Sun 17 Sep 2017
Online - £12 + £1.20 booking fee
On The Door - £12
Emily Maguire’s story is a remarkable one. Classically trained as a child on cello, piano, flute and recorder, she taught herself the guitar and started writing songs when she found herself stuck at home with a chronic illness called fibromyalgia pain syndrome.
A few years later, back on her feet and fed up with grey skies and concrete, she decided to give up her flat in London for a shack made from recycled wood, tin and potato sacks on a farm out in the Australian bush. For four years she lived an eco-friendly, self-sufficient lifestyle in the shack with her Australian partner, financing her music by making and selling goats cheese on the farm.
Following the release of her critically acclaimed albums ‘Stranger Place’ and ‘Keep Walking’, Emily returned to the UK, and in 2010, her extraordinary book ‘Start Over Again’, a highly personal account of her experiences of dealing with bipolar disorder, was launched on BBC Radio 2 generating a huge response from listeners.
As an advocate for mental health, Emily speaks frequently in the media about combating the stigma of mental illness. In early 2014, Emily undertook a 3-month tour of mental health hospitals, singing her songs about surviving mental illness for staff and patients in mental health facilities across the south-west of England. The response from patients was overwhelmingly positive. As one member of staff put it: “This should happen more often – the difference in the SUs [service users] is quite amazing.”
Following an intensive tour of Germany in June 2014, while rehearsing for the recording of an instrumental album she had just composed, Emily developed chronic tendonitis in both arms. She had to cancel all her gigs and was unable to play her instruments for the next 18 months. This caused a deep depression which lasted a year.
In 2016, back on her feet again, Emily published a new book ‘Notes From The North Pole’, a collection of poetry, prose and song lyrics. She did another tour of mental health hospitals and groups, with some low-key warm-up gigs in the autumn of 2016 building up to the launch of her fifth studio album ‘A Bit Of Blue’ in February 2017.
By turns hopeful and reflective, ‘A Bit Of Blue’ always retains her trademarks – emotive, imagery-rich songs, elegant instrumentation and crystalline vocals. Songs from the new album have been played on BBC Radio across the UK with the uplifting single ‘For Free’ played on Radio 2.
The video above was recorded at St Pancras Old Church, London on February 24, 2017. Here’s one from last year, on Emily’s return to the public stage at Schtumm, Box, UK, 26 Aug 2016: