about miss emily
In February of 2020, only days after Miss Emily celebrated the Maple Blues triple crown of Female Vocalist, New Artist and Sapphire Blues Video of the year, the world shut down. You could still hear the roar of the crowd as the door slammed shut on performances, recording and almost everything else in the music industry. For the first time in two decades, Miss Emily had an empty calendar. With no frame of reference for pandemics or lockdowns, it took some time to understand what the next steps should be. Somewhere between virtual shows and long nights sequestered in the music room, an idea began to take shape. Of the many cancelled shows, perhaps the most disappointing loss was a return to the venue that had become a second home; The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in her adopted hometown of Kingston. After six sellout, foundation-rattling shows, fans, band, and team members alike had been looking forward to extending the streak. In a moment of reminiscence and sadness, it occurred to Emily that she had professional recordings from each show at the Isabel. That’s nearly ten albums worth of songs.
After a quick call, Team Emily got to work reviewing every song from each of the six shows. It was a monumental task but with time frozen in the wake of COVID, trimming 150 songs down to 15 tracks went from nearly impossible to a recorded reality by fall of 2020.
“LIVE at the Isabel” was released on October 30, 2020 to rave reviews but due to the never-ending pandemic she couldn’t promote it with a tour. So instead, Team Emily submitted it for JUNO consideration. When we shared our submission with music industry insiders, the responses were not what we expected. “You submitted a live album – that’s crazy.”
“Live albums don’t get nominated. It’s a waste of time.”
Crazy? Not really.
Waste of time? Definitely not.
On March 1st, 2022 Miss Emily, “LIVE at the Isabel” was nominated for the JUNO Blues Album of the Year.
Photo: Bernard Clark
That sequence of events - from the Maple Blues Awards of 2020 to the 2022 JUNO Nominations - encapsulates all you need to know about Miss Emily. She specializes in overcoming insurmountable challenges and scaling metaphorical mountains. Her work ethic was forged in the foundries of Southern Ontario’s bars and nightclubs. Her resilience is a product of 20 years in an industry that can be, at best, “unfriendly” towards women. She has an innovative spirit and creative force born out of necessity, and her incomparable vocals are surpassed only by her electrifying, roof-rattling performances.
What’s next for Miss Emily? The future is still being written but we can assume a few things. Something will happen that would shatter the character of the strongest soul and she’ll overcome it with grace and unrestrained optimism. Someone will tell her, “No,” and she’ll move forward in spite of the negative
And sooner than anybody can predict, the world will shine a bright, white spotlight on the soul-blues dynamo known as Miss Emily. It’s only a matter of time.