Originally from Melbourne’s outer suburbs chanteuse Emilee South now chases the summer between St Tropez in the south of France, Hawaii and Melbourne’s inner city. She’ll be back in Bendigo on 22 February to play at The Rifle Brigade in 2015’s first Bendigo Blues and Roots Musical Festival showcase. And she’s looking forward to it.
“The music scene in Bendigo is amazing! I was first in town for the Blues & Roots Festival last year, and again recently for a show with Alawishus Jones & the Outright Lies. The audiences are so attentive and supportive … it all, so clearly, comes from a place of passion and love for music and community. And, damn, that clear blue sky is beeee-autiful away from the city!”
“How did you get into music?” I asked her. “I’ve been singing since I was a little girl, but was always overwhelmingly shy to do it in front of anyone. After a few unsuccessful attempts I picked up the guitar again when I was about 16, and it basically took over my whole life. Originally I wanted to be a shredding lead guitarist in a rock band, then a few years later I started singing and writing my own songs. Nothing makes me happier.”
Emilee’s debut EP Aloha, Au Revoir came out in April last year. She regularly plays Down The Ala Wai and Wedding Bells from the EP and has recently added a new song, Howl to her set as a well as a Tom Waits cover, Goin’ Out West.
I’m always interested in artists’ favourite artists. Emilee’s are a mix of what I kind of expected and a couple of surprises: “Tom Waits is one of my all-time faves! There’s something about the grit and the beauty in his music that gets me low down in the belly. I also love Edith Piaf, Patsy Cline, Elvis, Roy Orbison. Old blues legends like Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howlin’ Wolf as well. C.W. Stoneking, Tune-Yards and Beyoncé are on pretty high rotation for me right now, too.”
I’m not sure if we can compete with Hawaii here in Bendigo but I hope Emilee gets that clear blue sky at The Rifle in February.