Image By Hannah Bronte //
Hailing from originally from Groote Eylandt, an island off the coast of the Northern Territory, Brisbane-based singer songwriter Emily Wurramara has had a whirlwind couple of years since the release of her 2016 debut Black Smoke. Gaining the attention of Triple J, thousands of YouTube views and a million Spotify listens are just some of the boxes she’s ticked in the past 24 months.
Her much anticipated debut Milyakburra, which sees her sing in the Groote Eylandt indigenous dialect, Anindilyakwa, as well as English, is something of a love-letter to the smaller island Milyakburra where she would visit her grandparents as a child and hear dreaming stories about her ancestral history.
Gliding between blissful indie-folk tracks and R & B groovers, Milyakburra is bound together by Wurramara’s uplifting voice which resides somewhere between smooth and salty in a way that impresses upon the listener and sticks with you for days. Production wise, the record has pop leanings but the soulfulness of the tracks is a delightfully raw and emotive experience.
Emily Wurramara will be hitting the road with Alice Skye for a run of shows in QLD, NSW, VIC and NT over June and July (info here), and check out our interview with the talent below:
I grew up with both English and Anindilyakwa. My language is a part of my identity and my songs express my identity and who I am.
Music is a universal language, it’s a tool for education that I feel needs to be utilised more. It’s an amazing way to learn something new and once you get the melody stuck in your head so the chain reaction follows.
Milyakburra is a very sacred and mystical Island. I always felt like I was in another realm where anything is possible, I remember going fishing and camping and helping my grandmother with her garden.
My life on Groote was filled with family, camping, island hopping and being surrounded by culture. My life in Brisbane is the same, the difference is the city is so busy and it feels like you’re always rushing to get stuff done. Groote life was more relaxed and really cruisy.
It was special!! I think it’s so important to sit down with our elders and listen, that’s literally all I did with her was just sit and listen, listen to her stories of her life and growing up and also what she experienced being an indigenous woman. That was tough. To have her voice archived in a song, it’s so so special.
At first no, it was just like a big jam! We just wanted to have fun and I really wanted to express myself as a songwriter and as a composer then all of a sudden when I heard everything I was like wow, this is pretty deadly. David Bridie let me go crazy on the improv haha.
They say it takes a village to raise a family, well literally it does. I have a huge support from my mum and my in-laws. My daughter is such a chill bubba, I take her along with me to my gigs and she absolutely loves it!
It’s been so gracious and so kind. Being my first album it’s kind of a big deal and I’m so proud of it and everyone involved, it really was a working progress. It’s different but I like different.
Omg Just everything! This tour is going to be amazing, it’s just a big family and baby is joining us too. Alice is like a sister to me so I’m so grateful to be sharing this experience with not only an incredible amazing singer but one of my bestest friends.
A pretty interesting live performance on tour! The harmonies are coming out loud! More experimenting with genres, I have a whole lot of music I can’t wait to compose, collaborate and share, it’s just gonna be amazing!!