Emma Elena Grace
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Emma Elena Grace

Hamilton, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Hamilton, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Emma Elena Grace's This Side of the Room"

Twenty-one year old singer and songwriter Emma Elena Grace Thompson grew up in a musical family in Waterdown dreaming of making her own songs in her youth but it wasn't until her recent post-secondary stint that her musical career took shape. This week, the artist now known as Emma Elena Grace [to avoid confusion with the famous actor named Emma Thompson] releases her debut full-length CD, "This Side of the Room".
"I grew up in a very musical family - it's been in my life since I can remember," recalls Thompson. "The Dixie Chicks are one of my biggest influences and they're kind of the reason I learned how to sing. My dad has always been massively into music and taken me to shows. He's been a massive influence on me and my music. - my dad is really into country music so I guess that's worked its way into my music but I wouldn't call myself country. I picked up the guitar when I was 15 and that's how I started writing my own songs. I went to school in London at Fanshawe for their music industry arts program and from there got more serious about music with the people I met there.
Thompson met producer Brandon Pero who immediately wanted to help produce a full-length recording of Thompson's self-described "contemporary pop/rock blended with country soul".
"Brandon was helping me film some cover videos for Youtube.com but then he asked if I had some original songs and he really wanted to help record them," says Thompson. "We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, we thought it'd be a couple of weeks or a couple of months - we started off small and it turned into a two year project. We recorded it at two studios in Toronto and Aurora in between projects we were doing for school. The main recording happened in the summer. I think school got in the way of this project."
With solid performances and radio-friendly production you might not even realize this is Emma Elena Grace's first offering - and she's already developed enough groundswell to sell out the CD release party for the new disc.
"Six of these songs are the first songs I ever wrote, before I thought they'd become anything," confides Thompson. "All of my songs are pretty sad, about heartbreak and all that. Sometimes songs come out of me that aren't necessarily personal stories but they are what they are. The album title came from one of my song lyrics - my dad ended up suggesting it - the songs all stem from one place and they were all written in my bedroom pretty much so This Side of the Room fit these songs best."
"I think theres something for everyone to connect with - maybe not all the time but there are elements of different genres, artists," adds Thompson. "I just want to do whatever feels right. For this show I'm having a full band, doing a lot of songs from the new album and a couple of covers. And it's going to be a really good night. I'm excited. Music isn't something I chose, it just is in me - I haven't figured it all out yet, I'm just focusing on the release party this weekend and seeing where this takes me after that."

Emma Elena Grace plays this Thursday August 20 at the Gasworks with JoJo Worthington and Mermaids Exist. Tickets are $10 [at press time the event is now sold out]. Click on emmaelenagrace.com - View Magazine

"Emma Elena Grace - This Side Of The Room"


Taste is a hard quality to judge, as it can be a very subjective issue. However, when it comes to music, there are some elements that are almost universally considered to be tasteful, such as a nice vocal harmony on a chorus, or a great band arrangement that supports a song without being a distraction. Many artists have a difficult time putting a record together, either from lack of experience or direction, or from being fed the wrong information by a producer (which happens all too often, especially with new artists). What may have started off as a bunch of great songs turns into a mess of an album that is soon to be forgotten by the oversaturated, music-loving population. Luckily, the artist in question for this review, Emma Elena Grace seems to have been in the perfect mindset when recording her debut album This Side Of The Room. It is a remarkably strong effort from a very talented singer and songwriter.

Grace explorers the pitfalls of love and lack thereof in this collection of heavy, beautifully crafted acoustic guitar pop songs. Her voice is gentle, yet still convincing in it’s sincerity. There is a storyteller quality to Grace’s vocal style that really sucks you into the songs and makes the listener feel what is being conveyed through the music. “Breakdown” is a great opening track, with a nice hook in the chorus that isn’t over done. “Bricks of Blue” is a heartbreaking tale of not being able to connect with a lover, sung over a slow tempo of brushed snares, violin, and soft piano. It is a standout song amidst an already strong set.

That is very much the style of the album: soft vocals delivering touching lyrics, backed by nice instrumentation, with some occasional vocal harmonies that are never overly present. Much credit is due to Grace herself, who wrote all the music and lyrics, as well as Brandon Pero who produced the record with her. This Side Of The Room would fit nicely in anyone’s playlist, perhaps squeezed between some of John Mayers’ later offerings or even Holy Williams’ latest record The Highway.

Although Grace’s debut album is a standout effort from a debut artist, there are still some moments where her inexperience comes to light. It would have been nice to hear her try a different approach to some of her vocals, as they are all basically in the exact same range and delivery on every song. I say this because she is such a gifted singer that one can’t help but want more grit and angst from her singing. Especially considering the lyrical themes, I found it all to be a little too nice across the board. The same goes for the music’s structure; the songs don’t ever shift from where they start, and there aren’t any surprises or breaks in the music. These are minor points though, and I would be hard pressed to fault the album much more than that.

I was even expecting it to decrease in quality towards the end, but to my surprise, the last two numbers “Where Love Goes” and “Here’s To You” were some of the highlights on the record.

Emma Elena Grace has really made a statement for herself with the release of This Side Of The Room. With her beautiful voice and exceptionally strong songwriting, this is a great folk-pop record from an artist I cannot wait to hear more from. - Bucketlist Music Reviews


This Side Of The Room (LP) - August 21, 2015.



Twenty-three year-old Waterdown native, Emma Elena Grace, is a singer-songwriter worthy of all ears. Her voice is distinctly captivating, while her songs have an uncanny ability to resonate within you on the first listen, and then stay awhile. Growing up listening to predominantly traditional country music at home, she internalized the art of storytelling through song, which she has carried with her to her own writing. Still, categorizing Emma Elena Grace is a hard thing to do. She possesses a style of her own, untethered and wide-ranging, while managing to stay grounded in her roots. With grace, she refuses to be pigeonholed. Emma Elena Grace released her debut album, This Side of the Room in August, 2015. She is currently working on her second studio album.

Praise for This Side of the Room:

"With solid performances and radio-friendly production, you might not even realize this is Emma Elena Grace's first offering" - VIEW Magazine

"Emma Elena Grace has really made a statement for herself with the release of This Side Of The Room. With her beautiful voice and exceptionally strong songwriting, this is a great folk-pop record from an artist I cannot wait to hear more from." - Bucketlist Music Reviews

Emma also won Best Singer/Songwriter at the 2016 Toronto Independent Music Awards.

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