Emily appeared at Purbeck this year and you would expect me to have been in the audience but I was not, our paella took too long to cook and I missed her. I was so intrigued by her write up though, described as a singer songwriter who appears with a string quartet and drums. So much so in fact that I bought her latest cd Cat Fish Bird on spec, and what a good decision that was.
The first thing that struck me about her cd was the care that had gone into the beautiful handmade cover, Emily is one of those small band of artists who produce unique works of art. The second thing I realised was that there was a rare beauty beauty to this music. She does not sound like anyone else, the music is very accessible, the lyrics are thought provoking and I have found myself listening daily to Cat Fish Bird and her other album is it? But do not take my word for it, you can download Cat Fish Bird for free, from her website (http://www.emilykraemer.co.uk/#/cat-fish-bird/4548632463).
Having listened to Cat Fish Bird a couple of times I knew I had to contact her and request an interview. She was a delight to speak to and readily agreed to be interviewed. On her website I read that she has been performing for over ten years and has released four albums, that her family play on stage with her, and prior to the last general election she was invited to the House of Lords as one of Britain’s most “up and coming musicians”. She has also composed music for tv- Britain’s Hidden Heritage.
What made you begin to compose?
Growing up in a family of musicians, surrounded by musical instruments and being compelled to play the piano, despite my lack of will to take any lessons...
What are your influences?
Lots of 60's and 70's music - The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith and more recents like Regina Spektor, Peter Broderick, Bonnie "Prince" Billie and Cathy Davey
What inspires you?
I'll probably state the obvious here by saying things like places, situations and things like that but more often than not, it just so happens that I might be really in the mood to write a song.
Which comes first lyric or tune?
A bit of both but probably the tune.
How did you start to release your own cds?
I felt so unbelievably excited when I discovered that I could record my own albums myself, and even if it sounded shit, I had the freedom to record in my own room, in my own time and on my own - using just a computer, microphone and a cheap audiocard. Now of course, everyone is doing it like that and the quality of sound that you can get is as high as a top end studio. It really is the only way to make records if you're not rich or found a label to pay for a session at Air Studios! I have never really been a fan of the plastic CD case and have always enjoyed buying albums that have something different and tangible about them (Janis Joplin "Box of Pearls" or Bob Dylan's Columbia box set) so every time I release a new album, I create a unique hand- made case that I hope people can enjoy (almost) as much as the music! None of this really answers the question! I guess I started releasing my albums by launching them in gigs and selling them or giving them away on my website.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing! There's no point in thinking like that about the past, I can only think about what I will do differently!
Any advice for someone starting out?
A very successful record producer used to rent a room in my Grandma's house and when I was 16, I gave him my CD for him to listen to and his advice was "Keep trying for 10 years and if you haven't made it in the music industry by then, do something else". That advice would have meant that I would have given up music 3 years ago and probably be in an institute suffering from depression. I think that the only things that matter are the quality of your music and the quality of your determination.
What’s in the pipeline?
My new album will be out by the end of this year or the start of the new year - I'm very excited and will keep you posted about the launch date!
If you were a colour what colour would you be and why?
Green. I'm always compelled towards green for some unknown, probably hippy reason!
I was intrigued by the statement on your website that you are a non-vegetarian, do you mean an omnivore?
For some reason a lot of people think that I'm vegetarian, perhaps because my music is a bit on the folky side?! But I love a good bit of meat though preferably not lamb.
Thank you Emily, I am already waiting for the new album and the chance to see you live. In the meantime get over to her website and do yourself a favour download Cat Fish Bird. Me? I'm going to go and order her other two albums, you can't have too much of a good thing.