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Emma Beau is hit­ting the stage for her de­but solo at the Gympie Muster

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - Ka­rina East­way

WITHOUT a doubt, Gympie lo­cal Emma Beau has ben­e­fited from work­ing along­side some of Aus­tralia’s top-level tal­ent dur­ing her short ca­reer – from record ex­ec­u­tives and ARIA-win­ning mu­sic pro­duc­ers to coun­try mu­sic roy­alty Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley, Kasey Cham­bers and Sara Storer.

But some things just can’t be taught: like pro­lific mu­si­cian­ship, im­pec­ca­ble, soul­ful vo­cals and good old-fash­ioned au­then­tic­ity.

Con­grats on your up­com­ing solo de­but at Gympie Muster next month! How did that feel get­ting the call-up?

Thank you! It’s so ex­cit­ing. They only called me about a month ago, so I ac­tu­ally wasn’t sure if it was go­ing to hap­pen. It ac­tu­ally feels re­ally nerve-wrack­ing – I played there two years ago with Jon English and Kasey Cham­bers, so it’s to­tally go­ing to add to the ex­cite­ment level to be play­ing there on my own. It’s some­thing I’ve wanted to do for years.

You ac­tu­ally toured ex­ten­sively with Jon English (who passed away in 2016) – he was a real men­tor to you, wasn’t he?

Yes, he was a real in­spi­ra­tion and he ac­tu­ally still is. I still lis­ten to his mu­sic and also play in a group (Song­birds) with two for­mer Jon English band­mates. In Jon’s band we were all like fam­ily, we never fought, and it still feels like that to­day. I’ll def­i­nitely be play­ing one of his songs at the Muster.

You play quite a few dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments – vi­o­lin, fid­dle and gui­tar – how did that come about?

I started vi­o­lin when I was eight and played clas­si­cal mu­sic with the school orches­tra. But we moved to Gympie when I was 15 and then I started play­ing coun­try mu­sic, be­ing at a coun­try mu­sic high school! The gui­tar I first picked up around 13 years old – mum had an old gui­tar from the ’70s she didn’t play any­more so I just picked it up and started play­ing.

I ac­tu­ally wrote my first song around then at the Gympie Song­writ­ers or­gan­i­sa­tion (run by John Bromell, for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Warner Chap­pell Mu­sic). I’m sure the song was re­ally bad but John re­ally en­cour­aged me to keep go­ing.

Do you have a favourite in­stru­ment?

I al­ways go back to the vi­o­lin, it’s my soul in­stru­ment. Hav­ing said that, I have three dif­fer­ent gui­tars on stage with me as I love all the dif­fer­ent sounds they make. I play a blend of coun­try, folk and roots, so hav­ing the dif­fer­ent gui­tars al­lows for that.

How did you start tour­ing with such big-name artists?

I won the 2011 Golden Fid­dle Award (Youth Achieve­ment) at Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and started tour­ing af­ter that.

When I was younger I was singing pop/coun­try, but go­ing on tour with peo­ple like Kasey Cham­bers, who sings ev­ery­thing from blues to folk, pop and coun­try, you can’t help but be in­flu­enced.

I’ve also had a huge in­flu­ence of ’60s and ’70s mu­sic from my par­ents, in­clud­ing Fleet­wood Mac, The Bea­tles and Led Zep­pelin – what­ever my par­ents were lis­ten­ing to. I’m such an old soul re­ally!

Any re­ally spe­cial tour­ing mo­ments you can re­call – like a wow, how did I get here?

The most amaz­ing moment was play­ing with Jon English on the Gympie Muster stage. I just took a men­tal pho­to­graph in my brain and thought ‘I never want to for­get this moment’. I looked over at Jon and it was re­ally spe­cial. I also loved that af­ter a show we’d just go and stand out the back and de­brief. At the end of the day, he was just a nor­mal hu­man, but there was some­thing spe­cial about his spirit.

How do you come up with your tracks – do they just pop into your head or is it some­thing you have to put work into? How do you cap­ture them?

One song can take two years and be a real labour of love, other songs can take just five min­utes. The cre­ative process is strange, you just can’t pre­dict it. Some artists put down the melody and then the lyrics or the other way around, lyrics then melody. I ac­tu­ally write both at the same time. Usu­ally I’m sit­ting on the bed with my gui­tar hash­ing it out and record it on my phone. I write a lot in the mo­tel room.

The tracks are in­spired by all dif­fer­ent things, like tour­ing and re­la­tion­ships form­ing. I also suf­fered a lot from anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, so the songs are also in­spired by my own per­sonal growth. Any­thing cre­ative is a pos­i­tive thing; it’s a bril­liant heal­ing tool.

Who are you lis­ten­ing to at the moment?

Ja­son Is­bell (Alabama-born singer-songwriter-gui­tarist). His wife is also a singer-songwriter and vi­o­lin­ist.

Where to next?

Af­ter the Gympie Muster I’ll be head­ing straight into the stu­dio (Syd­ney-based record­ing stu­dio Love HZ run by ARIA-win­ning pro­duc­ers Matt Fell and Michael Car­pen­ter). I wouldn’t go any­where else, the stu­dio is amaz­ing and Matt’s also from Gympie!

You crowd­funded your de­but EP, which did re­ally well. Are you work­ing on a de­but al­bum?

Yes, it’s all perfect tim­ing with the Gympie Muster and crowd­fund­ing cam­paign for the de­but al­bum. The al­bum isn’t just all about the mu­sic though, by crowd­fund­ing it be­comes more a com­mu­nity ex­pe­ri­ence for me and about con­nect­ing with peo­ple.

I feel like I’m in a good place at the moment, com­ing back to my roots and hav­ing a coun­try el­e­ment to my mu­sic, all with a ’70s vibe. It’s the most Emma thing I’ve ever done!

One song can take two years and be a real labour of love, other songs can take just five min­utes. The cre­ative process is strange, you just can’t pre­dict it.

I feel like I’m in a good place at the moment, com­ing back to my roots and hav­ing a coun­try el­e­ment to my mu­sic, all with a ’70s vibe.


Emma is crowd­fund­ing her de­but al­bum and will start record­ing soon.


Gympie singer-songwriter Emma Beau per­form­ing on­stage.


Emma Beau will per­form at the Gympie Muster next month.


Emma says she loves the ’70s vibe.


Gympie Muster 2016.

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