This country may be going down the shitter at the moment, but one thing we have a proud history of is female singer-songwriters. Emma McGrath is one such heroine, writing since the age of 12, lauded through her teens, and re-emerging aged 18 to deliver the stunning Love You Better. It’s a gorgeous and delicately plucked song that reveals a lot about its writer, who we decided to find out more about below…
First musical memory?
It’s not really a memory but we have a picture up at home and I must be about 4 or 5 holding my Dad’s Fender looking like I’m rocking out to something. It just makes me smile every time I see it!
First album you ever bought?
It was The Staves after I went to see them play in London. It was really amazing watching them play.
Describe your vibe in three words (but then tell us a bit more about how Love You Better came along).
Frustrated yet optimistic. ‘Love You Better’ is a song I wrote with Jimmy Hogarth and it’s a nice one because you can view it in two different ways: “I can love you better because I’m better than that other person” or “I can love you better because in time I will grow to become a better person”. I kind of like that because when we were writing, it gave us a nice concept to talk through. I think it’s quite an accepting song, telling this person that in the long run you can love them better but that if they decide not to stay with you, you will be happy for them and let them go.
The middle 8 came quite a bit after the rest of the song and I think it gives a little glimpse into the more frustrated side of the situation. It does however maintain the key idea of not blaming anything on the person it’s aimed at and in a way it’s quite self reflecting: “Have I ever let you down?” and “Maybe I’ve been holding on”. To me that’s the great thing about a middle 8, you get to show a brief new side and emotion to the song and for me it one of my favourite parts of ‘Love You Better’.
You’ve been writing since you were 12 – what do you even write about at that age?
Someone once asked me that as if they were telling me I shouldn’t be writing the things I was writing because I hadn’t lived yet. I was like what do you expect me to write about? What I had for lunch? It’s called imagination!
But to be truthful, and I feel like everyone says this about themselves, I was a pretty strange child and I had a lot of social anxiety and all that jazz, so I think I’ve always written about situations that don’t make sense to me and I’ve always questioned myself as to why people do certain things.
My next single ‘Butterfly’ is very much about sticking up for the underdog and not putting up with BS. I’m also pretty bad at telling people if I have a problem or am going through a hard time so I think I write a lot of stuff in songs to try and get it off my chest a bit.
I’ve always written about my relationship with my Mum because we have always been up and down with each other and it’s been difficult to handle at times, so I end up writing about it. One track off of the upcoming EP release is called ‘Off The Wall’ and it’s quite openly about my relationship with my Mum and about a love that is so clearly there but just a little bit lost.
An album you would never listen to again?
Ha that’s a tricky one… a whole album? The closest I’d get to traumatic musical experiences is when my sister used to play Disney music in the kitchen on a morning and because my room is right above the kitchen it was really loud. Honestly, we had big arguments about it!
Your inspirations, musical and otherwise?
Probably the people around me that give me stuff to write about. Oasis, Banks, Missy Higgins, Butterfly Boucher, Tracy Chapman are all big favourites of mine too.
Your dream collaborations?
Tracy Chapman, although I’d probably just let her write it because that way it would be good. That and Adele because I think it would just be a laugh.
And finally: Favourite Beyonce song?
Crazy In Love… As soon as it starts I’m just like, yes!
Pre-order Emma McGrath’s EP here.