The Artist: Emilia:
The Fruits of An Education
If her Flying Colours four-song EP was her entrance test, Emilia’s full length 10-track `E’ release serves as the final exam project for the 22-year-old Toronto native who is just completing her final credits of her Bachelor of Arts degree at York University’s Honours Music Program.
“If that’s the case, what an awesome final exam” bubbles an enthusiastic Emilia, commenting on her debut record release on Gerry Young’s Current Records due out this week. “In deciding to commit four years of my life to this program, I wanted to learn the ins and outs of recording, composing, producing and performing. I wanted to sit in a class and learn how to do things the right way”.
”When I recorded the EP, I was just learning how to write, record and perform. I wrote the songs and I performed them in the studio but I didn’t have the confidence to produce the record,” she continued. “But after four years, I have so much confidence in my abilities that working with Joel Lightman, I was able to tackle the production duties also.”
A fan of classic performers like Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald and also contemporary performers like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion as well as Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5, Emilia notes that she takes all of these influences yet creates her own style and her own direction.
“It’s all a matter of progression,” explains Emilia. “People who are succeeding today like Taylor Swift and Beyonce and Rhianna have all been doing it for awhile. Yes there’s a lot of marketing involved and promotion but at the end of the day it’s all about the song. Whether you’re swinging naked on a wrecking ball or just standing in front of a mic with a guitar, it’s the quality of the song that counts.”
As for her writing experiences, Emilia admits that being a university student hasn’t presented her with all the heartbreak experiences that an Adele or Taylor Swift may have funnelled into their material but she says everyday life itself creates plenty of material ideas of its own.
“Yes I’ve though about how I need to get out and get my heart broken just so I can write about that experience. It hasn’t happened to me yet,” she laughs. “But just observing life day to day provides me with enough experiences to keep my pen and my piano busy.”
The smiling young face that adorned Emilia’s 2013 `Flying Colours’ EP has been replaced by a more poised, sophisticated young lady on the cover of her debut CD release “E” and the music inside the CD sleeve is just as sophisticated as the photograph. Think of Holly Cole or Norah Jones and you have the essence of this record’s 10 songs, co-produced by the artist and musical arranger Joel Lightman, all material written by the 22-year-old York University student. From the precise clarity of “Dizzy”, “You,You,You” and “Poison Arrow” to the upbeat dance tempo of “How I Got Over You”, and the melodic ballad “You Make Me Happy”, “E” sparkles with a maturity that belies Emilia’s young age. Working with accomplished musicians like Lightman on piano, guitarist Justin Abedin, acoustic guitarist Emile d’Eon, bassist Ross MacIntyre, percussionist Ben Riley and Howard Moore on trumpet, Emila has fashioned such a polished recording that, if there is any justice in the music industry, she should connect with an audience that appreciates a class piece of work.
Download: “The City Misses You”, “You Make Me Happy”, “Dizzy”