Artist feeds us pop straight from heart
Emerge's Calen Le Couteur recently caught up with Brisbane singer/songwriter Emma Dean for a chat about music, David Bowie and her influences.
C: When did you first start performing?
I first started performing when I was two, my mum enrolled me in a dance school and I fell in love with dance. Shortly after I started learning violin at a music school in West End. I started performing from a really early age.
C: Do you have any musical influences?
I have many and they are forever changing, I was a big classical music nerd growing up. Edward Elgar was one of my classical influences, and when I was a teenager I found Tori Amos and I thought she was... I don't know, she made piano music cool and sexy. She'd sit there with her legs spread wide open and you know, hitting the keys like it was a guitar so she became my music idol when I was a teenager. I used to try to decipher her lyrics, back in the day when we actually had CDs with booklets and lyrics printed with the artwork.
C: You recently released your song 'Feed It', what is that song about?
That song is about someone who chose the darkness over the light basically, it's a conversation between myself and that person in which, I say 'if you choose to feed your darkness, then I can't be with you', and that's pretty much it.
C: How many of the instruments did you play in 'Feed It'?
That song was actually produced by my brother Tony Dean, who is a multi-instrumentalist and it was the first song that he professionally produced. I played a lot of the keyboard parts, then he added guitar and a lot of the extra layers and really gave it his own flavour. So I think of that song, along with "Fall Awake" as being collaborations between Tony and me.
C: You recently performed in a tribute for David Bowie at Brisbane's MELT festival, which sounds like an incredible experience, how was that performance for you?
That experience was wonderful, I was performing with people who I had looked up to for a very long time. Some of the best performers and vocalists in Australia as far as I'm concerned, and also some up and comers like Sahara Beck. It was an incredibly moving experience.
C: You're performing at the Brisbane Powerhouse in December, what can we expect from the show?
Some of the things I can't tell you cause they are super top secret, there's a little bit of a surprise in store for everybody. You can expect myself on the piano and violin, as well as my brother playing the drums and guitar. Also an amazing violin/viola/piano player called Richard Grantham. He will be joining me along with a physical theatre performer called Jamie Kendall, who I performed with many years ago when I was in Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre and we also toured around Australia in my performance called Emma Dean and the imaginary friends, and she played my disturbed imagination called Henry (laughs). He spent a lot of time without a shirt on, spurting glitter all over the place. There might be more of that, I don't know.
C: If you only had three words to describe your music, which three would you use?
Heartfelt, theatrical pop
Tickets are still available to Emma Dean's concert at The Brisbane Powerhouse.