Emily Maguire is blowing music’s transformative powers through venues like dandelion seeds in the wind.
The singer-songwriter is spreading healing vibes on her latest album tour, stopping off in Barnoldswick.
“I experienced a dark time in life so I wanted the songs on the new record to be powerful,” she said. “I took out the bells and whistles for a raw, reflective album with just the piano, guitar and vocals. It has this haunting quality [but] people have said it’s really uplifting.”
“Music is just so powerful and primal for a human being. Tribes, for example, have nothing but as soon as they’re playing music, they light up. It’s like it’s in their veins. It can change your whole mood.”
Emily felt this power when touring her tracks in psychiatric hospitals and day care centres during a particular struggle with bipolar disorder.
“I did the tour because I lost all my confidence and had depression. Hospitals are places I feel really safe performing. It can be quite challenging because you’re singing to people who aren’t well but it’s incredibly rewarding.
“It’s lovely when people are let out of hospital and come to one of my gigs. I often get emails and amazing feedback from staff with comments from patients. There used to be music therapy but now there’s nothing for them to do. So to go with a guitar: it’s a great diversion.”
Emily sees the musician’s role not only as a healer but also somewhat of a mediator.
“I’m writing about things that affect most people. We’re all individuals but we all experience regret, despair and excitement. I don’t speak to only one group. The great thing about bipolar is that you can relate to everyone.”
“I’m very interested in the world around me, what people think and how they work. It’s like being in a big ocean and you have all these rivers of people you’ve met and experiences you’ve had.”
Songs, for Emily, are intricate buds of enlightenment: as time peels away, their deeper meanings burst into life.
“Song-writing really feels like you’re revealing something, like brass-rubbing. It’s only later when you realise what the song is really about.”
She wrote her first two albums while living in a shack in the Australian bush, financing her music by selling goat’s cheese.
“It was a very healing place to be and I could relax for the first time in a long time. My husband built me a meditation hut and I loved all the animals and had a goat farm.”
Today, her acoustic style reflects the emotional balance and harmony - of stability and playfulness - she hopes to instil in listeners: waves of jazz rippling through classical structures.
As a result, music, for Emily, flows out like a blanket of sunshine.
“When writing songs I don’t care about anything: I feel completely fulfilled.”
While song-writing bathes personal wounds in light and calm, performing, it seems, is all about sharing and translating that raw power into galvanising energy.
“When I’m on stage I want to inspire and comfort people. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
Emily will play at Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre on Saturday, June 3rd. Doors open at 7-30pm.
For tickets, priced at £10, call 01282 813374 or 07712 628 366.