Our Interview with Emma Birdsall


Emma Birdsall, singer songwriter from Cronulla, has a multitude of interests – cooking, classic films, fashion and blogging, to name a few. Her love of classics like Audrey Hepburn and Judy Garland are evident in this extremely poised 21 year old. She played the Hermes Swinging Silk Party, Carols in the Domain, and has recently secured a spot to support OneRepublic in their upcoming Australian tour.  Check out her single “Lovers & Friends” from her forthcoming debut album in which she teams up with Josh Pyke and Megan Washington. We interviewed Emma about her musical influences, see below –

What music was playing in the house when you were growing up?
My ears were absolutely saturated with all kinds of music growing up, but my fondest memories are those where I’m sitting on my Poppa’s knee in his office, listening to his enormous collection of vinyls. We’d go from The Andrews Sisters to Frank Sinatra to Burt Bacharach, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans to Debussy and Chopin. I had a real thing for the classics.

What was the first record you fell in love with?
I remember listening to James Taylor’s October Road a lot as a kid, but the first CD I actually purchased and played to death (literally) was Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Gold‘. A double disc compilation of all her best recordings that I would blare in my old Mazda 626 at 18, as I drove to the airport for work at 4 o’clock in the morning. Those were the days!

Who made you want to make music?
Aside from the influence and encouragement of my creatively thriving family, the real inspiration for me came from listening to those old records and watching a lot of classic films. Even as a child, the beautiful orchestral scores and soundtracks made my little heart melt. I’ve always aspired to perform like the greats – Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Debbie Reynolds, the list goes on. I loved their smiles, their elegant gowns, the gentle vibrato in their voices, their musicality…I still do.

What were you listening to whilst recording?
Oh gosh! Anything and everything! I really had to get into a different headspace to write this album, because a) songwriting was something I hadn’t done before and b) I never envisioned myself being a pop artist. I tried to open my mind and listen to a really broad range of music, from Zero 7 and Portishead, to Feist, Adele, Frank Ocean and Alicia Keys. The list is huge! It sounds random, but you’ll be surprised at how all those influences tie themselves together on the record.

What five records couldn’t you live without?
Diana Krall Quiet Nights
John Mayer Continuum
Brian Johnson Love Came Down
Ella Fitzgerald Gold
Beyonce Fourand (sorry, I had to put 6!)
Bill Evans Everybody Digs Bill Evans

What are you listening to at the moment?
HAIM, Melody Gardot, AlunaGeorge, Ariana Grande, Miguel and OneRepublic (trying to learn all their new songs just in case Ryan Tedder invites me on stage for a duet when I go on tour with them next month haha!)

Does the perfect song exist?
I think there’s perfect songs for every moment, I’m not sure that there’s one that covers all bases…’The Very Thought of You‘ and ‘The Way You Look Tonight‘ come pretty damn close though.

Finally, what’s your favourite noise?
Children laughing, popcorn cooking (I FREAKING LOVE POPCORN) and the sound of waves gently crashing against the ocean’s shore.