Emmy The Great was born Emma-Lee Moss in Hong Kong, China. Moving to London at age 12 with her family, she later released her debut album First Love in February 2009. The album was received with critical acclaim, with The New York Times ranking it as #7 of their “Best Albums of the Year.â€
Two years after her celebrated debut, Emmy The Great is set to release her second album Virtue on August 16th. Written and recorded under very different circumstances than her first, Virtue began as a series of stories Emmy embarked on after her engagement to an atheist took on a very different shape when he left her for the church. Sneaking off to hide away in the country, Emmy lost herself in books about saints, archetypes and folk tales, where she could create a world that made sense. Using symbols borrowed from fairy tales and mythology, it was this collection that she fitted to her music â€“ a genre she refers to as digital medieval. Sheâ€™d noticed that women only make it through the woods in big myths if they keep their virtue and she felt lost in the woods twice while writing the album. But she didnâ€™t want the album to be about her self-reflection- she wanted it to be about everything else: the world outside. It had to save her from what had happened.
Produced by Gareth Jones (These New Puritans, Depeche Mode and Grizzly Bear), Virtue was made in London and Sussex. Euan Hinshelwood, her long-term musical collaborator, and Emmy took the reins, rather than develop the songs with their full band in the studio. Euan came up with the guitar palette – strange, ambient, twisted and atmospheric, while Emmy wrote backing vocals for different characters she voiced herself. She wanted a cast for the album: The ghosts of the Cocteau Twins and Suzanne Vega, as well as the stories of Margaret Atwood & Angela Carter, and the writing of cultural theorists like Marina Warner.
Featuring the first single, â€œIris,â€ Virtueâ€™s 10 tracks weave a delicate web of stories and emotions that complement and counter each other. â€œDinosaur Sexâ€ begins the album, tackling the omnipotent subject of apocalyptic occurrences, â€œTo an extent I think there is always a young person terrified about the end of the world, whenever and wherever humans have got to,â€ she says. Other standout tracks include â€œCreation,â€ where Emmy confesses the reason behind the song, â€œAll creation stories give me shivers, like trying to imagine Space. I think Genesis is beautiful. I think we should sing evolution to kids,â€ and â€œTrellick Towerâ€ which beams with imagery of memories and independence.
Emmy broke onto the scene in 2007 performing as the vocalist for the indie folk group Lightspeed Champion (performing alongside Florence of Florence and the Machine), and has also written for The Stool Pigeon, Artrocker and Drowned in Sound.
Watch the video for â€œIrisâ€ here – http://vimeo.com/24107156