It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. To celebrate, we’ve made a new video for my song ‘I’d Rather Be’.

I wrote ‘I’d Rather Be’ about a year after my first psychosis when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I’d gone through all the stages of being at first completely terrified and then chronically depressed, and I was starting to feel a bit stronger.

I was starting to realise that all this energy in my head could be something precious, it could be something I could transform into creativity if I chose to.  And I was thinking when I was writing this song, we all have choices in life, and these are some of mine…

I really enjoyed my live session on Radio 2 today with the super-lovely Clare Balding. Christian played double-bass, I had my guitar and sang ‘For Free’ from my new album ‘A Bit of Blue’ and at the end, ‘Start Over Again’ from my album ‘Believer’. We talked about music, mental health and Buddhism. You can listen again here (scroll to 01:29).

Today is World Bipolar Day. I was 23 when I was diagnosed. Here is the most direct song I’ve ever written about my experiences of being bipolar. It’s from my album ‘Bird Inside A Cage’ and it’s called ‘Over The Waterfall’. You can download it from iTunes.

When I was 16 I was in a car crash which triggered a strange nervous system disorder called Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome. For the next 10 years I was in constant pain from muscle spasms all over my body. Some of the time I was on walking sticks, some of the time I was so fatigued I could barely move.

I tried everything for the pain, every treatment under the sun. Nothing helped, except diazepam (which I wasn’t allowed because of its psychotropic side-effects) and certain types of cannabis. The pain varied – sometimes it felt like a burning, sometimes spasms or cramps, sometimes a deep ache – but always moving around my body. When it stayed in one place for a few hours I thought I would go mad.

This is nothing compared to what actress Cherylee Houston deals with every day. She interviewed me for a programme on Radio 4 called ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ which was broadcast today. She wanted to explore the connection between pain and creativity.

When I got a guitar for my 21st birthday and started writing songs my illness became a complete blessing in disguise – stuck at home, unable to go to university or work, I had all this time on my hands to write. For me, the urge to write songs has always been inspired by the need to overcome and transcend pain, either physical or mental.

Millions of people live in pain. It’s good to talk about it and think about how we can possibly transcend it through creativity. You can listen again to the programme here.

xx

I was a bit star-struck meeting Dr Phil Hammond when I did a live session on his BBC Radio Bristol show yesterday morning. I saw his stand-up show at Komedia in Bath a couple of years ago and thought he was absolutely brilliant. In person he was lovely and I sang ‘For Free’ and ‘Start Over Again’ with Christian on double-bass. I’m doing a live Radio 2 session with Clare Balding on Sunday 30 April.

Thanks to everyone who came to my gig at the Cambridge Junction on Saturday night. It’s such a fantastic venue and I really enjoyed it. And thanks to Jon Hill for a very cool pic. Next up is Artrix Arts Centre in Bromsgrove on 1st April.

xx

It’s International Women’s Day and my birthday. I’m feeling immense gratitude for having had a really good year and looking forward to what’s coming next.

And next up is a gig at The Junction in Cambridge next week, followed by gigs in Bromsgrove, Bath, Helmsley (York), Penzance, Carlisle, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Newcastle, Maidenhead and Southampton (check my gigs page for dates and details).

Please do spread the word if you’ve got friends or family in any of these places – my audience is all based on word of mouth. Here’s a link to a hidden page on my website to introduce my music: http://www.emilymaguire.com/htm/introducing.htm

Finally, I’ve just posted another video in my ‘Songs From My Attic’ series. The song is the album version of my radio single ‘For Free’. Here it is…

I hope all’s well in your world.

xx

Thanks to everyone who came to my album launch at St Pancras Old Church in London last Friday. It was so lovely to see you all there.

Special thanks to Brendan Collins, Rebecca Kemp, Laurence Dyer, Simon Nilsson, Mike Garrett, Mike Watts and most of all my fabulous bass player Christian Dunham for making it a night to remember. You can see photos of the gig here.

My next gig is at Farnham Maltings in Surrey this Friday. Click here for tickets.

I am so happy to tell you that my fifth album ‘A Bit Of Blue’ is out today. I’d like to say a huge thank-you to the fans who so generously sponsored this album and made its release possible. Thank you all so much for your amazing support – we couldn’t do it without you.

I’d like to thank my producer Nigel Butler for once again transforming my raw songs into such a beautiful record. Thanks also to Pix Vane Mason in Australia for giving me the perfect place to record the vocals. And thanks to Christian Dunham as always for making it all happen.

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. I wanted to say that a bit of blue is sometimes a good thing: to make you think, reassess, find some freedom in this crazy world we live in.

I have so many things to be grateful for – most of all that tonight I’ll be playing my piano and guitar with Christian in St Pancras Old Church in London just like old times, but with new songs, new arrangements and new sounds… can’t wait.

xx

It was fab to be back for a warm-up gig at my favourite pub in the UK, the infamous Square & Compass Inn (surely the only pub with a dinosaur in the back room).

I sang my first ever song in public in this pub thanks to my great-uncle Tony Viney who said very firmly he was going home unless I took my guitar in. It was a music night.

Being a bit frightened of my great-uncle I reluctantly took it in and hid it in a corner and I thought I’d got away with it until this booming voice (my great-uncle) announced to the whole pub that EMILY IS GOING TO SING A SONG. I nearly died of embarrassment. Ah well, I’ve come a long way since then :).

The Square & Compass Inn is in Worth Matravers which is in the Isle of Purbeck which is my spiritual home and I try and do a gig there at least once a year. Well worth a visit for the beer alone… and the dinosaur of course.

Thanks to Kevin Hunt (pictured) for having us again and to everyone who packed in the room. It was a great night.

xx