Girls of 2009

Emmy the Great

Emma Lee-Moss, a.k.a Emmy the Great, has been garnering a lot of attention recently with her ‘anti-folk’ tales of the darker side of love and life. With her debut album, ‘First Love’, released this month, we caught up with her before the Nottingham leg of the accompanying UK tour.

We sit down at a table strewn with cranberries. ‘That was me,’ says the Great one. ‘I don’t actually like them because they remind me of bladder infections.’ A strange way to begin any interview, but it seems like this odd statement is her way of dealing with the nerves which have come with being suddenly thrust into the limelight after years of ancillary roles working and touring with other artists including Lightspeed Champion and Jamie T. Did this experience help when writing her first solo album? “No, the writing came naturally. It’s more about learning things. Technique, experience, confidence, stuff like that.”

Emmy’s lyrics explore a lot of dark and intimate subject matter. We wondered how much of it was actually down to personal experience. ‘Quite a lot. The stories aren’t literal. But say, for example, First Love was an analogy for my entire relationship.’ This song looks back at the beginnings of a relationship since turned sour. As is typical of much of her work, it centres around a male character who acts like a complete idiot. ‘I was romanticising an aspect of my relationship which was me trying to accommodate him all the time and him not responding but it wasn’t always like that – a lot of the time it was him trying to accommodate me but I don’t fucking write about that!’ So how does the man in question feel about this portrayal? ‘We’re back together now. We do have some issues around music…’

Best change the subject… So how did she acquire her moniker? ‘It was a g-mail address. It was just like a joke. But I didn’t think I was going to be a solo artist.’ Lucky for us that she did – her captivating performance later on in the evening is of excellent quality and hints at the raw talent that, with time, could allow her to develop into a performer who lives up to her name. 

Chris Lavey and Joe Hendry

Florence and the Machine

Florence Welch’s short but eventful career has already seen her win a Brit Award and feature in the BBC’s Sound of 2009 list, all at the tender age of 22. We caught up with her and Isabella Summers from backing group the Machine, both visibly buoyed following their latest show. ‘Tonight was really good. The whole tour is going well, watching other people play is inspiring too’.

Florence got her break by singing to current manager Mairead Nash (from DJ duo Queens of Noize) in a club toilet, although she made a whole album before that called “Someone Spilled Snakebite on my Espadrille.” In her short career Florence has had a number of collaborations with high profile artists, the most fruitful being with former Test Icicle Dev Hynes. ‘When I first met him I thought he was a wanker! It was a misconception because he’s actually really shy. He’s the nicest, most talented guy in music today.’ Studio time with Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell was less successful. ‘The stuff we did together didn’t fit. Johnny is a hit maker and I’m more about telling a story’. Florence also spent time with some of the world’s biggest stars when DJing at a Versace party. ‘Jay Z started grinding on Beyonce in front of me; it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen!’

Florence’s feelings on winning the Critic’s Choice Brit Award are mixed, ‘It’s so much added pressure, I don’t deserve it.’ There are bands who she feels deserve more acclaim. She has known Milo Cordell for many years, so when he formed the Big Pink, alongside Mick Jones’s daughter Lauren, Florence invited them on tour. ‘Golden Silvers are absolutely amazing too, they make classic pop music. They’re not doing it to get girls or be cool.’

Florence has been grouped with many female singer-songwriters including Lily Allen, who Florence is a fan of: ‘her music is nothing like anyone else makes at the moment. She’s just some gnarly kid going, “fuck you I’m still here, and what?”’ There are similarities in their personalities too, which illustrate Florence’s misconceived image, ‘I know everyone thinks I’m this wacky person, but I’m not. The songs I write are about love and emotions. I’m not insane, I just feel things strongly.’

James Ballard and Mark Howard


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