Emma Louise returns to WA in the New Year to perform at Southbound. KRISSI WEISS checks in.
Emma Louise Lobb combines grace with a sprinkling of gawk, charm with an edge of nervousness and maturity with lashings of youthful exuberance. Her musical talent is counterbalanced by nothing more than even more musical talent – but as for the rest of what makes up the singer-songwriter, she is contradictory enough to remind us she is indeed human.
Emma Louise’s debut album, Vs Head Vs Heart, arrived after a massive two years of anticipation that grew from the very first moment our ears were blessed with the melodic charm of Jungle. While the hit single and album have remained firm favourites for most of the year, she put them to bed (in a way) recently with a theatre tour – her final for 2013.
The past few years have been massive for Lobb and while many may have drowned under the weight of expectation, she seems to be surviving well. Although it might look like the young Lobb has had an enviable adolescence, she has in a sense grown up in the indie spotlight. Success came swiftly and at a time when most people are still attempting to get to know themselves – let alone sell that person to a global audience.
“I’m always really grateful for what I get to do – but I wasn’t at the beginning,” she admits. “In the beginning it scared me. You know, I went from just being at home every day and just… I used to make money by busking and pretty much the rest of the time I was just smoking and enjoying all this free time. So in the beginning when it all started to happen it was a bit like, ‘What the fuck is happening?’ But then I stopped smoking and started realising, ‘I’m so lucky to be doing this’.”
Since being the ‘it’ girl at Brisbane’s Bigsound conference in 2011, Emma Louise grew very accustomed to the showcase lifestyle. Her theatre tour saw Emma Louise playing some of the country’s most illustrious venues, they were still ultimately quite intimate. “I accept the music industry; I know what it is and how it works. I’ve had a lot of gigs where there are the business people and I’m the product and in my mind I try to keep it very separate. I guess really though I’m just lucky that there are people there anyway; while ever there are people there I’m stoked … I definitely like the more intimate gigs, though, because you notice the small details, I feel like I can really wrap around everyone in the room.”
Reconciling the music industry’s needs with her own has been and will continue to be the key to Lobb’s success – that and her impeccable songwriting. “To me, if a song feels really personal to write, that’s good and it helps me to work things out. If it becomes a product that’s fine because I’m pretty lucky, really, that I can have a way to deal with my emotions and have that be a job. I’m very aware of who I work with and I surround myself with people who know what music means to me. I feel like I’m on my own journey and not being pushed around.”
Emma Louise plays Southbound, happening Friday-Saturday, January 3-4, at Sir Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton.
Get your tickets here.