Emily Shirley
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Emily Shirley

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD Review - Emily Shirley, Tiny Truths (2010)"

Sometimes, an EP is the perfect size. An artist accomplishes her goal in a small handful of songs and it's enough. There are no second rate songs thrown in to fill out the album: perfect artistic focus. Heck, some artists just release singles as they record them. On Tiny Truths, Emily Shirley has created her latest demo. It's a loose collection of songs designed to show her range and every song is strong. Consequently, it's a great listen, but it's frustrating because it's too short. I want to hear more of what Shirley has to offer beyond these five songs.

Like many female singer-songwriters, Shirley's strong voice is the focus. It's all too easy to look for signs of Tori Amos or Suzanne Vega - you could find traces here - but Emily Shirley is closer to Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde). Some of that is due to the material and well planned (and well executed) arrangements.

The high point is Taking the Sun. At one level, it's a breakup song, but there's a depth beyond the obvious interpretation. It starts out sparse and open. After this intro, it takes on a degree of strain and the music builds. Then it hits a chorus that sends shivers:
I'm taking the sun and you can't have it back
I'm taking the moon and I will paint it black
Her voice is calm and a little sad that it's come to this. There's a powerful psychic energy buried in this song that comes out as the guitars throw a little bit of distortion against the wistful sound of Shirley's voice. Taking the Sun is the song that evokes Concrete Blonde the strongest on Tiny Truths. Like the album, I wish the song lasted longer, just so I could wallow in it.

Later, Blueberry Song pulls off a Tom Waits sound, primarily with an arrangement that creates a carnival feel along with some interesting instrumentation. The mood here couldn't be more different from Taking the Sun, but it's also compelling and original. The solo version doesn't quite hit the same spot, but it's still good.

I'd love to see Emily Shirley break out of Austin and take on the world, if only so I can hear more of what she has to offer. Tiny Truths is available on Amazon, buy it here and help make that happen.

Now I'm longing for a Celis Grand Cru (from when Pierre was running things). - Jester Jay

"Le Diamant Brut: Carissa's Wierd & Emily Shirley"


What’s the Deal: Emily Shirley is a graphic designer and musician living in Austin, and she’s just released her new EP, Tiny Truths.

Her music has until now remained largely off our radar, an unfortunate symptom of a music scene as large as Austin’s. However, with tracks like “Blueberry Song,” Shirley has our attention. The song has a haunting gypsy folk feeling with a low-blowing horn beat, faint string plucking and eerie vocal effects. “Flowers,” also off the EP, begins with a similar folky feeling, but moves more into an optimistic light with a noticeable Nellie McKay influence, which she lists along with Joni Mitchell, Rufus Wainwright and many others.

Something Interesting: We couldn’t find a listing for any upcoming shows for Shirley on her site or floating out there in information land, but if you cross paths with her sound on the streets of Austin, we suggest taking a second to explore it.

Other Tracks Worth Checking Out: “Fiberoptic” - Austinist

"Emily Shirley - Tiny Truths"

In the online bio that Emily Shirley has up on CD Baby she explains the reason she is a musician. “I write songs because I don't have a choice. It's a necessary form of creative expression that I'm passionate about - and it's brought about tremendous connection throughout the course of my life and career.”

Her Tiny Truths EP was released in July 2010 and thank God she has no choice to write songs, because the five songs she performs on this record is a wonderful addition to the great song of life.

She has passion. She writes with conviction. She delivers with a Meredith Brooks /Alanis Morissette / Nelly McKay vibe. On the initial track, “Flowers” she paints a picture about life using the analogy of a person who’s the anti-green thumb (I can relate). She continues with the laid-back style of “Taking The Sun” and the brilliant “Earnest.”

My favorite track is the tongue-in-cheek “Blueberry Song” which is a crawlingly poppy song that almost sounds like a theatrical performance piece with a mandolin rhythm. She wrote the song for her daughter before she was much bigger than a blueberry. “I am a great sleeper / Oh how I wish it were a sport. Oh, Oh. I am a great sleeper / And my bed it is the court. Oh Oh.”

The echoing sounds of “Quiet Hours” completes Tiny Truths.

One thing of note that isn’t music related is the beautiful album art. For me it became even more impressive when I learned Shirley designed it herself. Apparently in addition to being a powerful singer and songwriter she is an accomplished graphic designer.

I was not able to find out where she plays next, but I hope to check her out live at some point. Keep tabs on her at http://www.emilyshirley.com/.
- Sean Claes

"Emily Shirley Releases Duotone EP…and you need a copy"

From the moment I clicked play on Emily Shirley‘s Duotone EP, I was blasted off into a world of catchy, melodic, big-sounding, epic, jazzy indie pop… and I’m hooked. Emily Shirley has a new fan.

Listening to the opening song “Starstruck”, I feel happy. I feel cool…really cool. Like sippin’ top-shelf bourbon in an upscale jazz club cool. And the EP just gets better from here.

Emily has some serious soul and she isn’t afraid to let it shine. She has class. She has spunk. This music is going to take her and her listeners places they have never been before. I highly recommend you head over to her website and support this EP.

Emily’s fusion of frequencies into a beautiful soundscape will appeal to fans of genres across the board.

This is probably one of the best EPs I have heard from a singer/songwriter since the last time I typed those words. Go grab Duotone now. - Middle Tennessee Music


Duotone (2015)

Tiny Truths EP (2010)



Emily has been performing music all her life. She got a modest start with piano lessons and singing in church choir, school choirs and music theatre, and collegiate acapella. From 2002-2006 she fronted the Boston-based band Amun Ra, with whom she she played up and down the East Coast and recorded two full-length albums. Emily  studies voice with Mark Baxter (Steven Tyler, the cast of Rent, Paolo Nutini, Aimee Mann) and has taught voice herself, to students of all ages at Red Leaf School of Music, 2007-2014. 

In 2010, soon after becoming a new mom, Emily released her first solo EP, Tiny Truths. She has been an active member of the indie-pop Austin band, The Belle Sounds, since 2013.
 In 2014, with her daughters no longer babies, Emily connected with Producer Mark Hallman (Carol King, Ani Difranco) and rekindled the inspiration to get back in the studio. It follows that she wrote and released 5 singles during that year, a collection she now calls Duotone.