Emily plays Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh on December 16th whilst touring her latest release Sweet Kind Of Blue. She has penned and performed theme songs for BAFTA and Ivor Novello winning television dramas Wallander (starring Kenneth Branagh) and The Shadow Line as well as an entire musical score for the poignant and well-received 2015 road movie, Hector, starring Peter Mullan.
The Fountain spoke with Emily about her upcoming Edinburgh gig and her musical inspirations whilst also elaborating on the Wallander gig.
TF: Are you excited about playing in Edinburgh?
I love Edinburgh and haven’t played there in a while so really looking forward to it!
TF: What’s been your favourite gig of the tour so far?
We really enjoyed the Leaf on Bold Street in Liverpool. A rather special venue with gorgeous lighting and a great PA system. They also had a great food menu.
TF: What music did you grow up listening to, formulating your taste and interest in music?
My dad had a great record collection which had loads of classic 60s and 70s records by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Band, Carole King, Fairport Convention, you probably get the general picture. I then discovered Aretha Franklin when I was a teenager and fell head over heels in love with her incredible voice. It influenced me in a big way.
That coincided with a blues festival starting up in the small town I grew up in in the south west of Australia called Bridgetown. Suddenly every cafe, pub and street corner was alive with blues, soul and roots music. A band called The Waifs came and played at my high school during one of the festivals and when I saw them I knew that I’d like to start singing outside of my bedroom and on a stage!
TF: What inspired the name Sweet Kind Of Blue?
It was a lyric I had kicking around for ages that didn’t have a home until I started writing the song with Rick Steff, the man who played all things with keys on the record. As soon as he showed me that riff you hear at the start, the lyric suddenly sprang to mind. It ended up being the first song we recorded and it really set the tone for the four days we took to record the album live to tape. With the album’s bluesy and also ballad vibes, it seemed fitting.
TF: How did the Wallander opportunity come about?
I was playing a house concert in North London and the composer, Martin Phipps happened to be at the show. He was working on the score for Wallander but hadn’t yet found a theme tune. He asked me to come down to his studio and do a new, less-folky, recording of the song to pitch to the directors. And obviously, they felt it worked. I’m very grateful to Martin for this opportunity.
For more on Emily Barker and her upcoming tour click here.