Jemima is a singer-songwriter from Newcastle, Australia. She started writing songs at about eight or nine years old (back then Jemima wrote about dogs and nothing else), then she decided in her early teens that she wanted to do this [music] as a job, and she has never changed her mind. “I started busking at 15,” Jemima reveals to Eat This Music at the start of our Q&A, “I’d do the 1-hour bus ride into town by myself, with my little amp and music stands, and sit on the pavement singing the same 10 cover songs on repeat.”
As Jemima got older, she started playing at restaurants and pubs and at 20, “I moved to London to pursue music further,” she continues. “It ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.” Now Jemima is living back in Australia, which is where she has just wrapped up recording her debut EP.
“I’m feeling good!” Jemima expresses to Eat This Music, “I’ve been flat out working on my single release (in a few days’ time) and my EP release (in September).” Jemima is an independent artist and self-managed, so it is a lot of work for one person; plenty of research and learning and mistake-making and staying up ‘til 4 AM. But Jemima does enjoy every aspect of it.
“Thank you so much! It feels surreal,” Jemima expresses on the release of ‘As You Are‘, “especially thinking about the whole journey of the song.” Going into detail on the creative aspect of the single, Jemima explains that “From the moment you sat down to write it, all the things you felt with the pen in your hand, and how the song evolved over time,” all played a part in her process. Then playing it to strangers at gigs and later on, “in the studio, making different creative choices (“should we put saxophone in this song? I think we should!”).” Then when it is finished and you are listening in your car, it feels like this abrupt ending to it all.
“It’s also odd not knowing how people will respond to it. You have no control over that of course, which is why it’s so important to make the music you want to make. And if people like it, then that’s an amazing bonus.” — Jemima on the release of her new single.
Explaining on what ‘As You Are’ is about, Jemima tells Eat This Music is about the process of falling for someone; from the initial intrigue to thinking that they’re the coolest damn person you know. “It’s also about letting your guard down, which makes you vulnerable but allows you to dive into the moment,” she says.
Jemima doesn’t usually write this way, however, it was a conscious decision to write an upbeat love song. “I’m a hardcore fan of ballads usually,” Jemima continues, “I wanted to write something that was just really fun and alive.” So Jemima picked up her guitar and this song spilled out of her in 15 minutes. Jemima decided right away that she wanted the song to sound like a ’60s track. As Jemima explains: “Which is why the song has ended up with sleigh bells, saxophone, and a ’66 Höfner violin bass (the same kind Paul McCartney used).”
On the relevance to her own life, Jemima tells Eat This Music that ‘As You Are’ is about a night she had in London and this song is, in a way, a celebration of the person she is singing about. “The decision to include some ’60s elements was also a personal one”, she adds, “I grew up listening to that music and so I jumped at the opportunity to create something with a similar sound.” This song is different to what Jemima has done before, but she would love to make more music like this in the future.
“I wanted to release this track to show a different side of me and my music. And the timing of the release was purely about wanting to get music out there as soon as I could.” — Jemima on why she wanted to release “As You Are”.
“As You Are” is one of the many songs to come off Jemima’s upcoming debut EP, an EP Jemima tells Eat This Music centres around this idea of things that are left unsaid. “Sadness you don’t show, feelings you don’t admit in the moment,” she reveals, “and all the songs are about experiences I had while living in London, and most of the tracks were written there too.”
All the stories in the EP are genuine and Jemima’s. Listeners can expect specific details, real emotions – nothing fabricated or forced. Jemima defines the aforementioned: “I always assumed my first releases would just be a collection of slow, sad songs but actually, there’s a lot of energy in this EP as well as more tender moments.” In fact, Jemima hopes people can relate to the things she is writing about and connect with the emotions that are there. Connecting with people through music is the most important thing to Jemima.
At the moment Jemima is working on music videos and merchandise, and she is recorded a song that she will release after the EP. “I’m focusing on putting more music out there, especially since these uncertain times have made it difficult to plan shows,” Jemima concludes.