Dear Willow is the solo project of Sunshine Coast singer/ songwriter EmJ France.
Despite being only 21 years old, EmJ has spent a considerable part of her life dedicated to making music.Teaching herself guitar at the age 14, as well as singing from not long after her first words were spoken as a child, EmJ has an undeniable love and passion for music.
The origin of the project's name stems back to her childhood when she would look at herself in the mirror, and she would see a girl much braver than herself who she named Willow. For EmJ, Dear Willow is a way for her to convey her own emotional experiences through music.
Leading up to her tour of south-east Queensland, EmJ says while she's looking forward to it, she's also been finding the experience “a little bit stressful. I recently got married, so I feel a little bit behind on everything. Basically it's been a long time coming to try and get another song out.
“I released a bit of demo single a year or two ago called 'World In A Glass'. My brother and I did that one; he's a sound engineer student, so we just went in and had a bit of fun. I've been wanting to record for a long time but I only just got the capacity to do it in the last few months. I've been working with Heliport Studios to do that. It's been a bit of work to see how the best ways to do it are, it's just a whole lot of learning at the moment.”
Soon to release a new single titled 'Father's House', EmJ explains that it's: “a sort of nostalgic song. That song took me the longest time to write, I only just finished it when I was recording it. I started writing it about a year and a half ago. The story behind is about growing up on the farm in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands.
“I grew up living with my dad. It was just me and my dad and we were just best friends. When I wrote the song about when I was leaving high school, we had a bit of a blue. I wasn't on the best terms with him and it was pretty heart-wrenching. It's like when you miss your best friend and everything just goes out of whack. It's about making up with my dad and becoming best friends again and saying sorry for anything that I did wrong.”
EmJ will also be releasing a video for the single as well. “We just did that with a GoPro, it's getting edited at the moment. The song is a bit of a journey of how I went away from having that relationship with my dad to coming back to it. We wanted the film clip to show a journey.
“My husband Ryan and I went to Canada for our honeymoon. Ryan was filming the travelling that we did and the different experiences. Then we filmed driving back out to my dad's house, just going back home after all of the craziness and all of the lead up to the bits and pieces that had been happening with the wedding. That portrayed a bit of the stress and emotion that I did feel when I was younger and away from my dad.
“The end of the film clip is just me going back out to the farm and just being home and feeling safe again. It's very raw, it's hand held and shot on a GoPro, so there'll be a bit of shakiness. But I just wanted it to be more raw and stripped down,” she explains.
EmJ is planning on releasing an EP for Dear Willow later this year. “It'll be the first glimpse of my songwriting. There will be different sorts of songs in there just to show people what I've been working on. I haven't decided which songs will go on the EP yet. There will be some slower ones that will show growing up because I am still pretty young. This will be me showing people my journey with music.
“There will be songs that are a bit more upbeat and have a bit more attitude as well. It's all very folk based.”
Dear Willow Tour DatesSat 11 Apr - Bangkok By Night (Sunshine Coast)
Sun 12 Apr The Solbar (Sunshine Coast)
Fri 17 Apr - The Green Room (Sunshine Coast)
Sun 19 Apr - The Triffid (Brisbane)
Sat 25 Apr - The Loft (Gold Coast)
Tue 5 May - O'Malleys (Sunshine Coast)
Fri 8 May - Wharf Tavern (Sunshine Coast)