Indie pick of the week: Emi McDade

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Self-described as an “acoustic singer-songwriter with soul-jazz influence,” Emi McDade has a strong and emotional voice, almost Amy Lee meets Sarah McLachlan.

Emi McDade is a soul-jazz acoustic singer from Glouchester, England. Photo/EMI MCDADE
Emi McDade is a soul-jazz acoustic singer from Glouchester, England. Photo/EMI MCDADE

Music has always been a big part of the 16-year-old’s life. Emi, who grew up in a small town near Glouchester, England, came from a family of classical musicians.

Mozart and Beethoven were celebrated in the McDade household, and her mother ran the music school in town, Beauchamp. Though Emi was home-schooled, she spent a lot of time there, and considers it a second home.

“As cliché as it sounds, music is everything,” McDade said. “Music can do powerful things – it can give you the courage to make a difficult decision, it can make you go out and tell “that person” you love them. It can make you put the past behind you and move on with your life. That, to me, is something incredible.”

On  her Youtube channel, Emi shares her own songs as well as covers. Growing up in “the middle of nowhere,” Emi has an appreciation for nature, and when she seeks inspiration for music, she heads to  her “thinking spot”– a tree stump in the woods– to ponder life.

“Every time I write a new song, I write it differently to the last,” Emi said. “It might be a phrase someone said, it might be hitting a wrong chord when I’m supposed to be practicing scales, it might be the way the sunlight shines, scattering a thousand diamonds through the sky in the morning frost, or hell, I might just be feeling hormonal and want to dwell in my own misery.”

Emi’s strong emotion is channeled into her songs, many of which deal with lost love. “Broken Lullaby” was a song she wrote taking a different angle on a break-up song, writing from the perspective of a cheater losing their love and realizing what they lost– something she had not been through but wanted to explore through a song.

Aside from that track, she said most of her other music is autobiographical, like “Do You Still Love Her,” which Emi said was “about a boy.”

Emi started playing gigs about a year ago, and mainly performed around Glouchester. Some performances include BBC Introducing, Sportbeat Festival, Tall Ships Festival, Brockfest, ‘Our Big Gig’ and Oxjam.

This year she will be extending her tour, including performances at The Fleece in Bristol on February 22 and The Wardrobe in Leeds April 20. She will also release her debut single and EP in the next couple months.

“I’d be willing to bet that most people you might ask would tell you there’s one song, maybe a few, that has gotten them through some difficult point in their life. What I strive to do is to be “that song,” even just for one person,” Emi said.

For more of Emi, check out her website, follow the singer on Twitter @emi_mcdade or like her Facebook page.

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