Image © Emily Saunders via Facebook

Interview with jazz singer, Emily Saunders

Laura Stevens

London Calling spoke to acclaimed jazz singer, Emily Saunders, ahead of her album launch at St James Theatre. Outsiders Insiders has a Brazilian inspired sound and is currently in the Amazon’s Top Ten charts.

London Calling: Tell me about your performance at St James Theatre.

Emily Saunders: It’s the album launch and that’s going to be great fun – I’m really looking forward to it! It’s going to be lots of lively Brazilian instruments as well as Brazilian tunes – it’s going to be great fun.

LC: You have Brazilian influence on your music – how did you discover that?

ES: I’ve not been to Brazil and I definitely want to go! It’s very high up on my to-do list. I’ve grown up in inner London and I’ve always found it a very culturally rich place where it’s a natural thing to bump into different sounds.

It’s the kind of music that really fits with my voice and how I like to use my voice. I use my voice quite instrumentally. I started as a classical clarinettist I was always listening to jazz music, and I wanted to lean over to do jazz and then when I did make the break and decide to do so I found that style suits what I love, because it has space for really strong instrumental technique. 

LC: How has the new album been received?

ES: It’s going down brilliantly – it’s in the Amazon charts. At the moment it’s in the Top Ten! I woke up this morning to discover that!

It’s been going down really well. But also for me, it’s an aim to have artistic integrity and to write the things I want to write that’s very about me and from me.

LC: Who is creating music right now and inspiring you?

ES: I would say Christine Tobin is fantastic – she’s very individual and focused, and determined in her own sound and what she’s creating. She crosses genres in a really individual way and I think she’s fantastic.

LC: How do you create your music?

ES: I’ve written songs and composed music since dot! I don’t really know when I started. My family were all musicians so had a piano in the house and playing around on it is a natural, automatic thing to do.

I’ll either find it walking along the road and I’ll start singing a rift, or I’ll start thinking of words and it will be a poem and I’ll record them on the phone. So either I’ll start with words and I’ll add music or I’ll start with music and I’ll add words!

LC: Does the London jazz scene excite you?

ES: Yes absolutely! I think there’s a lot going on in the last few years there’s a real development in the variety of different sounds that are being created.

Emily Saunders will be live at St James Theatre on March 17. For more information click here.

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