Best-known for her strong, thought-provoking lyrics and ‘supremely expressive vocals’ (R2 Magazine), Emily Maguire’s songs have been played regularly on BBC Radio 2 and have won her fans across the globe.
Emily's story is a remarkable one. Classically trained as a child on cello, piano, flute and recorder, she taught herself the guitar and started writing songs when she found herself stuck at home with a chronic illness called fibromyalgia pain syndrome.
A few years later, back on her feet and fed up with grey skies and concrete, she decided to give up her flat in London for a shack made from recycled wood, tin and potato sacks on a farm out in the Australian bush.
For four years she lived an eco-friendly, self-sufficient lifestyle in the shack with her Australian partner, financing her music by making and selling goats cheese on the farm.
Following the release of her critically acclaimed albums ‘Stranger Place’ and ‘Keep Walking’, Emily returned to the UK touring extensively with some of the world’s great singer-songwriters including American legend Don McLean, Eric Bibb, Paul Brady and Roddy Frame.
The title track of ‘Keep Walking’ was playlisted on BBC Radio 2 in the UK and on ABC Radio across Australia. Emily’s third album ‘Believer’, a ‘masterpiece’ according to Maverick Magazine, won rave reviews in the music press with 2 songs playlisted on BBC Radio 2.
In 2010, her extraordinary book ‘Start Over Again’, a highly personal account of her experiences of dealing with bipolar disorder, was launched on BBC Radio 2 generating a huge response from listeners.
Following the publication of her book, Emily performed in psychiatric hospitals and daycare centres in Bristol and Manchester, leaving her audience of staff, carers and patients deeply moved by her songs and inspired by her openness and willingness to share her experiences of psychosis and depression.
After 7 months on the road in 2011 with the former lead singer of Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere, Emily took time out from touring in 2012 to write and record her fourth studio album ‘Bird Inside A Cage’. The album was produced by Nigel Butler (k.d. lang, Will Young, Robbie Williams) known to TV lovers as one of the producers on X Factor.
With its release funded entirely by Emily's fans, ‘Bird Inside A Cage’ was a bold departure from her previous recordings while still retaining all the underlying trademarks of her emotive, lyric-rich songs.
The title track of 'Bird Inside A Cage' was written for the award-winning Times journalist Melanie Reid, paralysed in a horse-riding accident in 2010, who described the song as her “candle in the wind moment” in her column in The Times Magazine. The album was released in July 2013.
Emily puts her classical training and cello-playing to good use, writing and recording string arrangements for her albums. She is passionate about songwriting. saying in a recent interview that "music to me is all about uplifting, comforting and inspiring people".
As an advocate for mental health, Emily speaks frequently in the media about combating the stigma of mental illness. In October 2013 she was interviewed by Libby Purves for ‘Midweek’ on BBC Radio 4, talking about her book ‘Start Over Again’ and her experiences of dealing with bipolar disorder.
She described how she had hidden the condition for years until she finally decided to confront the stigma and publish her book: “People said ‘you’re so brave’, but I didn’t feel brave, I just felt completely liberated. I could now talk about it. People could understand where these songs were coming from.”
In early 2014, Emily undertook a 3-month tour of psychiatric hospitals, singing her songs about surviving mental illness for staff and patients in mental health facilities across the south-west of England. The response from patients was overwhelmingly positive. As one member of staff put it: "This should happen more often - the difference in the SUs [service users] is quite amazing."
Following an intensive tour of Germany in June 2014, while rehearsing for the recording of an instrumental album she had just composed, Emily developed chronic tendonitis in both arms. She had to cancel all her gigs and was unable to play her instruments for the next 18 months. This caused a deep depression which lasted a year.
Now in 2016 and back on her feet again, Emily is publishing a new book 'Notes From The North Pole', a collection of poetry, prose and song lyrics put together during that dark time using dictation software as she was unable to type.
She is doing another tour of mental health hospitals and groups, with some low-key warm-up gigs booked for the autumn building up to the launch of her fifth studio album 'A Bit Of Blue' in February 2017. The album has once again been produced by Nigel Butler but has a completely different sound: haunting and minimalist compared to the multi-layered richness of 'Bird Inside A Cage'.
On her MySpace page Emily cites Bach, Bob Marley and Buddha as her influences. A practising Buddhist for over 15 years, her albums are all dedicated to her teacher Lama Jampa Thaye.