What does the earth have to say? This is what Emma Gale tells us in her debut single, written and released during lockdown…
Turning a negative into a positive, the lockdown has served as inspiration for Emma Gale, who has written and released her debut single during this time. ‘Let’s See What The Earth Has To Say’, a song about lockdown written in lockdown, speaks about all the things that become clear when everything is uncertain. Or when everything, “stops for a moment”, as the song says. Really deep lyrics to express the important things that matter in life.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I’m from Weymouth but I was originally brought up in Essex. My grandparents lived in Portland but I moved down to Dorset around 20 years ago. In that time, I’ve been in bands in Dorset, and all my music has been based around here.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WANTED TO BE A SINGER?
When I was about three. I always wanted to sing, so when I was like in my early teens I did something like the ‘gang show’ in Essex, where I come from, and that was the Scout movement. That was my first taste of being on the stage.
Then I joined a local dramatic group and I did some shows and musicals when I was very young. I didn’t get into a band until I was 25; I started off as a backing singer in Cambridge for a covers band. Then I moved down here and set up my own band.
IS BEING A SINGER A FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME JOB?
It’s a part-time job. I’ve also had a full-time job and studied over the years, too. In fact, I did a Masters in songwriting last year and I’m starting a Ph.D. in September at Birmingham University, so that’s really exciting.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LOVE OF WHAT YOU DO?
I think it started with my uncle Tim. He is a blues guitarist and he has lived down here all his life. When I was very young I used to go and see him playing with his band and that kind of inspired me to want to be in bands myself. I do come from a kind of musical background — some of my cousins are also musicians.
WHO ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONAL FIGURES FROM THE WORLD OF MUSIC?
In terms of somebody famous, I would have to say Gilbert O’Sullivan. When I was very young, he was my very first favourite songwriter. I always loved the songs that he had written. Other inspirational figures for me include Sheryl Crow, Suzanne Vega, and Pink.
HAVE YOU BEEN PRODUCTIVE DURING LOCKDOWN?
Yes — I wrote and launched the song “Let’s See What the Earth Has to Say” — my debut single. In just one week, we got it all done — recorded it and released it.
Over the last few months, I realised we don’t need the things that we think we need, which is a line in the song. But for me personally, it was a chance to reflect on my life and for me to be grateful for a lot of things. And in a personal area, I managed to organise my routine — home shopping, getting healthier, and walking every day.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND “LET’S SEE WHAT THE EARTH HAS TO SAY”?
I went off to the US to a songwriting camp in March, but my friends and I came home a week earlier than planned because lockdown had started. We had to essentially escape on the last plane out because the borders were closing.
At the same time, I’m a member of an Internet group where you have to write songs every week and I hadn’t written any songs for ages. So I was really determined, because I’d been away in the songwriting course, and we had a jam session and I was really inspired by that.
Essentially what was happening was that we were being locked inside our houses and not being allowed to go outside, and, because of that, the world and nature were looking really good. The sky was bluer and the animals were happier.
All those things inspired me, and actually, we didn’t really know and we still don’t know what’s going on. Nothing like this has ever happened to us in the world, so all of those things come out in the song. Also, some schools have been in touch with me, wanting to teach my song to children for them to realise these same things.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT MUSIC INDUSTRY?
I’m a lyricist first of all. To me, it’s all about making lyrics count and making people fall in love with your words. And I think that’s why people like my songs — because the words are important. The music industry is pretty much tied up and it’s very difficult to have your own space unless you have the backing of labels and agents.
I haven’t got a big budget like Sony or the other big labels, so it’s really difficult for somebody to break into the industry. So for me to get as far as I have done with my little song, I’ve done really well considering. I had 100,000 views on Facebook with this song; I’ve got about 6,000 views on YouTube; and I’ve sold probably less than 50 copies. I think what it’s done is showed me how challenging the music industry really is.
However, I think whilst the Internet has done amazing things, I also believe COVID-19 has kind of lowered the bar. Everyone now is in the same position. And I think a lot of people would have been seriously depressed if we hadn’t had music with us over the last few months.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT?
I had an album due to come out this year, but this little single has kind of put a spanner in the works. Now I need to review the album idea and see what we’re going to do with that; see which way we’re going to go.
Also, in the Ph.D. I’m starting in September I’m going to be interviewing lots of songwriters. Doing a lot of research into why people write songs and what they get from it. Obviously I want to write more songs, and I’m hoping to do a follow-up for the single, so it’s all quite exciting really.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED WITH YOUR PROJECTS?
I’ve got my husband Pete Kirkbride, who I’m learning to play the ukulele from. I did write the song myself but he played the ukulele. The guy that produced it who managed to get it done in a couple of days was Chris Pepper. Nick Newark did the animation video for the song, and he’s based up in Cambridge. Also, Boo Hewerdine was like my executive producer, who managed distribution and did all of the things to get the single physically out. And then there’s one other person called David Bailey, who gave me the motivation to get the song released and I might not have done it if it hadn’t been for him.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM OR END GOAL?
I’d love to be writing songs for other people and hear my songs on all the major radio stations.
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