As a rising singer-songwriter with a distinctive voice and a passion for carrying her message, Limerick’s Emma Langford has emerged into the limelight of the Irish music scene slowly but firmly over the last few years. It’s been an odd journey for a woman who speaks eloquently and passionately, sings in a lyrically-sharp brand of folk-pop, and wears her beliefs on her sleeve.
“I didn’t know if I had it in me to take myself seriously as an artist, and sometimes I still don’t,” Langford recalls of her early days, when she was still battling with the idea of taking the music to a professional level. “I’m just fundamentally the kind of person who has a hard time taking myself seriously. But I’ve discovered that’s quite a nice place to be in the industry. I approach a lot of serious topics with a pinch of salt, and I really enjoy doing it.”
Most of Langford’s songs, she explains, are fairly autobiographical. “I challenge myself to go away from that,” she laughs. “I like to go into other people’s stories at times. People do tell you to write what you know, but I like to put myself in other people’s shoes. I have a few like that on my new album, which I think will be out in January next year.”
Langford’s whole career “happened by accident,” she jokes. “It’s that whole thing of ‘an overnight success takes ten years to create.’ I got asked to do a German tour, and the booker thought I was about to release an album. In the meeting, he needed the album by September. This was in March. So I made the album for the tour, in six months.”
“It happened by happy accident, but it put a fire under me, 100%. I started taking my career seriously because I wanted to say something about anxiety, and did through the track ‘Tug Of War’. It snowballed from there. This second album is the first time it’s felt like my choice, and there’s something quite empowering about that.”
“It’s mostly written now,” she says of the new record. “There are just a few guest vocals to do. It’s got some synths and some backing vocals and stuff like that. It’s a change of direction, and I feel good about it.” It’ll continue, no doubt, to shine a light on the things close to Langford’s heart.
“Talking about the anxiety, like in ‘Tug Of War’, doesn’t make me feel better,” she continues, “but I think standing on a stage and telling people that you deal with it, it helps you to help other people, and you feel like you’ve done your job. You feel like what you’re doing isn’t narcissism, but a fundamental part of what it is to be human, and connect.”
“There was a long time back there when I always wanted to be on the road, getting out of Limerick, but now I’m reverting a little, I want to get comfortable more than a day at a time. I’m keeping it simple now, though. I think I was trying to make things bigger than they were, because that’s the expected thing in music.”
“If it’s not authentic and organic, you feel a huge amount of pressure. I like the more intimate side of things. It’s not for everyone to get bigger. Audiences don’t have to become huge, and I’m not sure it’s necessary what I want. I’m pretty happy making a living.”