TELL us about yourself;
My name is Emma Langford. I’m a performing artist and songwriter, an animal lover, a chronic procrastinator, an event curator, and list-maker.
I love a good collaboration — I’ve been all about them over the past couple of years, and curated a tour last year where each show was a double bill with a new musical line-up.
I hate phones at gigs recording the magic — what I love most about music is sharing a unique space and time with like-minded people, the ephemeral quality of a one-off lived experience.
I’m the founder of the Limerick Lady, a grass-roots feminist arts movement in Limerick focused on promoting conversations around gender and gender balance in the creative industries. Right now that’s manifesting in the form of a monthly podcast with my co-host, musician and theatre-maker, Ann Blake.
Where were you born?
Where do you live?
Limerick, but many would suggest a different planet. I’ve moved around a lot and spent a lot of my early teen years on Paul Street in Cork wearing net gloves, Penneys corsets, and purple lipstick, eating fresh-baked mini doughnuts, and pretending to know who Metallica were.
Dad’s from Mallow in Cork and mom’s from Askeaton in West Limerick — they met at UCC, they were both studying science. They did their share of moving about as well, and we wound up in Limerick sort of by accident. They started their sign-writing and window-painting business here in Limerick, so I grew up in quite an artsy household. I’m the middle child of three girls.
I’m lucky to have some really excellent people in life — I don’t really do well in groups, so I don’t have a big group of friends per se. I have my excellent boyfriend who has been hanging out with (read: putting up with) me for a little over six years now, plus a gorgeous creative network of pals all over the country and beyond, but my numero uno is Steve.
We don’t get to see each other even half enough because she lives in Laois and there’s a pesky pandemic going on, but I met my bestie Deirdre (I call her Steve, college nickname) in UL around 10 years ago, through Drama Soc I think? We were joined at the hip, to the degree that people often assumed we were a couple, despite both of us being in monogamous heterosexual relationships at nearly all times. We bonded over a mutual love for whisky, everything from the ’80s, and turning nearly any occasion into an excuse for fancy dress, including just cleaning the house or cooking dinner.
Person you most admire?
Right now it’s probably Denise Chaila. She’s an incredible writer, performer, artist, speaker and advocate for herself and for others. We have a wealth of black Irish artists, and they all deserve like a year off right now for the amount of vulnerability they’ve offered up in educating the world on what’s going.
Favourite TV programme?
I’m hooked on Schitts Creek, it’s a gorgeous feelgood show, and Moira Rose is a style icon.
Favourite radio show?
Movies And Musicals with Aedín Gormley on Lyric FM of a Saturday afternoon, John Creedon’s show or Fiachna on Late Date on RTÉ Radio 1 — all perfect shows full of great music and minimal chatter, great for unwinding.
Your signature dish if cooking?
That’s a big ‘if’ — I don’t often cook! Happy enough with butter on cream crackers for dinner, few slices of apple with peanut butter maybe. I do make a mean banoffee pie though.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Scoozis, it’s where my parents would always bring us as kids, but I’m more of a ‘grabbing a coffee to go’ kinda gal these days!
Last book you read?
Other Words For Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin — it’s brilliant, she has a real skill for world-building, and for description — reading it feels like ASMR, like the words are tickling the back of your eyes somehow. If you haven’t experienced it you probably have no idea what that means... I was completely immersed in it. I’ve been on a mission to read books by Irish authors this year and so far it’s been a wonderful journey.
Best book you read?
I read a lot so this is a difficult question! I don’t agree with how she does everything, but Amanda Palmer’s The Art Of Asking was a real game-changer for me, I read that in September last year and it changed how I thought about my career, my relationships, and how I make music.
Last album/CD/download you bought?
I love buying CD’s direct from the artist at a gig, when I have the association of my happy memories of the show. I bought Wallis Bird’s gorgeous album Woman on vinyl in November last year, at her show in Freiburg in Germany. I’ve gotten a bunch of singles and EPs since, but that’s the last album I bought!
Ask me to pick a favourite star in the sky why don’t you?
One person you would like to see in concert?
Etta James, her shows look like a religious experience.
Do you have a pet?
I’d love to rescue a senior dog in the next year or so.
Morning person or night owl?
Definitely a night owl, I get most of my work done later in the day or at night time, which isn’t ideal for a musician in ‘shared accommodation’ (code for: I’m still at home with the folks).
Your proudest moment?
I’ve had a few of them recently, moments when I realise I’ve learned to value myself, stand my ground and express myself well when speaking out. They haven’t all been big, public moments, but it took a bit of slogging in this industry for me to get there so they’re milestones for me. It was also really special to hear that one of my songs featured in my secondary school’s graduation ceremony this year.
What makes you happy?
Dogs, ice cream, being near the sea, a really good sun-patch to sit and read or fall asleep in, when one afternoon pint turns into a big long night with excellent people, fresh warm socks after spending the day barefoot, seeing good things happen for good people.
What else are you up to at the moment?
I’m hosting weekly virtual sing-songs on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, with special guest interviews and performances. We explore a different theme and raise funds for a different cause every week.
I’m also about to release a great new line of wearable merch inspired by my recent releases, I’ve hand-painted and handwritten the designs, so they have a very personal touch to them. I’d wear them! And I’m releasing my second album, Sowing Acorns, in September. In 2016 I wasn’t going to pursue a career in music, and now here I am about to release my SECOND album. It’s a special collection of songs, it really is. It’s available to pre-order on CD at emmalangfordmusic.bandcamp.com/merch/
Hopefully I’ll be able to take it on the road at the end of the year and share it live with all you beautiful Echo Live readers!