You never know where you’ll find Emma-Lee. On any given day she could be rocking out with her band in a cozy tavern, performing solo acoustic opening up for Chris Isaak, putting a spell on a sultry ballad with Jesse Cook or singing her heart out with Toronto’s elite at Massey Hall. A charismatic performer known for her velvety voice that No Depression Magazine called“powerful and fragile at the same time with a range and ability to dive around notes that would make k.d. lang jealous” it is not uncommon for Emma-Lee’s presence to silence even the most boisterous audience.
Born and raised in Toronto, Emma-Lee splashed on to the Canadian music scene in 2008 with the release of her debut album Never Just A Dream. On the strength of her own publicity efforts the album garnered glowing reviews first from The Toronto Star (4/4 stars) and then The Globe and Mail (3.5/4 stars & disc of the week). In addition to immediately landing a record deal and management, this sudden spotlight gave way to opportunities such as the iTunes song of the week, a national television performance on CBC news Sunday, an Independent Music Award, a showcase at the prestigious SXSW conference in Austin, TX and further critical acclaim.
In 2012 Emma-Lee released Backseat Heroine through eOne Music Canada. Often compared to a young Bonnie Raitt, Emma-Lee describes the album as being a mix of pop, rock, country and soul. The album was mostly recorded at a studio called “The Chalet” in Uxbridge, ON. Wanting to capture live, emotional performances Emma-Lee, her regular touring band and producers Marc Rogers and Karen Kosowski moved into the studio for a week and laid down tracks at all hours of day and night, allowing for organic takes to be documented. Maverick Magazine UK called it “compelling and awe-inspiring”, Montreal’s Sors-Tu called it a“poignant disc of great finesse, the second proposal of an artist with a very promising future.” Emma-Lee was invited to perform songs from the album on Canada AM, Breakfast Television (in numerous cities including Toronto, Ottawa, Regina and Saskatoon). The first single “Not Coming By” received frequent play on CBC Radio 2′s morning show and the “Drive” show which yielded a significant increase in awareness for the album and a growth in fan base. Her video for the second single “Figure It Out” was added into heavy rotation on Much More Music while “Not Coming By” and “Shadow Of A Ghost” got picked up by CMT. Her many placements in film and television such as Degrassi, Teen Wolf, Saving Hope, Beauty & The Beast (to name a few) have been a great platform for Emma-Lee to connect with an international audience. That international connection is beginning to grow stronger as “Backseat Heroine” was released throughout Europe in April 2013 with German label In-Akustik. The album “Backseat Heroine” was also recently awarded “Best Adult Contemporary Album” in the 12th annual Independent Music Awards.
Of recent note Emma-Lee recorded vocals for two songs on Juno winning artist Jesse Cook’s new album “The Blue Guitar Sessions”. Their cover of “I Put A Spell On You” has received considerable radio play on the CBC as well as accolades from such media as “The Washington Post”. She also performed the songs live in a concert special that was filmed for television and played regularly on PBS. Emma-Lee finished off 2012 by opening for Jesse on a Canadian tour that left many new fans in her wake. In 2013 she re-visited these cities on a very successful tour with Peter Katz.
Currently Emma-Lee is working on material for her third album as well as writing music with and for other artists and their respective projects.