There’s a weird irony that in the last few years, because of the growth of affordable and simple technology, musicians have found it easier and easier to get their music out there, yet on the same hand found it harder and harder to get heard. The traditional routes of exposure such as tour supports, plays on radio and coverage by the music press have become less effective and now musicians are having to use other routes to get their music heard.
Which is where today's new artist crops up. You may have already heard her debut single without realising. Or maybe you are one of the 14,000 people that has used Shazam to find out what it is? That is, if in the UK, you watch the vacuous abomination that is Love Island; a TV show that is absolutely not about love and more about who can get the biggest endorsement deal and Instagram following. Because that’s where Emillia Tarrant’s song, a cover of Michigan rappers NFs If You Want Love found its way to the ears of several million viewers.
Yes, Love Island is officially a #tastemaker.
Produced by Danton Supple who has worked with the likes of Coldplay, Suede and Elbow, Tarrant’s version of the song is absolutely stunning. Swapping the guitar for piano and the r ‘n’ b vocal for a hauntingly soulful delivery it marks Emillia down as a very special talent. The comparisons to Freya Ridings are almost inevitable; I get the same goosebumps as when I first heard Riding’s cover version of Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There's a hint of Grace Carter in the song's evocative delivery as well.
What’s more remarkable however is that the track doesn’t appear to be released by a major label predicting dollar signs; If You Want Love is self-released through her own Summer Freckle records.
So what's next? Tarrant isn’t going to be just about cover versions it seems. This 17 year-old from Winchester is gearing up to release original material later in the year.
Having played this weekend twice at Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival where she created quite a buzz amongst those who heard her, Emilia’s next shows are in London on August 29th at Camden Chapel (guest list only show) and then at Notting Hill Arts Club on September 17th for Gold Dust. More gigs will follow after that.
Time to fall in love with If You Want Love.