EMMA MILLER is a folk singer-songwriter with a very delicate and potent touch to her tunesmithery who, as so many of us do, left for the bright lights of London – but who also had the perspicacity and vision to shut that door again and leave for another, better way.
She’s been releasing music entirely independently for three years or so now, and today she’s unveiling her debut solo EP, Set Me Down: five tracks of piano-led songwriting of absolute poise and beauty. And she’s fashioned it all back home in Elgin, Morayshire, up in the north-east of Scotland.
She’s released a video for the title track, which you can watch with us today. It’s a lovely, lovely thing; “Never gonna leave this town / Packed up and gone,” she sings, which we could interpret as that wanderlust for the big city, those endless possibilities; when in fact quite the reverse is true. It’s a theme that runs through the EP, as Emma explains.
“Although the majority of the music was written and recorded in London, I wrote ‘Low Light’ at home in Scotland fairly recently, and it seemed to embody a lot of the theme of Set Me Down“, she says.
“It’s another song about letting go and returning to the small everydayness of life, and finding peace there.
“I wrote ‘Set Me Down’ nearly two years ago when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the music industry and all that that entails. It has quite a literal meaning, really; I wanted to be wrapped up in cotton wool and gently set down, away from the hubbub and franticness of London. Funnily enough, a year later that’s just what happened.
“I left London, dropped the pretence of my music having to pay the bills and came back home to the north east of Scotland.
“Listening to the song now, it’s like hearing a small piece of my life being played out; things have come full circle in a way and I get a strong sense of peace from that.”
And you’ll find the song a cathartic release; Emma’s voice is bell-clear and graceful, coming into new strengths as the piano builds and strings add tonal warmth. You may find yourself alluding to something of that easy, relaxed confidence of the LA-era Laura Marling; in truth I’d say Emma is closer to the Joni Mitchell of Laurel Canyon – which is an awful lot harder than it looks, and which takes oceans of talent. She’s got it.
She’s been quieter over the past two years, focusing on her craft, undertaking a diploma in counselling psychology. It’s on record that “it wasn’t until Emma let go of the idea that music had to pay the bills that she fell head over heels in love with it.”
We should be glad that such a loveable talent has found that love again. She’s someone we could do with hearing an awful lot more from.
Emma Miller’s Set Me Down EP will be available from digital service providers today.