The first song I listened to from Emma was her collaboration with Chris Lake ‘Carry Me Away’, and this was then followed by ‘Not Enough Time’ with Cosmic Gate and ‘Live Forever’ with Lange. And while I have listened to a lot of trance music, these are two songs that stand out.
But even though I have enjoyed her vocals and song writing abilities for many years now, I have only just taken a closer look into who she is. And after seeing that she was going to be performing in London, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more about her.
And as I have been looking for an empowered woman to interview, Emma seemed like the ideal candidate.
Few voices are as instantly recognizable as that of Australian born songstress, Emma Hewitt.
Hewitt’s haunting melodies, yearning lyrics and distinctive style have earned her a legion of passionate fans around the world as she continues to write and release music with some of the world’s most respected names in electronic dance music.
The journey began back in the Australian town of Geelong, Victoria where Emma would perform acoustically around the region through her teenage years. “Music was a form of escape for me and not something I ever consciously set out to follow as a career path. I was always inspired to ask questions; of myself as well as others and I guess over time those questions just sort of grew wings and turned into songs”.
Those songs led to an early record deal with Sony Music for her project ‘Missing Hours’. The relationship was brief, but provided Emma with an invaluable insight into the music industry setting the stage for things to come. “I was never very comfortable that first time around – I felt as though I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say and who I wanted to be with a lot of different people watching on through a microscope. The over analyzing didn’t make sense to me as I just wanted to write songs that might mean something to people – and all of a sudden these things I’d never really considered like marketing strategies and budgets became more important to the people around me. I was out walking with my brother one day and I had this epiphany and just said, ‘screw it’ – I want to burn this all down and dream it back to life the way I had imagined it. I wanted to give the songs the respect I felt they deserved”.
And dream it back to life she did. Emma’s very first EDM collaboration with UK heavyweight Chris Lake yielded the worldwide smash ‘Carry Me Away’ knocking Britney Spears out of the #1 position on the U.S Billboard Chart (Hot Dance Airplay) going on to spend over 50 weeks in the Top 100.
From there, Emma teamed up with German icons Cosmic Gate for the classic anthem ‘Not Enough Time’ and Dutch superstar DJ Dash Berlin for the mega hit, ‘Waiting’. ‘Waiting’ firmly cemented Emma Hewitt’s reputation as a serious international talent earning Hewitt many accolades including a #1 on the Global Trance Charts, #2 on the illustrious A State Of Trance Annual Countdown and an International Dance Music Award (Best Euro/HiNRG Track) at the 2010 Winter Music Conference in Miami.
A string of #1 Beatport releases followed throughout a particularly fertile period in 2010 and with a wealth on new material, a new record label in Armada Music and a desire to push the creative envelope, Hewitt undertook the extraordinary measure of producing her debut artist release as a double album project. “My only real goal with the album was to be faithful to the songs regardless of style or genre – I guess with the double sided concept, I just wanted to give as much music as I could back to whoever wanted or needed to hear it. I also wanted this album to show some of the different sides to my personality”.
Produced by Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode), ‘Burn The Sky Down’ was an instant favorite with fans around the world debuting in the Top 10 on the ITunes dance charts in seven different countries fusing electronic beats with ambient soundscapes, and live instrumentation with Hewitt’s inimitable vocal style at the fore.
The remix album features some of the world’s most respected remix artists including Armin van Buuren, Grammy nominated Morgan Page and Cosmic Gate amongst many others.
An extensive touring schedule throughout 2012 has included sold out solo performances right across the globe in over 25 countries as well as appearances on the major EDM festival circuit around the world where Hewitt is often known to leave the stage, microphone in hand, to join the revelers in the arena below.
“The energy and generosity of spirit of the people I meet everywhere I perform is what inspires me to make music and through the music, we share a bond even if we may never have met. As long as there is a single person who may find something they are looking for or a feeling they need in my music, I will continue to write for that person”.
A world away from the humble beginnings of her coastal hometown in Australia, Hewitt’s enthusiasm and relationship with her audience is something to behold and as she takes the stage, one line echoes out perfect summing up the Emma Hewitt journey so far;
“The beauty of the ride… “toria where Emma would perform acoustically around the region through her teenage years. “Music was a form of escape for me and not something I ever consciously set out to follow as a career path. I was always inspired to ask questions; of myself as well as others and I guess over time those questions just sort of grew wings and turned into songs”.
Q: How Did Your Life Begin?
A:I spent my first years in a remote and extremely beautiful area of Victoria, on a property by the banks of the Murray River. It was a really great place to be a young kid. We were always running around outside, climbing trees, fishing and playing in the mud. When I was in school my parents moved to a city called Geelong, still a country town by most standards.
My childhood was a little tougher there, I had undergone many eye operations when I was very young and I had quite severe scarring and looked a little strange. Most of the kids thought I had a glass eye and wouldn’t speak to me. It took a few years to push past that and make friends. I am grateful now to have had that experience at a young age. I think it is really character building to face those kinds of challenges early on in life.
Q: What Motivated You To Become A Singer?
A: As far as I can remember I wanted to be a singer. It was the music in my Dad’s record collection that mostly inspired me early on. The 70’s bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Pink Floyd etc. Also my Dad had a lovely voice, and listening to him strum the guitar and sing always made me want to join in. I was painfully shy back then though so it took my a while to step up and sing in front of anyone.
Q: Tell Us About How You Feel The Moment Before You Sing?
A:I usually feel excited and just super pumped to get out there!! I don’t often get nervous really, unless there has been an unusual sound issue or something at soundcheck. Before I go onstage it’s vocal warm ups for 20 mins, a quick sip of whiskey and then I am ready to go!!
Q: How Would You Describe The Experience Of Singing In Front Of Thousands Of People?
A: It is an absolute rush!! The energy you get from such a huge crowd is incredible, and It kind of becomes an energy exchange where you are buzzing from them and you give that back to them. It’s not really like anything else I have ever experienced. In dance music the crowds are all there to have a good time with their friends, and to dance and get into the music. So you can really feel that positive vibe coming from everyone.
It is quite amazing when people are singing the words to a song you wrote in your bedroom.
Q: How Did You Get Into Writing Music?
A:It scared me at first. I didn’t know where to start or how to make a song happen. I just started trying, my brother and I tried to write separately and together. We wrote some doosies. And we wrote some songs that had a little glimpse of something there in places, even if they were a bit rudimentary. It came with practice and just writing as much as we could until it started to gel.
Then we got our first publishing deal when we were about 19 after the label heard a bunch of demos we had done. They put us working together with a lot of pop writers. This was a real learning ground for us, where we really learnt to hone the songs and how to trim the fat and get to the chorus.
Q: When You Write A Song, What Is Your First Step?
A: My brother and I will usually start with a guitar or piano and start banging out a few cords or notes until we find a progression that has a spark of feeling in it, or that inspires some melodies. Usually the better progressions will start throwing melodies to you. We prefer to work this way as if the chords don’t work we keep changing them until they do.
Sometimes I am sent tracks that sound great, but the vocal melodies don’t quite fit and then I often become boxed in by the chords. Although if the chord progressions work, then I do find writing to an already produced track gives me different inspiration.
I always sing all the melodies first and get them sounding right before we start on the lyrics.
Q: In 2007 You Released Your Debut Single With Chris Lake Titled ‘Carry Me Away’ And This Reached Number One On The Billboard Hot Dance Airplay charts, How Did This Feel?
A: That was quite surreal. I didn’t expect the track to even really be released when we wrote it. I knew I loved it, but wasn’t sure what would come of the recording.
I was still in rock band world in Australia at the time, so I wasn’t really aware that this was kind of a big deal. It’s quite nice when something happens so organically and you haven’t even been consciously pushing for it.
Q: At The Beginning Of Your Career, Who Were The Most Supportive People Around You At The Time?
A: My parents have always been extremely supportive. I am lucky to be working with my brother, so we have always been in this together whether it was rock music, pop music or dance. So I have never had to feel like I am out there alone in all this.
Q: What Has Kept You Going When You Have Experienced Set Backs?
A: An unexplainable driving force within me that always pushed me and told me this is the only option, I can’t ever quit this, I have to just find another way.
Q: Where Does Your Drive And Passion Come From?
A:I am not sure really. I think anyone who has true desire to pursue a creative endeavour possibly has this same feeling, that even though you have no idea why, you just have to do this creative thing that feels like it gives reason to your life. And you can’t seem to be content or happy unless you are.
Q: Do You Believe In A Higher Power?
A: Most definitely. I believe we all hold a higher power in ourselves as well as there being many higher powers that exist beyond our dimension. I believe in manifestation, that we control our destiny, and that everything in the Universe will lead you to your path if you are serious about finding it.
Q: Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?
A: Usually from life experience, from observations, nostalgia, friends, times that I never knew but wish I did, people who were once in my life who are now strangers, the possibilities that seemed endless as a teenager and also I am inspired by the idea of people waking up and becoming more.
Q: What Do You Think Are The Most Important Elements To Being Successful?
A: Dedication, practice, hard work, goal setting, inspiration, chance and talent.
Q: What Are Your Future Plans?
A: I am currently in writing mode at the moment. I am really focused on getting some new music out there, and I am going through a really inspired patch. I always find songs come in groups, and at the moment I am in the middle of quite a large group of songs that are being finished and made ready for release. This may be an album or a bunch of collaborations and perhaps an EP. I will still be touring a lot this year, visiting some new places and revisiting some I have been to before.
I hope to branch out and reach a wider audience with music this year, and challenge myself creatively:D