Thursday, September 2, 2010

The safe and sane may choose mundane but let's effervesce!

Several months ago, I posted an interview with the fabulous Emma Wallace. Unfortunately, the interview got lost in the shuffle with the lists I was posting that week. So, I've decided to repost it this week in lieu of my (semi)regular segment post. Enjoy! Oh, and Happy September!!

Emma Wallace, a fellow blogger and incomparable musician, has just released her new CD - Temptation. This album transports you to a Parisian cafe with Emma's fun, flirty, and clever music. This new CD really renews my frustration that Emma is not more widely known. Her lyrics are so witty and relate-able and her tunes are so catchy and stick-in-your-head-able! I firmly believe that Porter and Gershwin would appreciate her talents (by the way, did I mention that she has a song entitled "Fred Astaire?" It's true!). I had the opportunity to interview Emma and ask her a the questions that I've had ever since listening to the CD:

Q: Which comes first - the lyrics or the tunes?

A: I find tunes muuuuch easier to write! I have a little treasury of tunes and then when I get an idea of some lyrics, I go through my tunes I've have already created and work them with the lyrics. Sometimes, like Fred Astaire or Stay With Me Tonight, they both come at the same time.

Q:I understand that you mixed this CD yourself, which means all of the instrumentation, the tempo, the volume were all arranged by you. I find that incredibly amazing! I love the way you incorporate different instruments into your music, for example, the accordion in "Connoisseur" and "Ambitious," the horn in "Song in My Head," the clarinet in "Fred Astaire," and the strings in "Mailbox." How do you know which instruments you'd like to add, when to bring in a crescendo, when to change the pace? What is the process for preparing the song for the CD?

A: The arrangement was one of the hardest things of my recording because I tend to either hear it just as the piano/voice or with a full band or orchestra! So I ended up finding songs that I liked that had a similar feel that I wanted to capture, and then using their instrumentation as inspiration. As far as volume, that wasn't too difficult to figure out because it doesn't change from when I just do piano/vocals. I recorded the piano first, then added the other instruments and last of all, added vocals.

Q: Is it harder arranging the music for the CD or writing it for the first time?

A: Well, arranging is very technical, so that was quite hard. There is sometimes a frustration when I try to figure out the perfect part of writing a song, but I think it's ultimately more enjoyable and I love when the creativity just begins to flow!

Q: If they were to make a biopic of your musical career, who would play you and what would be the title of the film? I'm wondering if you would follow in the line of other musician film titles like Beyond the Sea, De-lovely, Walk the Line, and La Vie En Rose - although, I expect your movie would be a lot sunnier.

A: Ooh! Fun question! I think Song in My Head would be a good title! Or maybe A Reason to Stay Up All Night. For modern actresses, I'd like to have Rachel Weisz or maybe Drew Barrymore. If I can pick from anyone, can I choose Ginger Rogers? Or maybe even Natalie Wood or Jane Fonda from Barefoot in the Park? Wait, wait - I've got it - I choose Julie Andrews. And, yes, I would definitely want a happier vibe!

Q: And because this is an old film blog, I'll ask some old film-related questions:
- Favorite actor?
A: I'm assuming classic film star so... Gene Kelly!

- Favorite actress?
A: I like both Kathryn Grayson and Ginger Rogers but Myrna Loy and Cyd Charisse are definitely up there. And read below for my rant about the marvelous Ms. Andrews.

- An underrated/overlooked actor/actress that you really like?
A: I think Kathryn Grayson could get more press. She's gorgeous and super versatile. Lena Horne is also fabulous and stunning. And Julie Andrews is so amazing at melting into whatever role she has. I don't think most people consider Mary Poppins or Sound of Music to be "Julie Andrews" films, because she simply becomes Mary Poppins and Maria. She's also so pretty and talented yet exudes niceness and intelligence. A winning combination (now does that make me picking her to play me a little narcissistic?!)

- Favorite dancer?
A: Umm... Gene Kelly

- Favorite singer in a film?
A: Hmmm... Gene Kelly! Really, though, he has such a smokey voice and I love his style. Julie Andrews, of course, is also marvelous.

Thank you so much, Sally, for interviewing me!

You're quite welcome! And thank you for answering! If you have not already done so, I highly recommend you go buy Temptation. And if you have already done so, do a good deed and buy it for somebody else! You may recognize the artwork above is by the fantastic Kate Gabrielle. Isn't it lovely?


  1. Great interview! Loved learning more about Emma... such an amazing and talented artist. Also, very much agree on Julie Andrews! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Great interview with great questions! Love Emma, and this was nice to read some insight on her process. I'm always in awe of the musical people :)

  3. Thank you for reposting this, darling Sally!

  4. I'm so glad you reposted this, I think I missed it the first time around! :)


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