Emily did her first mental health hospital gig in Australia yesterday when she performed for young people and staff on the adolescent mental health ward of Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.  Together with her husband Christian Dunham on double bass, Emily sang some of her songs and talked about her own story of mental illness and recovery.

Emily is a patron of the UK mental health charity Restore and has performed many times for hospitals and groups in the UK.  For more information about her award-winning work in mental health, please see http://www.emilymaguire.com/music-for-mental-health.  If you would like to talk to Emily about performing for your hospital or group in Australia, please contact us.

Read Emily’s new blog post for World Mental Health Day.

Emily performed her first mental health hospital gig in Australia yesterday for young people and staff on the mental health ward of the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.  Together with her husband Christian playing double bass, Emily sang some of her songs and talked about her own story of mental illness and recovery.

Emily has performed for many hospitals and groups across the UK.  More information about her award-winning work in mental health can be found here: http://emilymaguire.com/music-for-mental-health/. If you would like to talk to Emily about performing for your hospital or group in Australia, please contact us.

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Yesterday I went with Christian to Brisbane and sang some of my songs for the young people on the mental health ward at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

We performed outside in a rooftop garden with a big colourful mural on one of the walls and views of the city all around.  It made me think of the mental health unit in the south-west of England I played in where the garden was a bare patch of dusty brown grass with a high wall and not a plant in sight.

People here tell me mental health services in Australia are not good but from what I’ve seen so far they are a lot better than the UK.  Here you get referred to a psychologist and psychiatrist without having to have reached the point of being either suicidal or psychotic before you get any help.

For someone like me living with bipolar disorder where the chemical imbalance in my brain sometimes feels like I’m walking a tightrope over a canyon, that early support from a mental health team can mean the difference between a blip and a full-blown crisis.

Yesterday’s gig was my first mental health hospital gig in Australia, the first of many I hope.

xx

My new obsession with growing things… as well as our veggie garden in this video, out the back of the shack I’m also growing sweet potato, watercress, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, pumpkin, watermelon, rock melon, red peppers, garlic chives, lemongrass, sage, rosemary and lavender. One of the good things about being bipolar is you don’t do things by halves :).

Emily performed at Maleny Music Festival in Australia last weekend with bass player Christian Dunham and Aussie drummer Shane Nesic – see the clip below of her song ‘If I Could See You’.  This was their first gig with Shane in 12 years since leaving Australia to perform as a duo touring the UK with Don McLean, Eric Bibb and Dr Hook among others.  Shane has toured the UK twice with Emily and Christian and performed with them in Manhattan, NYC.  He is performing with them at several local gigs in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland while work on the new album continues.  Details of these gigs can be found here.  If you want to see Emily play live, you can join her mailing list and she’ll keep you posted on dates plus news of her forthcoming sixth album.

On Saturday I played Maleny Music Festival, my first festival since moving back to Australia and our first gig back together with drummer Shane Nesic in 12 years (you can see a clip below). We really enjoyed it – thanks to everyone who came to see us. Christian and I also performed the next day in the songs for social conscience slot where I sang ‘For Free’ and ‘Woke Up’, the song Greenpeace used for their 2009 Copenhagen climate change campaign. We also performed ‘Over The Waterfall’ and ‘Start Over Again’ at the festival finale.

Spring is here and yesterday I was back in our huge veggie garden. It now takes over half an hour to water all the beds. We had Christian’s 90-year-old uncle Barney staying who took over the watering while he was here and did a proper job of it so it’s all burgeoning like mad now. I am particularly excited about my snow peas – mange tout in UK-speak – which won’t ever make it into the kitchen as I can’t stop eating them in the garden!

We’re doing a few local gigs with Shane while we’re working on the new album – Maleny Youth Festival in a couple of weeks, then a charity fundraiser for Save The Rivers, a campaign to support Urannah, part of the original homelands of the Wiri and Birri peoples of the Birri Gaba nation. At the end of September we’re doing a very special gig on the deck at Crystal Waters, a lovely permaculture commune near Conondale, and then in October performing at the Eudlo Music Nights festival. Details of all these gigs can be found on my website.

It’s early morning and the kookaburras are laughing in the trees. After the plague of white cockatoos we now have black cockatoos which usually means rain which would save me a lot of time in the garden. But for now, the sun is shining…

Hope all’s well in your world.

xx

Emily’s fifth album ‘A Bit Of Blue’  is being released in Australia at the start of September.  Described as ‘exhilarating and transformational’ (RnR Magazine), the album won critical acclaim on its UK release.  As Emily says in the sleeve notes, “This album follows a dark time in my life.  I wanted these songs to be stripped bare, haunting and as beautiful as they could possibly be”.

‘A Bit Of Blue’ was produced by Nigel Butler who has worked with major artists from k.d.lang to Robbie Williams and was one of the key producers in Simon Cowell’s X-Factor both in the UK and the US.  Nigel also produced Emily’s fourth album ‘Bird Inside A Cage’.

The first single ‘For Free’, a gentle and uplifting song of social conscience, was first played on Radio 2, the biggest radio station in the UK.  You can watch the music video here.

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…

I hope all’s well in your world.

xx