ALTHOUGH she only learned to play the guitar as a diversion while studying for her Junior Cert exams, singing was Emma Langford’s first love.
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Having been expelled from playschool for living life as a musical, the singer-songwriter is now making waves not just in the Irish music scene but further afield.
“I was always singing, I got in trouble the whole time as a kid for singing non-stop. I got expelled from playschool for singing non-stop. The teacher would give me a direction or give out to me about something, and instead of following that direction, I would sing it back to her,” Emma told the Limerick Post Podcast.
“In Junior infants, I got put outside the classroom for talking out of turn or something, and I just took it as an opportunity to sing. So I would sit outside the class while everyone else tried to do work, singing at the top of my voice, with no regard for anything. So it’s always kind of been a thing.”
As natural as the singing came to her, it wasn’t until her teenage years that she picked up a guitar and, even more recently, honed her skills as a musician.
“I actually started out on drums. When I was 12 or 13 I really wanted to be a drummer. I started learning drums, and between various things – a big part of it being our house was never big enough to have a drum set anywhere that wouldn’t drive everyone crazy – it just didn’t work out.
“But I picked up the guitar, initially, when I was doing my Junior Cert as a way of procrastinating. My mom had been trying to push the guitar on me forever. Then my Junior Cert rolled around and I was expected to study.
“And to avoid that, I was like, ‘you know what, I’m suddenly mysteriously interested in the guitar’, and then picked it up, but it was only four years ago I’d say when I took an actual lesson. I fine-tuned my skills, and got rid of some of my bad habits”.
In 2018, the singer-songwriter got to tour in Germany as part of the 100 shows she performed that year. The highlight was “being able to see the gigs get better, and attendance get better.
“To go to a gig in the foothills of the Black Forest in Germany, and have someone in the audience know one of my songs and to come specifically to the gig just to hear that song was magical.
“It was ‘The seduction of Eve’ and she was sitting there in floods of tears crying. Moments like that are really vindicating, and just remind you that you’re kind of doing the right thing.”
Asked what she learned about herself on her tour of Germany, Emma replies “I learned what was important. And I learned how to wash clothes in a sink.
“I don’t take myself very seriously generally speaking, and I don’t like to wax lyrical too much about stuff, but last year I got booked for a festival in Vienna. It’s called Schottenfest and it’s all about the connection between Scottish people, Irish people, and Austrian people and how the Scotts and Irish built this whole section of Vienna.”
While there, Emma met Ray Heffernan, noted as writing Robbie Williams’ hit ‘Angels’.
“He had this really interesting idea. I’m sure it’s not a new one to a lot of people but he believed every seven years we ‘regenerate’, we reinvent ourselves. It kind of makes sense, you get to 14 and you’re a teenager growing into an adult, and then you get to 21 and society celebrates 21. You’re coming to 28 then and you realise things are changing, and you start to figure out what you want in life.
“That was last year for me very much. 28 was just that year when you figure out who you are, who you’re becoming and who you want to be. What kind of person you want to project out to the world. Last year doing those 100 gigs pushed me to my limit.”
Emma helped organise the ‘I Love Cranberries’ concert last July and that led to another voyage of self-discovery.
“Through that concert, I learned how much I had a passion for coordinating stuff, organising gigs and putting stuff on, and bringing people together”.
This set her “off on the trajectory of what I want to do now for the long haul, which is cool”.
During the Limerick Post Podcast, Emma was joined by Breezy, a (soon to be) eight-year-old Chilier, a Cavalier Chihuahua cross, who had a photo opportunity with her which features on her Instagram page dedicated to her other passion: introducing everyone to Limerick’s canine friends.
The singer is unsure how @dogs_of_limerick came about, but says, “it’s really fun, it’s just so silly. Such a simple idea.”
“So my first post ever was a dog called Rufus, I think he’s a Golden Retriever.
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“I saw him, and wanted to share a picture of him. I couldn’t justify doing it on my own Instagram account, because it would distract from the message. I post about dogs all the time. I just wanted a place people could go and see all the good dogs around Limerick.”
The “celebration of woofers, puppers and doggos that roam our beautiful county” now boasts more than 700 followers and Emma has documented more than 100 of Limerick’s canine companions.
You can now listen to #WeAreLimerick and other Limerick Post Podcasts on Acast