As a child, singer-songwriter Emily Maguire learned to play cello, piano and flute, acquiring a love of Bach and Mozart that made her seem destined for a classical career before she was done with school.
Then she heard Bob Marley’s songs and her world view changed.
At 17 she was involved in a car crash , suffering a whiplash injury which led to a debilitating and painful illness. Stuck at home for months, she started writing songs to pass the time and discovered she had a knack for it. A new career was born for the London singer who some have compared to Joni Mitchell.
Sick of the capital’s grey skies and buildings, she flew round the world to spend time on a farm in Australia where – according to her own website – she lived in a shack, overcame her snake phobia and recorded her acclaimed debut album, Stranger Place.
Two years later came Keep Walking. Emily recorded all the string arrangements herself on both albums and set up a record label, Shaktu Records, financing her albums by selling goats’ cheese.
In 2008 Keep Walking was released in the UK and Ireland through Universal. From touring pubs and clubs, she went on to support stars including Don McLean and Eric Bibb.
In 2010 she brought out a book and revealed that she had been living with bipolar disorder.
She last toured in 2011, with Denis Locorriere, performing at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. After that she took time out to write and record her fourth studio album, Bird Inside A Cage, funded by her fans.
The album was produced by Nigel Butler who – ironically, perhaps – was one of the producers on The X Factor.
The new album is described as “a bold departure” while still featuring songs full of emotion and with evocative lyrics.
Emily’s tour brings her to the Gala Theatre, Durham, on September 12 (tel. 03000 266600) and The Cluny, Newcastle, on September 13 (0191 230 4474).