He’s always there when I need someone to talk to. He understands when I need to yell and scream, or be soft, vulnerable, strong and confident – better yet, he gives me what I need to be able to do all of those things.
He introduces me to people I never thought I’d have the privilege to meet, and he shows me that even the most seemingly different of people can be brought together simply because he exists. Yep. The best (and by far the longest lasting) relationship I’ve ever had is with music.
My relationship with music began when I started writing songs at five years old. Growing up in Whaingaroa (Raglan), I was surrounded by music – blues, rock, country, hip hop, ballads… everyone my mother knew was following their bliss – and they were doing it well! But that’s not why I started writing music – not really.
I was born with a rare condition called hydrocephalus – which literally translates to “water on the brain.” It means that I have a cyst in the middle of my brain which blocks off the exit way going down my spinal column. Everyone’s brain floats in water and this water is changed daily, but because of my cyst, water can enter my skull, but it doesn’t have anywhere to leave. So I have a tube (called a shunt) going from my brain to my abdomen to drain out the water. It’s pretty awesome technology – but it doesn’t come without its faults. As a result of my shunt I’ve had 24 operations in my lifetime (not bad for a 26 year old) and 10 of these have been brain surgeries; yes, I am freakin’ lucky to be alive! It’s pretty badass – but not something I’d recommend! And this is why I started writing music; to express myself in the only way that I knew how – creatively.
Funnily enough, I started out writing pop music, with the aims of being a solo artist, but after moving to Auckland, it soon became evident that pop music wasn’t – and never really has been – my main buzz. I’ve never been that sit-down-and-shut-up kind of girl and I think a lot of people have this perception of pop princesses. I’m far too loud, opinionated and in your face, specially considering where my lyrical content began – and that’s why Static Era is perfect for me.
Some of the Static Era songs I wrote when I was a teenager (think ‘So Sore’ and ‘Cold’), but now Static Era has become an identity all in itself and the boyfriend or music grew, changed and developed with me. Chris (guitarist of Static Era, and one of my best friends) and I now do a lot of the songwriting in collaboration with each other, and it works well because we push each other to do better lyrically. ‘Nobody’s Toy’ for example – at first it was a song about taking the higher road and walking away from life’s problems or issues, and then it transformed into this beast, telling life’s problems to essentially fuck right off. ‘Fire Away’ is also a result of the Chris and Emma writing methodology – a song again challenging life to bring it on and try us, but knowing full well that we, the listener, are stronger and can take it. My boyfriend grew from vulnerability to a solid entity of strength, truth and self-belief.
Being able to write, sing, record, and perform these songs is the icing on my relationship with music. Why? Because it’s the culmination of why I do what I do; to connect, share, empower, and be part of something bigger; our audience, and music lovers everywhere. The biggest compliment I’ve ever received is from a complete stranger thanking me after a concert and telling me that not only did they feel they truly knew and understood me, but it was as if I was singing directly to them – giving them the strength to move forward, succeed and be the best they could be. THAT is what it’s all about.
This post was also published on musicisdead.org.