Emma Saville is an evocative British singer/songwriter based between London & Sheffield, UK. Her “soulful, Latin-infused pop” has received highly positive international acclaim. Emma’s best known for her downtempo/chillout single “Be as One” produced by MinusBlue, which is on over 200 compilations worldwide. Having relaunched herself as an independent artist in December 2020, Emma is currently writing her first, much-anticipated solo album to be released throughout 2021. Emma’s music has been streamed millions of times worldwide, & her distinctive voice is still finding new fans.
Where are you based?
How long have you been making music?
A long time! I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. We often danced around our kitchen listening to everyone from Tina Turner, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Beatles and Roy Bailey. This meant I was encouraged to listen to a wide range of genres from a young age. In terms of training, I started learning clarinet at age seven, had a year of piano lessons aged nine, and then a year of guitar lessons aged 13. Additionally, I had vocal lessons for several years from age 11, I trained classically at first, and then had a year’s jazz coaching from the amazing Sheffield based singer/songwriter, Sally Doherty. Ooh and I self taught myself to play a bit of ukulele two years ago. I’d only call myself a baby musician, but being able to read music/having some understanding of music theory definitely helps with song writing.
What genre would you consider your music to be?
Soulful, Latin-infused pop
What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Because songwriting is like free therapy?! Haha. As I said above, I grew up around a lot of music, my mum is still in several choirs, and my dad’s parent’s even met playing the lead roles in the Gilbert & Sullivan operatic society! (My dad can’t sing for toffee though bless him). But I guess my music career “took off” at aged 15 when I did work experience at Red Tape Recording Studios in Sheffield, UK. The guy in charge of us was called Leigh Devlin, he had a downtempo, EDM, chill-out white-label called MinusBlue. He liked my voice and about a month later he contacted me and asked if I’d like to write songs for him. Subsequently, I wrote and recorded six songs on Minusblue’s first album, and two on the second one. So that’s how I got into music. I’ll never stop singing/songwriting, as I cannot imagine ever not liking music. I’m sure there’ll come a point when again I’ll (as I have for the majority of the last 7 years) be doing music purely for my own enjoyment, but for now I’m really enjoying recording, releasing and connecting with new talented creatives from all over the world.
What are your biggest musical influences?
In terms of my idols, I would have to say the “greats” (Aretha Franklin, Joan Armatrading, Etta James, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald etc.) have been a big influence on me. I grew up listening to them, and a lot of world music with my mum. We still dance around our kitchen to Tina Turner etc. to this day! I also love, and am definitely inspired by, contemporary artists such as India.Arie, Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, Kwabs, Emeli Sandé, Toni Braxton, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Xênia França, Luedji Luna, Pink, LP, Maxwell, Lady Gaga, Neo, Taylor Swift, Lauryn Hill, Adele, Annie Lennox, Erykah Badu, Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, Norah Jones, Philippa Hanna, to name a few. Personally, I like listening to all sorts of genres of music, from everything from soul (old and new), hip-hop, dancehall, afrobeats, jazz, drum and bass, Balkan beat, Kizomba, World, acoustic singer/songwriters, some classical, and a variety of Latin music (e.g. salsa, reggaetón, boleros, bachata, bossa nova, pagode). I think that helps me as an artist to listen to a wide range of music, as I can find inspiration from so many different areas.
Are you signed to a label or are you an independent artist?
What have been the biggest challenges in your music career?
Financial I guess, and lack of spare time to write/practice music. It is definitely harder to earn a (decent) living from music these days. Unless you’re really lucky, rare are the £10-100k+ advances from record deals. And due to streaming platforms, most people don’t buy music anymore which means most musicians put up often hundreds of £/$ per track, which often won’t be recouped. 1000 spotify streams only makes an artist a mere $3.4! And that’s if you own 100% of the royalties. Plus, as well as the direct costs of recording/producing each song, if you add up the cost of years of lessons, cost of instruments, your hourly rate of all the time you’ve spent rehearsing and writing, transport costs getting to gigs, insurance etc etc….well, you get the picture! So you definitely have to do music for the love of it. As the vast majority of musicians will never earn back what they invest into their music (unless you’re lucky enough to get a song picked up for a film, get a decent contract or sponsorship deal etc.), so you have to see it as investing in yourself and your creativity.
How many songs or albums have you released to date?
I’m best known for my chillout/downtempo single, ‘Be as One’. Produced by MinusBlue, the original song and several remixes are on over 200 compilations worldwide with over five million combined streams on YouTube and several million on Spotify, which is pretty bonkers! This highly successful track and five others (‘Ocean Sky’, ‘Close Your Eyes’, ‘Souvenir’, ‘Sweet Harmony’ and ‘In Your Arms’) were incorporated into MinusBlue’s first album, Clear Blue Eyes. The album went on to feature highly in many downtempo charts and has been successful on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube, with millions of streams to date. Clear Blue Eyes was signed by Mustard Music Publishing Ltd in 2012 and is available from Apple Music / iTunes, Amazon and other outlets. The second MinusBlue album, Living Life in Phases was signed to Seamless Recordings and released in March 2013. On this album I wrote and sang ‘Breathe’ and ‘Watching the Sky’. Songwriting/recording 8 songs for Minusblue provided me with a great platform from which to launch my independent music. On December 8th, 2020, I released “Out The Door”, the debut soul/big band jazz single with CCBeats, a producer in the States. This was my first single as an independent artist. It meant before “Out The Door,” I’d never had to deal with trying to raise publicity myself before, so it’s been an interesting experience pushing music myself. It’s a bit weird for me to plug/promote myself, but as they say, practice makes perfect! Following “Out The Door”, I released two singles in Brazilian Portuguese called “Saudade” and “Saudade Unplugged” in January 2021. “Saudade” means “longing, loss, desire, missing,” etc. – and is much stronger than just saying, “I miss you” in English. Then, I released “Nostalgia” on May 4th which was played on BBC Radio Sheffield and a Dutch radio show, Soulbeats. “Ontem”, another song in Brazilian Portuguese, was released on June 4th, which was about that amazing connection you can find when dancing with someone for the first time. Both “Nostalgia” and “Ontem” were produced by Pablo Dominguez, a mutual Spanish friend and incredibly talented musician and composer. I’ve been so blessed by hearing all the positive feedback from around the world, and feel lucky that people seem to be enjoying and connecting with my music.
Can you tell us a few things about your latest release?
My new single “Love wasn’t Enough” can now be pre-saved and will be released on July 15th! “Love wasn’t Enough” is about my decision to break up with my ex, for various different reasons, even though we both wanted in many ways to make it work, love simply was not enough. Another friend and talented local musician, Stephen Donoghue is playing cello again (as he did on “Nostalgia”), which really takes the track to a different level.
Any plans for new music or upcoming projects we should know about?
Yes! I have five other singles in the mix. I’ll be posting release dates on my Instagram and Facebook @emmasavillemusic. I am currently writing my first, solo album to be released gradually throughout 2021. Thanks so much for having me.