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. On the flip side 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.
The remix album featured some of the world’s most respected remix artists including Armin van Buuren, Grammy nominated Morgan Page and Cosmic Gate and a remix by young Danish virtuoso, Mikkas, provided Emma’s longest ever run at #1 on the Beatport Trance Chart spending over seven weeks straight in the #1 position.
A live acoustic EP titled ‘Starting Fires’ followed suit and charted in over 20 countries in the iTunes Top 20 dance charts further highlighting Hewitt’s versatility.
2013 yielded the collaboration ‘Forever Is Ours’ with Grammy Nominated artist, Armin van Buuren as well as an extensive touring schedule that has included sold out solo performances right across the globe in over 50 countries as well as appearances on the major 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.
2014 shows no sign of slowing the pace with Emma currently back in the studio working on further solo singles and collaborations for release over the coming months.
Hi Emma tell us about you?
Hi! Well I am an Australian girl who lives in LA now. I travel the world performing music 🙂 I sing and write, mostly dance music these days, although I do still write acoustic music just for my own pleasure. I love food, my family and friends and I am extremely clumsy and bump into everything. I make a lot of mistakes, but I do what makes me happy and have a lot of passion for my life.
What age were you at when you first began to sing?
I can’t even remember to be honest, it was never a conscious decision, it was just what I always did and always wanted to do. I first performed with a band professionally when I was 17.
Which artists and styles inspired and influenced you?
Growing up it was Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Crowded House. The music of the nineties was the most inspiring to me, live bands with something important to say that became the soundtrack to my life.
Did you choose a music career because of your vocal abilities or because of your love for music itself?
It wasn’t so much a career choice as it was the only thing I ever truly wanted to do. I would say I did this because of my love for music. It took a while to figure out if I had any vocal abilities or not. A lot of people can sing at 16, it takes a while longer to figure out if you have any tone to your voice or not, that comes with age and development and some degree of luck.
When were you first introduced to Electronic Music?
When I was younger I used to go to a few of the Gatecrasher Raves and things in Melbourne, but I didn’t know too much about the music. I was brought up on rock and live bands. Later on when I met Chris Lake I really was introduced to the culture and the people behind the music a lot more.
You’ve worked with tons of famous DJ’s. Who’s your top 3 DJ you’ve met and can you tell us a story about them?
It is hard to pick a top 3! Most of the DJs I have worked with have been lovely. Armin is very down to earth, especially considering his level of success. Chris Lake is extremely funny and such a talented producer, he can really nail so many different styles. Cosmic Gate guys are always a great laugh, I have a ball traveling with them and they always perform with a great energy! The same goes for the Dash Berlin guys…I would say I am lucky to have great friendships with most all of the people I have worked with so far.
Outside of trance, what DJ’s would you like to see perform in person?
I haven’t seen Deadmau5 live yet, I would love to. Trentemoller I would also love to see.
What other female vocalists that sings trance songs do you enjoy listening to?
I can’t go past Sarah McLaughlin’s vocals on the classic “Silence” and I think Sarah Howells is incredible.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I hope to still be performing around the world and writing songs that people still hopefully respond to 🙂
You were lead singer for a band called Missing Hours, what prompted the shift to electronic music?
After I wrote and released 2 or 3 songs in electronic music I just found that this genre suited my voice and writing style much better. I really enjoyed the emotion in the music, I didn’t need to seem angry anymore, I could be more real.
Are you ambitious? If so, towards what ends?
I am very ambitious, but only for the sake of the music. I will always do whatever it takes no matter what to make sure I serve the song, to be sure that every song that blesses me with it’s presence is recorded and released exactly as it needs to be, to make sure it reaches whoever it needs to, and that is my only driving force. Everything else comes second to that in my life.
What is your current studio set-up?
I have a very small home set up with a Neumann TLM mic, into an Apogee Duet and then Logic pro 10. I have some keyboards, an acoustic guitar and some other bits and pieces of equipment. It isn’t much but it is definitely enough to get nice sounding vocals and acoustics down. If I need more I go into a professional studio.
Who, in your opinion, is your favorite producer to collaborate with?
I honestly can’t say, as everyone I have worked with so far has brought something wonderful to the project, and they have all been special in their own way.
I personally love the track “Waiting” tell us about this track?
Thank you. This song was written about the memory of someone, and knowing they have become just a memory and probably won’t ever be back around again. Even if they did they wouldn’t be the same as they were back then, in remembering them they have almost become something more than they ever were in real life… Even so there is still a hope that in some way that feeling or person may come back one day.
How was to work with Dash Berlin?
I love working with Dash Berlin! Jeff is such a great guy and very talented, and always lovely to tour or perform with!! The whole team is really driven and they have achieved some amazing things – it is great to have shared a part of that journey with them.
At the moment “Sirens” by Pearl Jam. It changes all the time. I tend to listen to very chill music most of the time.
Top 3 festivals?
EDC Las Vegas, Escape From Wonderland San Bernadino, and Tomorrowland.
Best and worst thing of your job?
So many great things… the places I visit, the people I meet, the music, the creating of something tangible from something that was just a flash of inspiration, the feeling of hearing something you had a part in being played to so many people…the list could go on all day.
The only difficult thing is perhaps being separated from friends and family for long periods. We all make these sacrifices to do what we love though, but sometimes maintaining relationships can get tough or you can feel you are mostly alone bouncing all over the world. There are still aspects of this I also love though. I am independent and a traveling soul so this is still an adventure to me and something I appreciate.
Something you can’t live without?
Black eyeliner!! 😉
Best place where you worked? Why?
I loved performing Escape From Wonderland. The crowd and stage were incredible, it was an amazing buzz.
What was the first record that you bought?
“Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles. Sssshh….haha!!
If you could choose a place to live where would that be?
Luckily for me right now that would be LA and I do 🙂 I have lived in a lot of cold places, so I REALLY appreciate the LA weather and outdoor lifestyle. I love that people go there to make their dreams come true, you can feel that in the air, and also the underlying melancholy of dreams that have failed. It is very inspiring.
What do you do in your spare time?
Hike a lot now, I try to be fit…but I also enjoy food a lot and hanging with my friends drinking wine etc. so I guess they cancel each other out. I read a lot and love watching movies for inspiration.
Best place to party?
Used to be my home, Melbourne, the parties there go all night and day!! I haven’t partied there for a while now but I imagine it is the same.
Top 3 clubs?
Zouk Singapore, Marquee LV, Sutra Orange County.
Any advice for new female talent artist?
Learn your craft, create what you love and want to hear for yourself, and when it is the best it can be try to lead with your music not your looks. That is all I can say, for everyone the journey is different.
Any exiting news you want to share with us?
I have a new video out today, an animation for “Going Home” with Cosmic Gate, we are SO excited about this video!! I have new music on the way 2, another exciting release in June and more to come from there!
How important is Social Media for you?
It is about the most important thing for me when it comes to engaging with other people who are into the music. It is also the best way to promote new music and spread the word – I have met a lot of my best friends because of social media.
Three things you can’t live without?
Family, doc martins and sunscreen (I am so pale!)
Any special messages for the fans and people who have helped you within your career?
HUGE thanks to anyone who has ever listened to any of the songs I have made!! The only purpose of the songs is they hopefully make someone out there feel something, so thank you to anyone who gave the songs a purpose.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: Never eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head
Movie: 20,000 Days on Earth – Nick Cave
Travel Destination: France
Drink: Bloody Mary
Celebrity Crush: Jack White
Actress/Actor: Ben Kingsly
Song: Hurt – Nine INch Nails – Johnny Cash version
Sport team: If I had to say one – My Home team – Geelong Cats – Aussie Rules Football