ATI Magazine spoke with Emma Blackery who has just finished embarking on her headline tour.
Q1: If you had the opportunity to get an inspiring message across to a lot of people, what would your message be?
A1: Well, I kind of do have that ability with YouTube I guess, mostly just that, whatever it is that your going through, it’s completely temporary, everything that makes you sad or is stressing you out, it will be over and there will be better times and this thing that is bugging you will stop. That’s pretty much it, I feel like that’s something people overlook all the time, were so wrapped up in things we should care about, don’t care about anything, STOP CARING, unless it’s about people that you like, just stop worrying, stop carrying about exams, and, you know all that stuff. Just stop worrying.
Q2: How did you get started with your music? And if you weren’t a musician what would you want to be doing?
A2: Well I’ve loved music since I was like three or four, listening to Micheal Jackson, Madonna, Spice Girls, Steps, S Club 7 and all that stuff and then when I was 12, Busted came out and got into Busted because I had a crush on one of them, had posters all on my wall and then I said to my dad, can I please get a guitar, please let me have a guitar and he did much to his regret because I then started playing it all day, every day for a little while anyway, when I was 12 because I wanted to be in Busted and I wanted Busted to love me, so I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12, writing my own songs since I was about thirteen/fourteen and they were a bit crap, but that’s how you start. Then I started in bands, when I was about sixteen/seventeen, started off in a crappy girl rock band, we literally just covered all American Rejects one time and that was it, then I was in a local pop punk band in Southend, then I was in another band and then they kicked me out then I was like you know what, I don’t like bands anymore I am going to go SOLO, I can’t kick myself out of my SOLO project, so I started writing my own music properly, release an EP and then started a YouTube channel to promote it which is the YouTube channel I still use, then I got into comedy and stuff, but I released my first EP when I was twenty and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Q3: What or who keeps you motivated and inspires you?
A3: I have a few inspirations, I suppose, close to home like my dad, you know like he’s my hero, I love my dad, he’s great, If I could be half the person he is then I’d be a great human but I terms of music, I suppose Paramore, you know Hayley Williams, she’s been through so much crap, she’s had so many people betray her and everything, people making up stuff about her and she still keeps going, she owns her own business, you know, she’s this massive brand, it’s admirable. Especially in terms of vocals as well, I’d say music-wise, probably Hayley Williams.
Q4: What is the most memorable experience of your life/career so far? And what have you learned from it?
A4: Probably headlining, well not headlining, imagine headlining Wembley Arena, probably on the Busted support tour, was the most surreal moment, that’s when it kind of hit me, you know, my hard work is kind of paying a little bit now, you know, I am going out in front of like 10,000 people, when I had only ever played to like a few hundred before, you know, going out there and supporting the band that got me into playing guitar, that’s a weird feeling and being friends with them and then we did the 02 Arena which is 20,000 people on the last night, the last two nights, that was probably the coolest moment, also what I just said to you about doing my first headline tour and the first night of that was 800 people but that was cooler because all of them were there for me and they knew every single word of all of my songs, they were just shouting them back, the crowd were mad, and that was the best gig I’ve ever done. That was the best feeling.
Q5: Would you go back and change anything in your journey so far? (If no, why)
A5: I think I would have done more music on my YouTube channel to start off with, I released my first EP and then I made a YouTube channel to promote a really crappy home made video, of one of the songs, which I deleted, that’s a massive regret, I wish I hadn’t deleted this crappy music video that I made. I wish I had spent between that first EP and then the next one, there was like a year and a bit, because I kind of went of music, because I started doing comedy and that’s what people liked and my boyfriend was like, you know, you like music, why aren’t you doing music, I wish I’d, you know, done more music in that time, started sooner. Wish I had started YouTube sooner, wish I’d done music sooner, but it was meant to be this way, it was meant to happen the way it did. No regrets, no Rugrats, I really want a tattoo of Phil and Lil saying No Rugrats.
Q6: In the next two years what do you ASPIRE to have done?
A6: Played some bigger shows, my goal with music at least, whether it’s two years, five years, ten years, whatever, is to headline Brixton Academy, that’s my goal. 5000, people. Some of my favorite bands, their goals, when they were starting out were to play like Brixton Academy, like Placebo’s main goal was to headline Brixton Academy and I’ve seen them play that. Even before I started my YouTube channel, I made that a goal, I wanted to play Brixton one day, I’m working my way up to it, I am playing Shepards Bush at the start of June, 4th June and that’s like 2000 people, so working my way up there, that’s the goal I want and to release a album. I want to write an album, everyone always asks me, why aren’t you doing an album, why do you keep doing EP’s and I’m like I’m not ready for an album, just not there yet, but I want to, I want to release a really good debut album, that is going to be a fucking stonker, it’s going to be a cracker, that’s what it is. I haven’t written it yet, but in my head it’s great.
Q7: How much of your life and background have influenced you to become a songwriter/musician?
A7: Like I said, I’ve been listening to music pretty much all my life, it was always on in the background in my house, my mum used to love Madonna and we used to have her greatest hits on all the time, and I used to sing along to Papa Don’t Preach and all that stuff, my dad would listen to Guns and Roses, so I always had that kind of influence and I suppose when it got to 1996 and the Spice Girls came out, I would have been four years old, so imagine being four years old and this big group of girls singing on the TV, I was obsessed with the Spice Girls and then S Club 7. I had this great big orange puffy jacket with ‘SPICE” on it and everything, I saw the film in the cinema, that was great that was and then at the end Posh is like, no not you, you and she points towards the camera and I was like *gasps* it’s me. I would say because I’ve listened to music all my life, it’s always been a big thing, it’s always been the thing that makes me happy and it always confuses me when, I don’t mean this rudely to anybody but it always confuses me when people say ‘yeah, music’s alright’ it’s just something, I’m just like, I can’t imagine living in a world where music isn’t like one of your main sources of joy. I just grew up with it and I feel like that’s what most people would say, but when you’ve got music on, especially like Michael Jackson, Madonna and stuff it’s just a complete BOP you know, on in the background all the time, you just get used to hearing it all the time and suddenly the world becomes very, very, very boring and silent when there’s no music around.
Q8: What lyrics mean the most to you and why (ones you have written and or ones you didn’t write)
A8: I’ll tell you ones that I haven’t written that mean a lot to me, there’s a song by Reliant K, who are one of my favourite bands, they have a song called Part Of It and one of their lyrics in the chorus, I think is ’When a nightmare ever does unfold, perspective is a lovely hand to hold’ and it’s really nice, when things get really shit, just look at it from the outside. As for me, I don’t know all my lyrics are great. On this new EP there are some more personal, emotional songs, like the whole of Nothing Without You is based on like a relationship I had and how that person helped me and all that stuff, so I suppose all of that song is probably the most personal or the one that’s called Instead, it’s very RAW.
Q9: If you could collaborate with anyone who would to it be and why?
A9: Paramore or Placebo because Placebo have been my favourite band for eight years, I’ve loved them since 2009, seen them like six or seven times, did an interview with them, got every album, heard every single song, so that would be cool, getting like Brian Walker to sing on track, that would be like goals, also anything to do with Paramore, simply because they shaped my sound, every since I was like fourteen/fifteen, I got into them in like 2007, they changed, they made me realise that girls can sing pop-punk and I’ve been doing that up until now, so to work with my hero’s would be great. One of my goals as a kid was to do a duet with Michael Jackson but sadly, that can’t happen.
Q10: What is the most inspiring message you have internalized in life so far?
A10: Probably something that my dad has said, but he’s said a lot of things, I’ve known him for twenty-five years. Most of the times its just things like ‘Fuck Em’ and ‘Stop Worrying about stuff’. I think throughout the years, my dad always taught me, you know, yes at the end of the day you should care what people think if you care about them, you don’t want to hurt anyone you care about, but life is way, way to short to worry about stuff, like when I had a full-time job as a waitress, I used to be terrified of being fired because I was quite grumpy because I hated my job and I used to say to my dad ‘oh what if I get fired, then I don’t have a job and when I look for another job, I have a gap on my CV and there going to ask why there’s a gap and then I’m going to have to say that I got fired, or what if they phone up this company and they say I get fired, I will never get a job again’, he said you will, it’s just a job, calm down, if you hate your job that much, just quit, stop worrying.
It’s kind of just that, stop worrying, as I’ve got older, with every day that goes by, I care less about the things that just don’t matter. When you’re a teenager, when your young, you worry so much more, you worry about what your peers think of you, you worry about what everyone thinks of you, you worry about your future. As you get closer to the grave, I say as a twenty-five-year-old, you just realize you don’t have the energy anymore, or the mental capacity to care anymore, to care what people think, so stop worrying. You have to go through a lot of worrying to get to that point, it doesn’t matter how many times, you say to someone don’t worry about it, stop worrying, you won’t take that advice, you have to find out for yourself that it’s not worth worrying about and then the people that told you that are like told you, you wasted so many years.
Q11: What is your motto in life/what do you live by?
A11: I don’t really have a motto, but I do have some standards I guess, like just be honest, that’s the only thing you can really do like if someone’s upsetting you then you know, talk to them about it, don’t bottle stuff up, bottling stuff up, does absolutely nothing, there’s always a way that you can talk to people and communicate how your feeling, without it, escalating and turning into drama. Taking someone aside and explaining how you feel and also allowing yourself to feel bad, that’s another motto, not motto but life rule, be honest, communicate with people and allow yourself to feel sad, don’t be so hard on yourself because everyone got through there own crap, that’s another thing, you never know what other people are going through, you cannot walk in another person’s shoes unless you steal their shoes, don’t steal people’s shoes, in which case that’s another one. That’s my four mottos in life.
Q12: What is currently on your playlist?
A12: It’s mostly pop stuff like Halsey, I’m really into pop right now which is kind of the direction I want to go in. The new Paramore song on there, a girl called Maggie Rodgers, her EP that she did, Now That The Light Is Fading is amazing, it’s so different, I’ve got myself on there, you have to be your own biggest fan. A band called Mista Wives, I’m really loving them, but it’s mostly Halsey and other pop stuff like Sarah Close, Oh Wonder, Tessa Violet, my friend, Indie pop is what I’m vibing right now, all about the vibes.
Q13: If you could have a song to be the soundtrack to your life what would it be and why?
A13: Oh one song to be the soundtrack to my life, I know the soundtrack to my teenage years and it would have been ‘I’m Not Okay’ by My Chemical Romance because I had that song on repeat for like five years. Literally, the CD was scratched to hell, you know, like there was almost a whole in the CD, my dad would yell at me, to stop playing the same song, but I don’t know about overall, probably a song called Battle For The Sun by Placebo, it’s about going through a lot of crap and then coming out and fighting to find the happiness. The good side of things after going through a lot of trouble, I like that song.
Q14: What are your biggest dreams? and what are your biggest fears
A14: Biggest dreams are just to get to a point, I mean I’m definitely on the way there, but I want to be able to release, my dreams in terms of music, will, always be changing, I will also want to do a different sound or play to a bigger crowd or something, but right now, my dream, like I said it’s to play to Brixton and make an album that I am really so proud of, where I can say I couldn’t have done any better.
My fears, erm let’s go with Dogs peeing on the bed, fears get real dark, I have a Phobia of Caterpillars.
Q15: What is next for you/your plans for the next year?
A15: In in the immediate future, well I have just finished writing my book, I have also just released a music video for the second single my EP Magnetised, which is out now and I am about to go on tour. I am going on tour the day after the EP is released, so not giving people much chance to learn the lyrics, but I am sure they will, they’ll do it. That’s the immediate future at once that’s all done, I can take a breather and still, some how make YouTube video’s and then go on a nice holiday to Mauritius or something or meditate somewhere, then I guess I’ve gotta write some more music.
Q16: What would your advice to be to those out there who want to live out their dreams?
A16: What’s the alternative, like what’s the alternative to not doing what you like, doing something you don’t like, why would you want to do that. A lot of people do struggle with biting the bullet, even if you fail and you have to go back to thing you didn’t want to do, at least you tried it, what is stopping you, I know that’s so cheesy, but it’s true, why would you not try and give everything your all, if it doesn’t work then that sucks, but it’s better to say, just do it, fuck it, inspiring, fuck it, fuck them, fuck it all.
Q17: Lastly, for those who don’t know where can people follow your career?
A17: Twitter, is probably the best place, my YouTube channel, that one that my life depends on, you can type my name into Spotify and give all my bops a listen.