Boy Trouble

17 July 2012 | 8:00 am | Benny Doyle

"I’ve had a dream about what the cover will look like so I’m interested to know if that will actually happen or if it’s just a bad idea that came to me in a dream... if it doesn’t come true then it’s like, ‘Dammit, I’m not psychic’.”

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Emma Louise has fast become the little songstress that could. From treating passersby at the West End market and supporting local players like James Grehan, to opening up the stage for bands like Boy & Bear and inking North American and European label deals, the times have definitely changed for the Cairns-bred, Brisbane-based songwriter. Hell, even Gotye, the hottest Australian musical figure currently on the planet, is big upping her tuneful prowess.

Although her talents reach much further back than 12 months ago, her intimate YouTube channel attesting to that, it was the release of her debut EP Full Hearts And Empty Rooms last April that really catapulted her into the heads and hearts of thousands. Since then, for the casual outsider looking in, it seems as though Louise's rise has been rapid and resolute. The singer reasons though that every stride has been conscious, each move forward making one more thing obtainable.

“To be honest, it never really felt like an explosion,” she says. “I think because behind the scenes I have been pushing this machine along and we're all working towards something new. It's more been about the little steps, like, 'Okay, this is going to help that next tour along' sort of thing, just because we're an independent in Australia.”

But as cool, calm and composed as this 20-year-old seems on her steep ascent, she still hasn't eluded those 'Oh my god!' moments and other epiphanies that shape any young musician's career. Louise recalls the point last year where she really felt things were taking a turn for the serious.

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“I think when I got to sing a song with Josh Pyke,” she remembers, speaking of her shared stage time during his Only Sparrows' national tour last September, where she took over the vocal lines of Little Birdy's Katy Steele on Pyke's track Punch In The Heart. “Because he was my idol when I was a teenager; I just thought that was really crazy because I listened to his music through every year of high school. So when I got up and did that duet it was just, 'Wow'; I never thought I would have been able to do that and I'm still totally stoked by it. During that tour, certain songs like Say My Name and The Lighthouse Song, that stuff had similar things to what I was feeling too. To me they're songs about being away and missing home, so I'd sit to the side of the stage when he would play them and relate in a really close and different way. The experience was just amazing.”

Louise informs that she only has a few songs left to complete her much-anticipated debut record. And then it's on to “the best part” as she simply puts it, the final touches which involve painting the album with various shades of beauty and turning her glistening individual odes into a cohesive and flowing body of work.

“I'm working with a guy called Matt Redlich and my bass player Graham Ritchie,” Louise tells. “Together they are helping me creating the album and it's really good because I know what I want but I can't actually do it mechanically, so I'll explain it and they know what to do technologically – I think we're working really well.” And fans won't have to wait long for the results, Louise revealing that we can expect the LP during the coming summer. “I think it will be released at the beginning of next year,” she confirms, “and I've had a dream about what the cover will look like so I'm interested to know if that will actually happen or if it's just a bad idea that came to me in a dream... But it's so hard to tell – if it doesn't come true then it's like, 'Dammit, I'm not psychic'.”