the significance and deep meaning behind the beautiful artwork designed by your mum, whom you lost to cancer in 2012, on the 4 EPs that you’ve released?
ES: We sat down two weeks before she passed away and we thought of a way to design the artwork for my album that could also be used for my EP’s. She was amazingly talented and came up with the design so it’s like a puzzle.
TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs originally off of your October 2012 EP entitled Heart On Hand is the track called “A Place Called You” so can you share with us the meaning behind it?
ES: It’s about the most perfect summer ever with someone. You love them, but perhaps they don’t know?
TCS: How excited were you to see that the song “Riptide” was featured as the Single of the Week on iTunes?
ES: It was the most amazing news ever!!!! Literally, the support iTunes have given me has blown me away. I can’t thank them enough.
TCS: Tell us about the Korean boy band SHINee who released your song entitled “”Wowowow” on their album and it sold 100,000 copies in its first week of its release, hitting the number 1 spot?
ES: As part of my songwriting learning process, I pushed myself to write in lots of different genres and directions. I specifically wrote this song to be used for a boy band like SHINee. It’s not the sort of single that I would release myself.
TCS: Another one of my favorite songs originally off of your March 2013 EP entitled Dreaming Trees is the track called “Once” so can you share with us the meaning behind it as well as the music video?
ES: “Once” is about having been through a series of disappointing relationships and suddenly finding the “right” guy. I was lucky to work with an amazing videographer called Jarred Seng. He shot it in Australia and I shot my bit in Farnham, a town in Surrey, England (not quite as exotic)!
TCS: Describe the last time you wrote a song highlighting how it came about and describe how it turned out?
ES: I am currently writing a new song at the moment. We simply started out with the title and concept and we are hoping it turns out great!
TCS: Share with us your recent photo shoot experience in working with Rosie Hardy and Sandy Grayson from Diamond Nights?
ES: I have always wanted to work with Rosie Hardy. She’s an amazing photographer. The theme was “Enchanted” so I was lucky enough to be lent an amazing dress from Sandy at Diamond Nights and we got some lovely shots.
TCS: Could you share with us your connection with singer and songwriter Jenn Bostic, who was also featured in a previous edition of The Creative Spotlight?
ES: Jenn is a great friend of mine. Terry Wogan once played us both on his BBC Radio 2 show back-to-back and we loved each other’s music and became great friends. I just finished touring with her again at the end of 2013. Recently, we recorded a cover version together of “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran.
TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise, and appearances, etc.?
ES: I utilize a variety of ways to market my music, albums, merchandise and appearances, including:
TCS: On your website, tell us what fans of you and your music can do or learn about Emma Stevens?
ES: You can head over to EmmaStevensMusic.com now and do the following:
- Read My Blog which I update regularly about special things
- Discover My Upcoming Shows
- List To Music
- Read My Lyrics
- Watch My Videos
- Visit My Gallery
- Purchase My Merchandise
- Learn More About Me
- Contact Me
TCS: Do you plan to embark on your own headline tour in 2014?
ES: Yes, I’m doing my first official headline tour in early 2014!!!
TCS: Is there a particular venue that you’ve always wanted to play? And, what other entertainer or entertainers would you most like to have play alongside you on that stage?
TCS: During your career you’ve been very active in the United Kingdom so how would you compare audiences in Europe to the audiences in the United States from a love of music perspective?
ES: I think that everyone everywhere has a love of music. I don’t think it changes.
TCS: What do you think the world would be like if music was never invented? And, what do you think you would you be doing instead?
ES: I think the world would probably be soulless. It would be a very awful thing if music was never invented. I would probably be a mermaid.
TCS: What specific advice would you give young female artists wanting to become singers, songwriters, and/or performers?
ES: Be nice to people. Network as hard as your practice and never give up on your dream.
Song List on Enchanted (2013)
- A Place Called You
- (Teach Me to Breathe) Underwater
- Give a Little Bit
- Dreaming Trees
- This Is for You
- Party Girl
- What’s She Got?
- How to Write a Love Song
- Hey Summer!
- A Place Called You (Ballad)
Song List on Sunflower EP (2013)
Song List on Underwater EP (2013)
Song List on Dreaming Trees EP (2013)
Song List on Heart On Hand EP (2012)
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.