From Dorset, England Emma Gale is making the absolute most of a sticky situation by using lockdown as inspiration for her music. Many of us are finding new hobbies during this time, and our budding, talented artist Emma Gale has just written and released her debut single during lockdown! Just like many of us, she has been learning from the experiences of humankind during the COVID-19 crisis, and decided to use this information to her advantage and produce a new single “Let’s See What The Earth Has To Say”.
The song kicks off with a lighthearted strum of a ukulele by Peter Kirkbride and is soon joined by Emma’s heartwarming vocals. Her British accent is evident in her vocals as she sings with a clear voice, and Chris Pepper introduces background guitar and percussions. The simple melody and instrumentals leave room for fans to absorb Emma Gale’s important message within the lyrics. She has written the song about everyone’s experiences under lockdown during the virus outbreak. Emma allows audiences to easily relate as she sings about everyone being online and binging TV shows. Importantly, she sings about what she has learned from this situation. She includes phrases like “we don’t really need what we think that we need” and “let’s see what the Earth has to say.” Her message seems to point to the fact that humans have less control than may be perceived, but there is so much that we can learn from the current situation.
You can listen to "Let's See What The Earth Has To Say" here.
Your message in “Let’s See What the Earth Has to Say” is something that many people need to hear right now. Can you elaborate on your lyrics?
I wrote Let’s See What the Earth Has to Say as a submission for a song a week group. I had just returned from a songwriting retreat in Nashville. My husband was supposed to join me in Nashville for the second week but we were hearing on the news that the borders were closing and so I decided to return on one of the last planes out of there before the borders closed. The following weekend, feeling extremely inspired, I wrote the song. I had been a little bit lax at writing songs for the group as I had had a busy year and had to really ‘encourage’ myself to write it. The theme that particular week was ‘One Single Day’. I didn’t intend to write a Coronavirus song but what inspired me was that in the news the situation was changing so rapidly, almost by the hour. I was thinking it’s amazing how things can change quickly over the course of a day or a couple of days. At that time we were just going into lockdown and everything was so uncertain. I was thinking about the scenario where we were being asked to say at home with all of our possessions watch TV. I was speaking to friends at the time and many people were saying that it really puts everything into perspective. We were all inside while nature was thriving outside. There are places like India and China that were reporting blue skies for the first time in 30 years. Deer were inhabiting gardens in Essex. This was pretty much an unprecedented scenario.
Of course, when you are writing a song with an important message, I feel that it is crucial to get the balance right and the last thing I wanted to do was to come across as being ‘preachy’. What I wanted to ensure was that the song remained light-hearted and had a meaningful message. I absolutely feel for those people that have lost family members and it must be devastating for them so I do not want to belittle the situation at all. I do, however, believe that for a lot of us we have been given this time as a gift. It is time for us to reflect and to think about how we want to live our lives in the future. I believe that we are all part of something bigger and although we feel that we have control over our lives, we actually have very little control in situations like this. Rather like being children. I actually think the child-like quality of the uke and use of vibraphone is what makes it quite a comforting song.
Can you tell us how you collaborated with your instrumentalists and videographer (respectively) Peter Kirkbride, Chris Pepper, and Nick Newark to create this piece in just one week? I am lucky that Pete Kirkbride is my husband and so he does exactly as he is told. Hahahahaha, that’s not quite true, I am only joking. What actually happened was I was rushing to write the song and although I worked out the chords on the Ukulele, I didn’t actually have a lot of time to get the song ready for the midnight deadline I was working to. He is a professional guitarist and plays the Uke really well, so I asked Pete to record the Uke part to which I sang to on my phone. I remember thinking at the time when the killer line dropped, Let’s See What the Earth Had to Say thinking that I had probably captured something quite special with the song. I don’t normally do this but the following day I put that version onto Facebook and asked for some feedback. I am still to this day unsure why I did that. I do have quite a few songwriters as friends and I so was I was probably expecting to get a few comments. I didn’t expect to get the number of reactions and shares. We decided we needed to remove the phone copy and create a better version. So we did that on Sunday and the same thing happened, but people were starting to share the song wider. I had a friend David who told me that he thought that I had created something special and said that he felt that I should release it. So I asked my friends to stop sharing and that’s when I sent the song to Chris Pepper for producing.
I knew that being in lockdown I couldn’t get a video recorded so I decided to start looking at using an animation. I have a little bit of experience in producing animations and so I started putting the basic ideas together and had the basic storyline. I knew that it needed some additional touches so I spoke to my friend Nik Newark on Monday and asked him to help me capture the magic of the song. He has produced many great videos and animations so I knew he was the person to help me. I guess that I was lucky that we were in lockdown because, by that Wednesday, I had a fully formed song and video. That’s when I went to Boo Hewerdine who helped me get the rest of the team together and that included Martin Rowsell for the Artwork and Corrie Campbell who helped with the PR. Boo said that it was quite remarkable that we got it all together so quickly. I do have a day job though and I am a project manager and very organized so that probably helped!
You told us that you hope to be releasing your debut album later this year. Can you tell us what we can expect from this album? Yes, I do, but as things have progressed over the last few weeks so that’s now quite a difficult question to answer. I completed a Master’s Degree in Songwriting at Bath Spa University in 2018 and the major project was an album. I finished stripped down version for the project that year and it an eclectic mix of songs that I have written over the past few years. It covers quite a few different styles. The album was actually due to be released last year but I was working in the Falkland Islands and broke my ankle so everything was put on hold until this year. Thinking back it's quite timely because had I released the album last year, then there is a good chance I wouldn’t have written this single.
So now that I have found the Ukulele and now that I have found a new sound, I feel that I need to revisit the album and test out which songs will make the cut and whether I need to write some new songs. I definitely want to write a follow-up song to this song.
“Let’s See What the Earth Has to Say” was your very first single, and you completed the creative process in just one week! What made you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music and create your first song?
Well, I guess it could sound like I have only been writing for a week but actually that’s not quite true because this wasn’t my first song, it’s just the first song I have released. I have been building up to this moment for quite a few years. I was in a function band in Cambridge called Cover Me Bad in the 90s, I moved to Weymouth in 2001 and had a band called the Vending Machine Repairmen after one of my idols Sheryl Crow and then when I met my husband we started combining some originals and covers for a band called Galeforce. We would be Galeforce 2 if there were two of us; Galeforce 3 with a bass player, add a drummer Galeforce 4. I think we may have had made it to Galeforce 6 which is technically inaccurate because a gale doesn’t start until wind-force 7 so we probably should have been called GaleBreeze 2 and GaleBreeze 3. Not so cool though is it.
I actually started writing my own songs in 2013 and that’s when I started working with other songwriters and really starting to understand how songs are constructed. I have actually written over 50 songs now, some on my own some co-writes. I spend quite a bit of time attending songwriting retreats. My vision was and ultimately still is to write for other people, so this has all hit me a little unexpected as I never really expected to be the artist.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?
I am going to do as much as I can to get myself noticed by Radio 2, that will be a dream come true if I achieve that. Obviously it depends when I am able to get back into the studio but I will be revamping my album and actually, if I can write and produce a song within one week then perhaps I can do it again for the follow-up. You definitely haven’t heard the last of Emma Gale.