NewTracks New Artist: Emily Fairlight

NewTracks New Artist: Emily Fairlight

Wellington-based, ex-Christchurch Americana musician Emily Fairlight (Peters) is one of those multi-talented creative types able to create art across various disciplines. Apart from singing with a recognisable, deeply melancholic voice, she writes her own songs, plays guitar, piano and the accordion. (“Terribly,” she says of the latter.) Spending her days working at Weta Digital, Emily also self-directed the video for her new single Drag The Night In, with the aid of some knowledgeable friends. The song, taken from her recently released second album, ‘Mother Of Gloom’, will see her featured on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this July.

What other projects might we know you from?

I did a Leonard Cohen tribute a while ago with Sea Mouse, Lisa Tomlins, Dick Whyte, Nikita Tu Bryant and more at Bodega.

What makes Drag The Night In stand out for you as a single?

It’s probably (so I hear!) the catchiest song on the album. It mostly became a single because I had a music video idea though! Seems to be how it goes for me. It was the first video idea I wrote as a joke, wanting me and my friends to be the elements in a kids play. There is real meaning in the actions though, as dictated by the lyrics, but I like to leave things open to interpretation…

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I’m really proud of all the lyrics in this song, but my favourite is the ‘call and response’ vocal part in the bridge, before the final chorus.

Who did you work on the single with and where? 

I wrote it alone in a friend’s house while she was away, recorded it with Doug Walseth in Austin, Texas, mixed it with Ben Edwards in Lyttelton.

In one sentence, what do you want listeners to take away from this song?

The verses might set a sweet scene, but the bridge is the crux and the reality of song.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

This is the first album that I’ve released singles on. First single Time’s Unfaithful Wife was the first song ready! And the rest have been songs I wrote video ideas for.

Can you tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Have you made any previous applications that didn’t get funding or didn’t get included on NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there?

I had two get through, then Below Body didn’t make it in the last last video/single funding. Try try again I reckon – if you believe in your song, find a way.

Was there an NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application?

Na, it’s all pretty straightforward! I mean record label / publishing representation would be nice to answer “yes”, but I wouldn’t say I struggled with it.