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Emily Burns


    • emily_burns_biog_2018.docx

      They say life moves in seasons, everybody that enters your life is for a reason, and each year when summer comes around, the warm months bring promise. Perhaps the days stretch out into the horizon as the rush of a new crush unfolds, or there's a sense of freedom from the dark winter days of past. Essentially there's a renewal: all of the bad is reflected on for a minute before being pushed to the side, painted over, released to make space for something new and better.

      'Seven Scenes From The Same Summer', the debut mini-album from 23 year-old British pop prodigy Emily Burns, is situated in these intoxicating moments. The record perfectly captures the romantic exhilaration of summer while also intimately detailing the less favourable side when things come to an end.

      Given the name, there's an infectious yet cinematic feel to 'Seven Scenes...', although Emily prefers to describe the record in a more personal way. "It's like reading pages from my diary," she says, speaking to the vulnerable moments captured in her lyrics. Emily has always used music in this way: as a cathartic outlet to relieve potentially negative experiences before then transferring them into pieces of art - in this case, pop-leaning songs that fall into an arena shared by the likes of Tove Lob, Charli XCX and Sigrid.

      Performing and songwriting has been Emily's true passion for a long time. As a young child born in Scotland, she realised a love for English language and creative writing, which very naturally led to her penning lyrics. Then there's her first live performance (if you can call it that, which you absolutely can) aged nine - in a rowdy boozer in her home village in Warwickshire - where she performed with her dad. "I'll always remember this: everything went so quiet and it was really peaceful for a minute," she recalls. The next year she started writing songs and impressively - under the guidance of her guitar teacher - went into a studio to record them. Performing stints in school followed ("I wanted to be the star of the show"), as did the recording of more demos, all of which lead up to one golden opportunity: a visit to Abbey Road.

      Off the back of her early recordings, Emily had been invited to a BBC Introducing Masterclass at the legendary recording studios made famous by the Beatles and, more recently, Frank Ocean. Her EP of demos then made its way into the hands of the studio's in-house producer who invited her to record there two days a week. At the time Emily was in sixth-form but when her exams finished she moved to London and, in what feels like a lucky yet fated moment, managed to bag a job on Abbey Road's reception desk - much better and suited to her vocation than the catering job she'd initially picked up.

      Though she worked five days a week, Emily used the job to her advantage and under management's approval would work after-hours in the studios. She wasn't quiet about the fact she wrote music; she'd always tell people what she did. "And that was great because I became good friends with the engineers and mastering guys, and whenever there was downtime they were really willing to help out," she says.

      Two years ago she released her official debut single, 'Take It Or Leave It', resulting in a signing with 37 Adventures (JONES, salute, Geowulf) - the same label she's with today.

      "My favourite thing is a song that sounds really happy but is deeply painful," Emily says of her influences. This idea is at the core of 'Seven Scenes...': it's a deliciously infectious listen but underneath all the danceable shine are several raw and honest experiences. Take the song 'Bitch', which is about the breakdown of Emily's first relationship. "I was coming to terms with my own sexuality, and as was she, but she didn't come to terms with it in the same way I did," she says of the biting track, which speaks of the other young woman getting "a boyfriend."

      Though it might look it on paper, the track isn't offensive. Instead it's deeply affecting and heartfelt, packed full of raw and brittle emotion, helped along by its upbeat disguise. The same goes for a song like 'Cheat', where Emily puts herself in the position of a different ex-lover and wonders what she would have done differently ("If it had been me I would have called your phone, told you that I was needy feeling all alone"). By putting these upsetting experiences on record and intertwining them with potent and addictive songwriting, Emily is shifting heartbreak into empowerment.

      Meanwhile there are other songs that come from a purely positive place, such as 'Girlfriend At The Time' - a heady, rush of a tune that speaks to those early summer experiences with someone, and the desire to be with them forever; to not be cast aside as the "girlfriend at the time".
      'Vanilla Sundae', which features Olivia Nelson, sits in a similar yet fresh place, delicately reminiscing on Sunday afternoons spent together in bed, watching the world go by as sunlight pours onto bed-sheets, and wishing you could have just one more. Then there's the mini-album's closing track 'Senseless', an acoustic number that brings things back to Emily's beginning as a classic, guitar-playing songwriter.

      With 'Seven Scenes From The Same Summer', Emily is dispensing with honest lyrics, sharing her genuine experiences and bringing the listener into her world. It's worth noting too that Emily is the main songwriter on all these tracks; she's a true rising talent, and this record cements her into a canon of artists who expertly layer intimate experiences into far-reaching, catchy pop songs - ones that have a surface, universal appeal, but, underneath all that, also reveal touching, heartfelt moments. It's the sound of her summer, but it's also the sound of yours and your friends too - all of the next crushes, heartbreaks, and moments of pensive reflection over something that happened a few years ago are brought to life in striking detail, and will also be done so in a live setting as she brings the performances she's been honing for years to festivals this summer.

Emily Burns

Emily Burns

  • 27 Feb, 2019

    The Great Escape Festival 2019

    The Great Escape festival takes place at multiple venues across Brighton, from 9th-11th May. Included in the first wave of artists announced, are many from the Primary Talent International roster:

    Alfie Templeman
    Can't Swim
    Chappaqua Wrestling
    Connie Constance
    Emily Burns
    Fuzzy Sun
    Greentea Peng
    Joy Crookes
    Just Mustard
    Murkage Dave
    Self Esteem
    Sir Babygirl
    Sports Team


    great escape
  • 24 Jan, 2019

    Sound City 2019

    Sound City takes place in the Baltic Exchange, Liverpool from 3rd-5th May, and features many Primary Talent International artists:

    ...Loyle Carner
    ...Husky Loops
    ...Benny Mails
    ...Emily Burns
    ...Just Mustard


    sound city
  • 11 Apr, 2018

    Dot To Dot Festival

    The UK's premier festival for unearthing the best new talent, Dot To Dot Festival, returns to Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham from the 25th-27th May for its 13th edition. Following on from D2D being named 'Best Festival For Emerging Talent' at the UK Festival Awards in 2017, more incredible new artists from around the globe can be expected for 2018, alongside an impressive line-up of established performers.

    Primary Talent International artists performing will include:

    ...The Horrors
    ...Pale Waves
    ...Marika Hackman
    ...Bad Sounds
    ...Chappaqua Wrestling
    ...Connie Constance
    ...Daniel Alexander
    ...Emily Burns
    ...George Glew
    ...Malena Zavala
    ...Puma Blue


    dot to dot