We spoke to Emily Barker, the writer of ‘Sweet Kind Of Blue’ who plays Nottingham’s Bodega on November 25th. Barker has penned and performed theme songs for BAFTA and Ivor Novello winning television dramas Wallander (starring Kenneth Branagh) and The Shadow Line and for the movie The Keeping Room, as well as an entire musical score for the poignant and well-received 2015 road movie, Hector, starring Peter Mullan.
Would you say you prefer being in the studio recording new material or playing live shows?
For me its about cycles. I love the writing process and then getting into a studio and building a track and an album, but then it feels like a natural next step to then take those songs and share them with audiences. Its always interesting to see how the tracks evolve from recorded versions to live versions. After a year or two of performing those album tracks, I’m usually chomping at the bit to head back into a studio and lay some new ones down.
What was the first music festival you went to – as a fan or indeed as an artist?
The Bridgetown Blues Festival in Western Australia. My hometown, Bridgetown, on a regular day of the week had just 2000 people in it, but when I was a teenage, The Bridgetown Blues festival started up and suddenly the town was flooded with 20, 000 people coming to listen to roots music by international and nationally renowned touring bands and songwriters. It lit up our rural existence and inspired all us kids to pick up an instrument or a microphone. So initially as a waitress working in a cafe that had live bands playing at the festival, and then the following year as a singer.
Do you have a favourite venue/city to play live? (They don’t have to be the same!)
In the UK, I really love The Union Chapel in London and also The Band Room in Farndale – a tiny, old village hall with oodles of atmosphere.
If you had to only play festivals or headline sets for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?
Definitely headline sets! You get to have a proper, long sound check and perform for at least an hour, usually an hour and a half. Which is much more fulfilling than a quick line-check and a 45 minute set. Festivals are great though, but also have their challenges.
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
It changes all the time. Currently, if I’m solo, I’m loving playing a song off the new album called, If we forget to dance. When I’m with the full band, I’m currently loving doing the title track off the new album, Sweet Kind of Blue, and also, More!
What are your ambitions as an artist for the future?
To keep on evolving and learning the craft of songwriting. To do more composition for film and tv. To continue to tour the world, hopefully building audiences as I go along. To keep having music being able to pay the bills.
If you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you have preferred it to be?
Do right woman by Chips Moman and Dan Penn.
Photo courtesy of Sonic PR