Emma Rowe’s new single ‘Lioness’ pounced onto the Australian music scene earlier this year, with teeth bared and attention demanded. The Darwin-based singer/songwriter is now touring the newly released single, along with two bonus tracks ‘Beach Song’ and ‘Devil.’ We caught up with the lioness herself mid-tour to chat about her sound and the story behind the record.

TEO: You’ve recently described your new single ‘Lioness’ as a “song of lust and metaphors.” What’s the story behind the track?
Emma: ‘Lioness’ is about being awestruck by a luminous human. I distinctly remember writing the first two lyrics, and knowing it was going to be one of my favourite songs—it is my favourite song to play live! I knew from the start I wanted it to be a powerful rock anthem, to accurately reflect the person I was crushing on at the time.

‘Lioness’ is edgy and powerful—quite different from your softer songs like ‘Mouth Shut’ and ‘Sing for You.’ How do you think your sound has developed since your 2016 EP MRO?
I have definitely been more heavily influenced by rock ‘n’ roll since MRO. I listened to lots of Incubus, Foo Fighters, and Alanis Morrisette around that time, and I guess that sound naturally infiltrated the songs I was writing.

The letters “MRO” feature on your single cover for ‘Lioness.’ What do the letters stand for?
MRO is a phonetic abbreviation for Emma Rowe. Say it slowly—you’ll hear it. My friend discovered this in high school, and I’ve taken the credit ever since!

You generously included two bonus tracks to accompany ‘Lioness.’ How do the bonus tracks complement and support the lead single?
These songs are also heavily rock ‘n’ roll influenced. I feel that they complement ‘Lioness’ as they are strong and powerful, but also distinctive. Fun fact: ‘Devil’ is my dad’s favourite song!

Your voice has been described as “Annie Lennox’s and Alanis Morissette’s lovechild.” What do you make of that?
It’s the best, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t occasionally brag about it. Both of those artists are incredibly influential to me, and I take it as a massive compliment!

What is one of the most important things for a young musician to learn when trying to make it in the Australian music industry?
I am still learning, and I think it’s important to keep learning. Ask questions, take risks, and believe in your art. Don’t let the business side stifle your creativity. And make friends with people who are passionate and motivate you.

Finally, if you had to describe ‘Lioness’ in three words, what would they be?
Fierce. Cheeky. Loud.

Sunday, 23 September 2018 – ADELAIDE, Seacliff Surf Lifesaving Club

Saturday, 29 September 2018 – PERTH, The Civic Hotel

Thursday, 18 October 2018 – MELBOURNE, Bar 303

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Photos: supplied