Two and a half years after the release of her top 20 debut album, Stand Still, Emma Gillespie, better know as Emma’s Imagination, prepares to release follow-up EP Underway. Stand Still established Gillespie as a household name, and spawned two top 10 singles, but Emma’s Imagination in 2013 is a far different prospect to the talented wide-eyed newcomer of 2010. Opening track Let You Go owes more to the likes of Feist than it does any current chart act, and Emma describes this period as being one of great transition;
“I felt that I needed to take things back to a more earthy, homely, place before writing my next album. Listening to artists such as Fionn Regan, Feist, and Leonard Cohen has definitely influenced parts of this EP with regards to song-writing, meter and feel. "Underway" isn't as heavily produced as my first album, the tracks are moodier and darker, giving it a very different feel to "Stand Still. It's been over 2 years since the Sky1 show and I've changed a lot, matured and naturally progressed and developed as a song writer and musician, which I think comes through in this EP.”
And come through it does. Lead single Pour It Out demonstrates a willingness to experiment with atmospherics, its expansive feel bolstered by juddering guitars and vocal layering. The video was shot in Galloway where Emma lived for a while in a little log hut. She describes it as “a very magical and beautiful place, which is very close to my heart. I spent a lot of time there at the end of a seven year relationship, gathering myself and my thoughts together, walking and airing out my head, which is what the song and video are based around.”
Never one to do everything by the book, perhaps the EP’s biggest surprise is the cover of Deftone’s track Change, to which Emma again adds her own brooding, atmospheric, vocal performance, marking it out as arguably the biggest indicator of her intentions to use this EP as a way to re-introduce herself and let fans see another side of her.
“The title "Underway" is obviously a progression from "Stand Still" which I feel gives an honest description of where I'm at. I don't feel like a rabbit in the headlights, I feel excited about the possibilities ahead. This EP for me, is a gentle re-introduction and a comfortable place for me to write my next album from.”
Gillespie emerges from Underway as a calmly confident and deeply thoughtful artist. Not many artists get a second chance to make a first impression. And if Underway is anything to go by, we can only look forward to what album number two holds.