Butter-wouldn’t-melt folk princess she may be, but Emma Lee-Moss’s headstrong lyrics and well-formed melodies, delivered as Emmy The Great, make her a force to reckon with.
“Do you mind if I eat while we talk?” she asks politely, grabbing an apple. “I think I’ve only had this piece of bread all day.” Taking in her lithe frame and somewhat subdued manner that’s not hard to believe, though we can assure our readers Emmy’s not harbouring some secret eating disorder. Rather she’s been one busy bee, with her album ‘First Love’ (REVIEW) out earlier this year, a full-on festival schedule ahead and a part time job at a children’s clothing boutique to “make some extra cash before I go to Glastonbury”. Every day is a hectic one.
But what’s all the fuss about? Who is this Emmy, and why is she so great? Born Emma Lee-Moss in Hong Kong, subsequently moving to the UK at the age of twelve, the petite singer-songwriter began performing while studying music at London’s University of Westminster. She sent a demo out as part of her final project, put some songs online and, four years later, released her acclaimed debut album.
The four-year journey of touring, recording and releasing 7”s may have been shorter had Emma not been so talented in other areas, most notably as a music journalist. “I think if I wasn’t a musician, I would definitely be a writer,” she says, taking another firm bite of her golden delicious. “I now spend about 50 per cent writing songs and 50 per cent writing for other people. I’ve just written the full content for a website on this Radio 4 show called ‘The Museum of Curiosity’. The subjects range from the urge to press red buttons to mountains in Iceland. And I’m really interested in science.”
At the end of the day, though, she prefers writing songs; perhaps because they are so personal to her. “Someone will offend me and I’ll just sigh, but then months later I write a horrible song that then goes on the radio – the only reason I started writing songs is because I can’t say anything to people’s face.” You can certainly see how this can be tricky with songs such as ‘We Almost Had A Baby’, but it can be positive too: ‘Museum Island’ on the new album is about a friend who means a lot to Emmy.
If you want to find out what happened to the baby and what went down on Museum Island, catch Emmy The Great at Glastonbury, Indietracks, Secret Garden and the Big Chill festivals this summer; click to our festivals section HERE. ‘First Love’ is out now, and you can find Emmy on MySpace HERE.
Words: Pavla Kopecna