Acclaimed Adelaide singer-songwriter Emily Davis, is set to release her third studio album, You, Me and the Velvet Sea, on Friday, April 13. Emily will accompany the album release with an intimate launch show at Jive on Saturday, April 14.
The Upside News caught up with Emily to discuss the album and the new themes explored and introduced since her last release.
Upside: It’s your third album now and it has been 7 years since releasing your last album in 2011, what has changed in this time and how did that affect the new album?
Emily: Yes, it certainly has been a long time between drinks. After Undone was finished, I started a new musical side project called The Hushes, and put all of my songwriting efforts into this very fun bluesy trio. I wasn’t writing any solo songs, and I thought that might be it. This is why I love songwriting so much. You can go through periods of drought and then, in one evening when your flow is on and the stars align you get this wonderful rush of inspiration and you’re back on the horse! Also, there’s nothing like leaving a long-term relationship, moving house, changing jobs, travelling overseas which forms the perfect catalyst for writing new things.
Upside: How does your job as a celebrant influence your writing about love, I suppose you get to view love from a different perspective every time you go to work?
Emily: I’m certain that I’m the world’s most hopeless romantic. So becoming a celebrant was kind of a no-brainer. My job as a celebrant is really joyful, fascinating and fortifying. The insight you get into what brings people together, what they’ve shared and what they hope for is a fabulous perspective to gain while you’re at work. You also see love in other ways. The love parents have for their children, the love that a family shares. It’s incredibly special and moving.
Upside: You’ve released your latest video ‘Hold On’, and it sees you explore the theme of transformative love. How do you think most people are transformed through love and Do you see this through people in your work as well?
Emily: Yes. I was transformed by love. It made me want to become my best self. To explore who I was, and to give myself to my life in a more meaningful way. Whilst love can be a devastating experience sometimes, it is largely one of the more transformative and powerful experiences we have as humans. It makes people examine what is truly important in life. Love gives you the reason. It shows people their own strength and depth that they don’t always know they are capable of experiencing or expressing. I see this as a celebrant too. Funnily enough, I often see the vulnerability that love brings too, and how moving and important this is. There is nothing more moving than watching a big, burly manly man sob like a baby when he sees his partner walking down the aisle. True story!
Upside: For those who aren’t familiar, you have a deep connection to the sea from your early childhood, how did the connection between the sea and love come about, what is the metaphorical connection?
Emily: Ahhhh, the sea is my sanctuary. So much so that I feel uneasy in landlocked countries. Growing up as a beach kid on the Eyre Peninsula gave me an appreciation of its beauty and power. I guess this is the link between love and the sea. Sometimes the water is so inviting and calm and still and clear; other times, it is tumultuous and stormy and dramatic. Although it was an accidental metaphor and motif, the sea’s mercurial qualities and drama are a lot like love. When you think about it, the sea is constant and has the capacity to wear stone down. In this way, it makes a fine connection with love.
Upside: You say the ocean is the star of your dreams most nights, how long has this been happening for? Is it a type of lucid dreaming or something that comes to you?
Emily: I taught myself to lucid dream a few years ago and it’s a truly exceptional experience. The sea is kind of like the backdrop or sometimes the main character in most of my dreams. I dream every night, for what feels like all of the night. Its been like this for as long as I can remember.
Upside: Are these dreams always a positive spiritual experience with the ocean, or depending on your mood, can they also be haunting and dark?
Emily: My dreams are so detailed and vivid, they cover it all. Joyful, intense and magnificent, or completely terrifying and dark. I’m often impressed by the prowess my subconscious has at processing snippets from my day, or long lost memories and converting them into breath-taking cinema that I get to be a part of. I dream a lot of my dad who passed away ten years ago. These are my favourite dreams; where we converse, or we swim together like we used to when I was a kid. Waking up from those dreams is always bittersweet. Sometimes they can be quite haunting though, like when I’m peacefully minding my own business on the end of a beautiful rickety old jetty when the wind whips up, and out of nowhere an enormous tsunami is headed straight for me. Things turn fairly quickly into the apocalypse. I get a lot of inspiration for my songs from dreams, the imagery and textures and characters. Until they find a way to capture the cinema of our dreamscapes songwriting will have to do. It’s wonderful!
Emily Davis performs at Jive on Saturday, April 14
Joined by Fleur Green, Aaron Thomas and Dearly Departed