Singer-songwriter Emma Stevens wants to re-engage people with their community through nature and song. Over the next few months she is asking people to plant a tree in their local community and will be filming the process for a music video, so that the trees become a visual representation of community action and the video an inspiration for others to do the same. Here Emma talks to us about how she fell in love with music and why she believes it can bring people together, change communities and change lives.
Tell us a bit about your music and how you got into it.
I first picked up the guitar at the age of two and was hugely inspired by my Mum who played nylon string. After my parents sensed my love for music, I started having classical lessons on cello and piano at the age of seven. I re-discovered guitar at around the age of 12 when I started mixing poetry with music and realized I was a songwriter. I then became obsessed with it! I felt drawn to different instruments and now find myself playing banjo, ukulele, mandolin, bass, drums as well as piano, cello and guitar! I will play anything with strings.
I lost my Mum to cancer in 2012 which was incredibly hard, but made me realize how short life can be. This kick started my career as a recording artist. I was lucky enough to have enough time to tell her my plan and so she designed the artwork for my debut album Enchanted. I have since released my second album, Waves and currently working on the release of my third studio album, “To my Roots”.
Emma’s Mum playing her nylon string guitar.
How do you think music can bring people, who wouldn’t normally know each other, together?
Music is an incredibly powerful tool to bring people together. An example that springs to mind immediately is a live gig scenario. For me, it’s one of my favourite things I do! A room full of people all sharing one intimate moment together. Music is hugely cathartic and can bring emotions to the very front.
Emma supporting Take That
You’re now going out into communities to link them with your music and with planting – what are the connections for you there about? With people, nature and music?
I have been a very long standing lover of nature, and I wanted to find a new and unique way to bring together people who love music and people who love nature whilst sending a strong and positive message into the world with the medium of a music video. My idea is to film communities planting a tree in their local area (followed by a live performance from me) and then edit the footage together to create a beautiful music video, spreading the word about just how important looking after the environment is, and how we can all be a part of leaving a legacy for others to benefit from and enjoy.
What potential do you think there is for communities – whether grouped by location or passion – with music?
Music choice is personal to every one of us and yet when we come together to enjoy a gig or a concert it’s natural for us to connect with one another as we share this experience. In those moments of connection we create special bonds with our fellow music lovers and each one of those connections can lead to further moments and experiences to be shared together. As a musician, I’m in a unique and privileged position, as I can encourage others with musical talent to share their gift with the group and this prompts others to have the confidence to join in. This camaraderie and mutual support creates a space where community members can express themselves more fully and this has the potential to create more friendships within the group.
Which communities will you be working with while filming your music videos and how can people become involved?
I’m thrilled to be working with Big Lunch Extras, Woodlands Trust, Nissan Leaf and Media For Good and so far the dates we have booked for the community tree planting and music days are:
12th November – Llandrindod Pomarium Community Orchard, Rock Park, Wales
16th November – Holme Hall, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
24th November – St Botolphs Church, The Hill, Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent
Music is an incredibly powerful tool to bring people together.