New York based singer-songwriter Emma Frank is back with a fresh album which drops on September 6th. We were lucky enough to catch up with her before the big release.
In September, your new album ‘Come Back’ will be released. What can new listeners expect when they listen to it?
I’m not sure… I guess I would recommend coming to this record if you’re looking for something soothing to listen to. I think that’s a nice expectation to come into this music with.
Similarly, what can your existing fans expect? How do you feel your sound has developed compared to your previous albums?
On this record, I focused a little bit more on simplicity and a bit more traditional songwriting in terms of of verse, chorus, verse chorus. We also went in to the recording process expecting to add strings and synths after the fact, so in a way, these songs came together more slowly and because of that, feel a bit more cinematic to me. I think this listens like a folk record, and I like that.
You recently released new singles in the form of ‘I Thought’ and a cover of Wilco’s ‘Either Way’. Were you pleased with the reception to these?
It’s been said that the upcoming album will focus on heavier topics like love, lust, self-doubt, commitment and outright sadness. Can you expand on this? Did you find it difficult at times when penning the songs?
I definitely don’t find it painful to write songs. If anything, I feel a great sense of release when I get to express myself in that way. I don’t know how to write songs without getting into some of the heavier stuff – that’s what I go to songwriting for. I think ultimately, the act of making music is pretty light, pretty optimistic, so regardless of how heavy I feel when I come to write, the process of making music is so life affirming and transformative.
On another note, the track ‘Dream Team’ will feature vocalizing without lyrics, which is supposedly a fondness of yours. How did this song materialize? Would you visit this method of songwriting again?
Dream Team was actually written by my close friend Simon Millerd. He’s an amazing musician living in Montreal and he wrote this for me to sing. It’s so meditative and calming and I really love it. I personally have trouble writing music without lyrics. But I love listening to voices without words – it’s so open ended. I listen really carefully to lyrics most of the time so it’s easy for me to get distracted if I don’t relate to the words of a song. Lyricless singing is definitely something I want to do more.
Having recently moved from Montreal to Brooklyn, has the change in scenery inspired a change in how you approach song writing?
Totally, mainly in that my life has changed a lot. I felt really challenged when I moved here – I think I’ve dealt with depression for a lot of my adult life, but somehow in Montreal, I had the time at my disposal to retreat inward if I was having an episode. The rent was cheap, I could take a few days off work and not worry too much about money. But New York is different. It’s just more demanding in every single way – even just getting to work on the train can be really taxing – and when I got here, depression became much harder to manage. I went on Prozac here and that’s been pretty transformative in terms of me feeling significantly more stable all the time. Not that I don’t still have ups and downs. I absolutely do, but I feel more able to see them for what they are – ups and downs – and less likely to get stuck in a downward spiral. Feeling more stable internally has changed how I write in that I’m a bit more patient within the compositions themselves. Songwriting is really me expressing my inner voice, even things I wish my inner voice would say, or conversations I’m having inside my head. My inner voice feels more grounded than she used to and that’s definitely affected how I write.
Your new album, Come Back, is on its way in September, but what other plans do you have for the remainder of 2019?
My band and I are releasing the album in New York on September 6th at the Knitting Factory. It’s going to be such a fun show – Joanna Sternberg, Lau Noah and Jake + Abe are opening, so I’m psyched to hear all of them. Then we are coming to Europe on September 14th, performing in Paris, then London and Berlin. In early October, we’ll do a little tour of a few cities in the U.S. and Canada. Then, I’m hoping I can spend November and December doing some writing.
Emma Frank’s new album Come Back is out September 6, via Nettwerk. She plays Kansas Smitty’s, London on September 15th. For more information visit: http://emmafrankmusic.com/