Emily was interviewed and performed live on ABC Sunshine Coast radio this morning, her first radio appearance since moving back to Australia. The station was the first to play her songs when her debut album ‘Stranger Place’ was released back in 2004. In the photo is Emily and Christian with DJ Annie Gaffney and Maleny Music Festival promoter Noel Gardner.
I can hear nothing but the birds. A small pink cloud hangs in the sky from the sun that has just gone down. Today on the farm we made 33 jars of marmalade from the oranges in the orchard. My arms ache from all the hours of stirring. Then back to the string arrangement I started at 6am this morning and have now nearly finished. It’s for a song very close to my heart – so close in fact it made me a bit teary just now.
The days and weeks are flying by. We’ve been back in the bush nearly 6 months now and it’s been one of the happiest, most creative times of my life. I’ve written string parts, guitar parts, keyboard parts and backing vocals for 24 songs. It will be hard, if not slightly heartbreaking, to choose which ones will make my next album. But at least the other arrangements are done and saved for someday in the future.
Our veggie garden is blooming despite the fact that it’s the middle of winter here. I’ve planted lettuces, pak choi, onions, leeks, cabbages, cauliflower, shallots, beetroot, carrots, silver beet, snow peas, rocket and spinach. I’m slightly concerned at how excited I was to be given a worm farm this week. The fact that I used to consider worms as miniature snakes to be avoided at all costs shows how far I’ve come since moving to Australia.
Christian has been baking the most amazing sourdough bread and I’ve started making cakes for the first time in my life. The chickens are still molting so they’re not laying that much but we usually get a couple of eggs a day. The orchard is still full of fruit, which the goats love to guzzle at the end of the day. The idea of being self-sufficient is quite addictive.
One thing that made me chuckle the other day was finding out my very soft acoustic guitar ballad ‘Start Over Again’ is being used in a Hollywood horror film. You never know where songs will end up but I didn’t see that coming!
I can’t wait for you to hear these new songs and to perform them for you. I’ll keep you posted on progress…
Emily’s acoustic ballad ‘Start Over Again’ (from her third album ‘Believer’) is to feature in the Hollywood movie ’47 Metres Down: Uncaged’ directed by Johannes Roberts, due for nationwide cinema release across the US in August 2019.
Emily will be performing with her band at Maleny Music Festival in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland next month. The festival takes place at the Maleny Showgrounds from Friday 30 August til Sunday 1st September. Emily will be performing in the Platypus Lounge at 2.45pm on Saturday. More info at www.malenymusicfestival.com.
Emily is taking a break from touring and is busy recording her sixth album with her producer and partner Christian Dunham in Australia. If you want to know when the new album is out and she is touring again, please join her mailing list.
In the meantime, you can follow Emily and hear all the songs from her five albums on Spotify and see photos from her life in the Australian bush on Instagram.
It’s the end of autumn here in the Obi Obi valley – the nights are drawing in and I’ve started wearing a hat and jumper. We’ve just discovered we have a rather large snake living in our ceiling, but hopefully it should be going to sleep soon for winter. I’m a bit worried it might be female and we’ll have lots of baby pythons slithering around the shack come the spring.
The seedlings in our huge veggie garden are starting to appear. We’ve only planted 3 beds for now but there are 21 other beds that need weeding and manuring with all the wonderful goat poo from the paddock. The veggie garden is about 8 times the size of our flat in Bath. The citrus orchard is full of ripe oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, kumquats, and limes. The macadamia nut trees that line the driveway have also produced a bumper harvest so we now have a large flock of very noisy white cockatoos munching away.
We’ve been working on the songs for my next album. I’ve been in my element writing string arrangements – one of my favourite things – and recording backing vocals, most of which feature a squawk from a passing white cockatoo. I have my studio in the back room where I do my meditation practice and where I can see the forest through one window and the verandah view across the valley from the other.
This weekend we are doing our first Australian gig, opening for Irish singer-songwriter Enda Kenny. The gig will be the first outing for Christian’s beautiful old double bass which we picked up in Sydney (a 14 hour drive each way).
I can’t wait for you to hear all these new songs, half of which I’ve written since we arrived here. I’ll keep you posted on the album’s progress…
At first we thought we were lucky – beautiful white cockatoos flying overhead and settling in the trees that surround our goat farm. But then they discovered our macadamia trees and the thousands of nuts on the ground. Word got round and soon we were counting fifty white cockatoos happily munching away on our driveway. The screeching and squawking starts at 5.30 in the morning and carries on until sundown. We are trying to be Buddhist about it of course but without much success. I guess patience you can only learn the hard way! They will move on eventually…
On the positive side, our shipment finally arrived having been thoroughly quarantined by Australian Customs. Having only had my acoustic guitar with me for the past 3 months, I was so delighted to have my keyboard back I immediately wrote a new song. I’m really happy with it. The trouble is my song list for my next album is getting longer and longer by the day and I don’t want to let go of any of them. Another Buddhist practice then!
Christian has now set up his studio and so once we can record something without deafening backing vocals from white cockatoos we will get to work on my new album. New songs have been pouring out of my head since we arrived in Australia and six of them will be on it. I can’t wait for you to hear them.
To celebrate World Bipolar Day, I’ve been sharing the video for ‘Over The Waterfall‘, my song about being bipolar, which I performed in Sydney last week at the awards ceremony of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders.
I wrote this song after being referred to mental health services during a severe depressive episode in 2012. When I first heard this version of the song, created by producer Nigel Butler for my album ‘Bird Inside A Cage‘, it was a turning point and I began to recover. The album was released in 2013. The video for ‘Over The Waterfall’ was made by my partner and bass player Christian Dunham. It has been shared across the world.
Just back from Sydney where I received an award for public service and advocacy from the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) and performed at their awards dinner cruise in Sydney Harbour. Thank goodness for sea-sickness pills (I am Piscean but hopeless on boats!). It was wonderful meeting so many people who work in psychiatry all around the world to help people who are bipolar like me. Thanks to Marylou Selo for the photo of me performing on the boat with my partner Christian Dunham. My award is a massive block of glass with a chunk of lithium suspended in it which thankfully I managed to get past Virgin Australia’s hand-baggage weight check.
Now after the hustle and bustle of Sydney we’re back in our ‘real world’ of trees, cattle, horses, wallabies and bellbirds up in the hills behind the Sunshine Coast. Amazing how quickly you lose your immunity to the city. It was fun but I’m so glad to be home…
Emily travelled to Sydney, Australia to attend the annual conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) and receive the 2019 Mogens Schou Award for Public Service and Advocacy in recognition of her work promoting music for mental health. The awards ceremony took place during a dinner cruise in Sydney Harbour where Emily and her partner Christian Dunham performed for the 180 guests attending. The audience was made up of leading healthcare professionals in the field of psychiatry from around the world. The photo is of Emily with renowned American psychiatrist Robert Post and mental health advocate Marylou Selo.