Emmavie and her absolutely staggering voice came on my radar back in 2015 when Colin featured her collaboration with Alfa Mist "Easily, I Forget" taken off their release Epoch. The two, who actually met at university, are some of the most inspiring people in London's jazz & soul scene.
Besides her signature vocals, the London-based artist is seriously solid producer and has worked with so many talented people out there... The list is way too long for me to actually share here, but names like Barney Artist, IAMNOBODI, ROM and Sivey are just a fraction.
I had the pleasure of seeing Emmavie live a few weeks ago when she opened for Masego here in Berlin she just blew my mind. The vibe and the energy radiating from her on the stage were just... captivating. Hence, I was extremely stoked when she agreed on doing this interview with us. I hope you guys enjoy it and learn more about this absolutely talented human being.
Hi, Emmavie! What's the most random thing (or habit) about you most people (even your close friends) don't know about?
Well, truthfully, my most random habit is that I eat fruity porridge every day. It’s no secret, I’m addicted to it and all my friends know about it and think it’s weird. Sometimes I eat it twice a day and a couple weeks ago I spent a few days in Red Bull studios and their kitchen has all different kinds of oats, fruits and nuts. It was literally the best time of my life. Who am I kidding, I eat it twice a day most days.
You have this "What Emmavie Did" compilation on SoundCloud and there are 50 (!!) tracks there. You must be one of the most creative, hard-working artists I've had the pleasure to interview. What's your fuel?
I am addicted to music. Literally. Not necessarily addicted to listening to it because I get really stressed both when I hear something I don’t like and when I hear something that blows my mind.
I can’t handle either of those intense emotions very well so I shy away from listening to music all together haha! I’ve always learnt to make music through mirroring artists I admire so collaborating comes very naturally to me as I am able to get into other musicians’ space and create. So therefore, as long as there’s always a muse, I can always create.
You've worked with Soulection, played a live show with Syd, have taken part in the Red Bull Music Academy... have you already had an "a-ha" moment? Sort of "OK, wow, this actually happened – I made it" or you are one of those people who will always, always push forward?
Every day, I remind myself of how blessed I have been to have done all of these incredible things. It keeps me going and gives me all the hope I need to know that I can achieve some pretty wavey things. I am constantly looking and moving forward. As an independent artist, I’m hustling every day with no PR, no label and quite often with no money (haha!). As a result of making some cool songs, I’ve shared huge stages with the most amazing artists and been spotlighted by big brands and really important, forward-thinking labels like Soulection. I look forward to what my career is going to be like when I have a team!
In another interview, you shared your concern that London's way of not wanting something new/different when it comes to music. Has this changed over the past few years? Have the future beats/r&b genre managed to make its way in the scene over there?
It’s not London’s fault. Us music lovers are the majority and we are thirsty for something new and ground-breaking. I always ask why, as an entire nation, do we not have a UK superstar like Beyonce or The Weeknd? We definitely do have world class R&B talent here but that level of development and investment is not being made into the most talented people and not for long enough. We have a huge entertainment industry but a low risk music industry especially where it concerns black music that isn’t grime. Until that changes, the best of us will continue to be exported out to States. The future beats and R&B scene is big and buzzing here but is not mainstream.
I would love to find out what's the most profound live show you've witnessed? A concert that inspired you and motivated you to pursue music... or someone who's live performance you really learn from. I saw Solange earlier this year and that seriously blew my mind!
I've literally been to one thousand shows but of all of them, Hiatus Kaiyote gave me a complex. The level of musicianship and sheer musical genius had me watching the entire show with my mouth on the floor. I was in love and disgustingly jealous. After that show, I felt like both going to the studio and writing a thousand albums and quitting music because everything I’d ever wanted to achieve musically had just been thrown in my face in an hour and a half show. I felt blessed and useless.
I guess it goes without saying - emotions and feelings are huge inspiration and influence on any artist's music, so wanted to talk about that for a little bit. Inspired by the lyrics of your favourite track, do you believe in the faith and the fact that if 2 people are meant to be together, they will always somehow make it happen?
Love is so powerful. I believe if two people are in love and recognise their need to be together, they will go through hell and back to make it work. Fate and faith isn’t enough. Hard work pays off.
Financial viability is such a huge concern for so many artists and creative people. Do you think the state of music industry nowadays truly allows creative people to be "free" from that concern, so they can focus on making music?
The money is there and there will always be incredibly successful, well paid artists. Technology has changed the way the consumer spends and has made it easier for millions more talented people to create art and a high standard and be seen by the public. There are so many new streams of revenue, you just need to extort all of them. Labels and brands are inundated with new talent and new trends/hype daily that it’s impossible to invest in an artist’s artistry any longer than a few months before the next big star accidentally goes viral.
Today, it’s down to the artist to be undeniably talented, multifaceted and disciplined. Artists just need to focus on being world class, self-sufficient, constantly evolving and savvy to do music full time and forever.
Have you ever had a back-up plan if the music thing doesn't work out?
I thank God I practiced a number of musical and creative things that mean I am valuable enough behind the scenes to live well in music without my artistry being “famous”. Most importantly, I make music because I love it and it’s a gift. I guess music not working out isn’t a thing unless I decide to remove myself from music entirely.
What's the hardest thing you've ever had to sacrifice in the name of making music?
My girlfriend always tells me that to be with me you have to be ok with being second to my first love. I’ve lost friends.
What's your home studio setup? I bet many people would be curious to find out! Do you mind snapping a photo and walking us through it?
My set up is basic af!
Custom built gaming computer
DAW - Studio One 3
Audient id22 audio interface
Customised M Audio Sputnik microphone
Monitors - a pair of Yamaha HS7's
There's a lot of talks about not having enough female producers. Who are some of your favourite girls in the beat scene?
I was really happy when you brought up my home country Bulgaria in one of your interviews for LONDON REBELS. Do you know any artists / producers from there?
Not personally but I’m making great connections with brands out in Eastern Europe right now so I’m hoping to get out there soon and meet some!
I know you love cooking. What’s favourite recipe right now?
Steamed salmon parcels.
Fold foil into a parcel. Fill with a salmon fillet, crushed garlic, ginger, spring onion, soy sauce, chilli flakes, paprika, dried cumin and coriander, sage, rock salt and black pepper. Add a half a teaspoon of coconut oil and a tiny drizzle or olive oil. Wrap and seal. Pop in the oven and allow to steam.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life… which one would it be?
Pleasures You Like – Jon B
Besides following and listening to other producer’s music, what else do you follow in order to get inspired? Any webzines or something like this?
Stereofox, obviously! Otherwise, I listen to Soulection Radio. My girls are wavey and are constantly showing me stuff they find or I occasionally dig into the Soundcloud abyss and find some rare gems to meditate over.
Before I wrap up - may I suggest a collaboration with fwdslxsh? That would be sick!
That’s a great suggestion. I’m a fan! I met him years ago and he’s doing incredibly well now. If it’s meant to be, it will be.