Ahead of her show at the Maltings next Friday 03 March, we spoke to Emily Maguire to find out more about her style of music, her classical music training as a child and her fascinating life experiences including a spontaneous relocation to the land down under…
For those who might not have heard your music, can you describe its sound and style?
I’m a singer-songwriter, like Suzanne Vega or Sarah McLachlan. I play mainly acoustic guitar and piano. It’s not folk and it’s not really pop either, just emotive songs about life and the world outside my window.
You were classically trained as a child. How has that training informed the style of music you make now?
I love classical music and I guess that does inform the way I write vocal melodies and music. My main aim is to make the music of my songs as beautiful as possible so that I can say what I want to say in the lyrics and people will listen. The words of my songs are really important to me.
You’ve had some fascinating life experiences including relocating to Australia for four years to live in a self-sufficient shack. Tell us more about the decision behind that move and is it something that you miss you now being back in England?
I went to Australia for a 3-week holiday and ended up staying for 4 years. It was one of the happiest times of my life, living on a beautiful farm out in the bush. The reason I went was because I was recovering from a major breakdown, the reason I stayed was because I fell in love. When we moved back to the UK after touring with Don McLean I was homesick for about 2 years.
You’ve been open about the more challenging times in your life including being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. How has it been becoming more involved with advocating mental health and has any of your music been inspired by it?
Everything I write is influenced by the way I see the world and obviously being bipolar is a major part of that. But everyone has highs and lows, we all suffer in different ways. I’ve done a lot of gigs in mental health hospitals which is challenging but hugely rewarding. My aim with my songs is always to uplift, comfort and inspire whoever hears them. If I do that, then it’s all worthwhile.
Tell us about your new album ‘A Bit of Blue’ and the inspiration behind it.
‘A Bit Of Blue’ is my fifth album and it follows a dark time in my life. I wanted these songs to be stripped bare, haunting and as beautiful as they could possibly be. I wanted to say that a bit of blue can sometimes be a good thing: it can make you think, reassess, find some freedom in this crazy world we live in.
You’re undergoing an extensive tour this summer. Is touring a highlight of the job for you?
After not being able to play my instruments for 18 months due to chronic tendonitis, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be playing and performing again. I love touring and singing songs to people, that for me is what it is all about. So I’m really looking forward to coming back to Farnham Maltings.
Emily Maguire performs in the Cellar Bar on Friday 03 March at 7.30pm. For more details and to book tickets, visit the event page.