Emma Exton is a 23-year-old musician. She performs extensively across Hanoi and Vietnam. Emma is known for her sensitive yet technical approach to songwriting and performing. Watching Emma play live is nice, it takes you to landscapes that feel open to interpretation. Her music is a well-crafted fusion between more modern and some of the more nostalgic song writing masters. I guess that being the reason why one could describe it as timeless. We met Emma at a local coffee shop and asked her a few questions.
I think music constantly changes and develops as we expose ourselves to more ideas and the world, but for the time being - let’s call it the above. Soulful Jazzy Folk Stuff. That’s a genre yes?
Why are you here?
Why is anybody anywhere? I moved to Hanoi after visiting a musician friend of mine living here for a bit. The landscapes, general vibe and feeling of endless possibilities got me. I was also quite impressed by the very diverse and wonderful music scene. It seems there is always something happening. When I moved here my music became me. My music became my income and an integral part of my daily life. When I am not performing I teach violin at a local music school. I also collaborate with a bunch of local musicians, exploring new sounds and influences.
How would you describe your music?
Soulful Jazzy Folk kind of stuff. I think music constantly changes and develops as we expose ourselves to more ideas and the world, but for the time being - let’s call it the above. Soulful Jazzy Folk Stuff. That’s a genre yes?
Do you have any formal training?
I have a music degree from Cardiff University in Wales. I moved to study there from Newbury. In retrospect it was only a short journey from home, but I believe it was this move that ignited my need to explore different places. Here I am today, a wanderer and a traveler, constantly looking for new places to find, whether through travel or through music.
What instruments do you play?
I currently play violin, piano and guitar and I guess there is always room for more. I love the violin dearly but would describe my voice as my current favourite instrument.
Tell us some things about your album?
It is a bunch of stories. Tales of my life over the past few years. I recorded parts of it in a recording studio and parts live in Urban Gentry, a live music venue that has supported me a lot over the past year. I think the mix between studio and more natural, impromptu recordings would give the album the dynamic I am looking for.
How would you describe your song writing process?
Every song is different. Usually I write the lyrics first and then the music follows. I like playing around with the music. I see it as kind of as a challenge to learn something new. I would learn a new trick on the guitar and if it feels right for the specific lyrics I would apply it. So the songwriting process is definitely also a learning process. Other songs just happen suddenly; within that moment of creation one is not always sure if the melody or the words came first.
What are your major influences?
I love classical music. Van Morrison also had a big impact on me when I was younger. To me he is a perfect example of a proper song writer. The depth of his lyrics is never overshadowed by the music and vice-versa. I also love Amy Winehouse. This is just who I am thinking about right here, right now. There’s heaps more and I am sure as time goes on new ones will also become part of my influences.
I’ve done a lot of things, mostly creative things. In my spare time I love reading and dancing. I’ve been part of a circus and I love travelling and meeting new people. Everyone has a story to tell.
Artist: Emma Exton feat. SalaS
Song: Winds of Rain
Presenter: Marina Briggs
Producer: Kobus Kotze
Camera: Gaz Weir
Sound: Tabitha Perez & Ian Campbell
Photographer: Victoria Siwik