EMMY THE GREAT+ BISHI

Emmy the Great’s debut album First Love will be re-issued on vinyl on June 14th, preceded by a UK-wide tour to mark its tenth anniversary. The album will be accompanied by new liner notes by Emmy.

It was an era of Myspace and indie-bands with strict haircuts. A handful of scratchy demos in home-made packaging began appearing around London venues, on tube seats and in between pages in second-hand bookstores. These were the first recordings by Emmy the Great, born Emma-Lee Moss. Emerging as part of the early-2000’s London singer-songwriter boom, she soon established herself as an original voice, her songs made of long, lyric-heavy stories wrapped around acoustic guitars barely played in tune.

First Love, recorded in Lancashire in the late spring of 2008 and released the following February, came to soundtrack an innocent age of early Internet. A break-up album, it channeled a young woman’s heartache through fictional vignettes, set against pastoral scenes – an imagined English landscape, green and hopeful that Moss describes as ‘the England of my dreams’. The first single, We Almost Had a Baby, told the story of a lingering connection between ex-lovers, backed by sha-lala girl-group vocals. Meanwhile, title track First Love was a homage to Leonard Cohen named for a Samuel Beckett novella – the ultimate expression of her penchant for literary allusions and the dropped names of musical heroes.

Spreading slowly through word of mouth, it eventually ranked number 7 on the New York Times Albums of the Year in 2009, earning cult status with audiences around the world. It was self-produced and self-released, setting the tone for Moss’ career, in which she has continued to defy both convention and expectation. She continues to release albums, while also working as a journalist, composer, and radio presenter. In 2017, she gave a TED talk about translating her songs into Cantonese and Mandarin.

Moss says, “During the recording, I told someone that I thought the mark of success was longevity.’If I only I could listen to it in ten years,’ I said, ‘and still feel proud.’ I can’t believe it happened.”

Emmy The Great Links: Website | Facebook | Spotify 

Watch the official music video for ‘First Love’ below:


BISHI, who was born in London of Bengali heritage, received musical training in both Hindustani and Western Classical styles. Her collaborators have included Sean Ono Lennon, Nick Knight, Julien Temple and many more, and she is the co-founder of WiTCH (The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub). Her albums are Nights at the Circus and Albion Voice.

Emmy says, “The songs on First Love were a reflection of a connection to English nature and lore that has been with me all my life, and always felt as natural as being alive. When the album was released, I was crushed to discover that some people felt the album’s themes were incongruous with my background. I often took meetings in the music industry where it was hinted to me that I might fare better with my music if it was more ‘exotic’. This left me isolated. Though I knew instinctively that these landscapes were a part of me, I didn’t want to convince other people of that.

When I heard BISHI’s Albion Voice for the first time, I discovered that I am not alone. Her work is daringly cross-cultural, yet rooted very much in the history and folklore that we both love. She proves what I wanted to say ten years ago – that we make our own definitions of what it means to be British. It does not surprise me that both BISHI and I have contributed to Nikesh Shukla’s The Good Immigrant network.

We rarely see people of colour in public talking about our connection to British nature, or history (unless it’s a debate about colonialism). But it’s not because these connections don’t exist. Listening to BISHI made me feel seen. I am so excited to be touring our music together, celebrating the distance we have come in the last decade.”

BISHI Links: SoundCloud | Facebook | Instagram

Watch the official music video for ‘Who Has Seen The Wind’ below: