Profile – Emily Maguire

by Sonia Isaacs Clark

BRITISH singer-songwriter Emily Maguire has been described as “making music for the soul”. She has toured Europe extensively with American legends Don McLean, Dr Hook and Eric Bibb, and is currently in the process of recording her seventh album on her family property and goat farm near Kenilworth.

Before she begins a hinterland tour in September performing with acclaimed local violinist Sarah King, cellist Louise King and bass player Christian Dunham, we caught up with Emily to find out more about her music, inspirations and life.

Q: How would you describe your sound and where do draw your inspiration?
I am usually described as a contemporary folk artist. I play acoustic guitar, piano and cello and often use strings in my songs. The lyrics are very important to me as I am very aware of the power of songs to express the deep feelings that we sometimes find hard to put into words. My aim with my songs is always to uplift, comfort and inspire the people listening.

Q: How long have you been a musician and how did you start?
As a child, I learned to play piano, cello, flute and recorder. I didn’t get a guitar until my 21st birthday when I was stuck at home with a weird illness called fibromyalgia pain syndrome. When I started writing songs, this illness became a complete blessing in disguise as I had all this time on my hands to write.

Q: When did you first move to the hinterland area and what do you love about living here?
I first came here to the farm in 2003, and fell in love with my old friend, bass player and producer Christian Dunham, and ended up staying for four years. Christian and I got married at the farm in 2007 and then left to do a three-month tour of the UK. By chance, I was offered a concert hall tour with American legend Don McLean, followed by UK tours with Dr Hook, Eric Bibb and others, so we didn’t return for 12 years. In 2019, we came back to escape Brexit and make my seventh album in the peace and quiet of the beautiful Obi Obi valley.

Q: You are also a published writer. Is there a key theme with your poetry?
I’ve practised Buddhist meditation for many years, so I guess my poems are very influenced by that. I’ve also struggled with bipolar disorder, so both my poems and my songs are very influenced by my experience of mental health recovery. I am passionate about the benefits of music for mental health.

Q: What are you looking forward to with your hinterland shows?
Playing live is a rare treat these days! On this tour I can’t wait to perform with sisters Sarah and Louise King again. They played with us when we recorded my live album at Eudlo Hall last year and they are the best string players I’ve ever worked with!

Emily will be performing locally at Eudlo Hall on Saturday, September 11, and Maleny Community Centre on Saturday, September 18. Both shows start at 7.30pm. Tickets are $30 and $25 concession with bookings via trybooking.

More details at