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Emmy The Great

Emma-Lee Moss, as she was otherwise known, was born 4 November 1983 in Hong Kong, but later moved with her English father and Chinese mother to Oxford, England. A fan of Western rock music from an early age (SMASHING PUMPKINS, HOLE, WEEZER, et al), Moss took encouragement and inspiration from emo hunks The GET UP KIDS whilst attending and supporting JOE STRUMMER at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2006.
Not exactly bursting on to London’s folk-based scene that year, with the release of her debut single, `Secret Circus’, girly singer-songwriter Emma was immediately pinned alongside anti-folk heroine KIMYA DAWSON (ex-MOLDY PEACHES) and MARTHA WAINWRIGHT.
Augmented by main players Euan Hinshelwood, Ric Hollingbury, Pete Baker and Euan Robinson, a string of singles materialized (premiered at Glastonbury and various festivals), which led up to her debut album, FIRST LOVE (2009) {*7}. The record was graced by the aforementioned 45s, plus `We Almost Had A Baby’ and the title track, and COHEN-esque pieces `Absentee’, `Dylan’ and `24’.
June 2011 saw the release of her second set, VIRTUE {*8}, another meticulous and largely introspective work for Capitol Records that now made the UK chart lists, albeit at #84. Aided and abetted by producer Gareth Jones, the core pairing of Emma-Lee and Euan created a closeted cosmic confessional that supplanted her recent engagement break-up within metaphors and other subliminal passages like `Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)’, `Dinosaur Sex’ and `A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep’. Full of heartache and haunting (star tracks `Cassandra’ and `Trellick Tower’), listening to Moss was like re-capturing NATALIE MERCHANT at her most profound.
Love and romance restored when Emma-Lee/EMMY THE GREAT hooked up with ASH’s Tim Wheeler, no one could foresee the girl/boy-friend delicacies of the yuletide THIS IS CHRISTMAS (2011) {*6}. Not at all bad if one could imagine SHE & HIM pulling a sleigh along the wall of sounds in PHIL SPECTOR’s mind, maybe one day we’ll all be singing its praises.
Following her involvement on the Austenland soundtrack in 2013 (contributing the poppy title track among several others), EMMY THE GREAT signed to Bella Union Records for the `S’ EP. Opening with `Swimming Pool’, this song also launched her long-awaited third solo album, SECOND LOVE (2016) {*7}. Based in New York City, Emma, and guest musicians Tom Fleming (of WILD BEASTS) and Fyfe Dangerfield (of GUILLEMOTS) were inspired choices from respective producers Dave McCracken and Ludwig Goransson, whom she would pen with on the likes of `Algorithm’, `Social Halo’, `Less Than Three’ and the `Phoenixes’ (the latter concerning actor brothers River and Joachim/Leaf).
© MC Strong/MCS // rev-up MCS Mar2016

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