We humans are often defined based on a single thing. For some it could be a career choice. For others it might be a character trait or even an event. For Miss Emily, it would be simple to say that she’s defined by her unparalleled voice, or by Maple Blues Female Vocalist of the Year awards in 2020 and 2022, or by a 2022 Juno nomination for Blues Album of the Year. While that type of recognition is flattering, she would encourage you to seek a broader definition of who she is.
Emily Fennell’s earliest memories swirl through the dusty Canadian fairgrounds of Southern Ontario. Accompanied by her parents, she pursued her love of performing at county fair singing competitions where the creaky floorboards of outdoor stages laid down the backbeat. Later as a young adult, Miss Emily emerged from a soul-drenched gumbo of blues, old school R&B and jazz. With Ray Charles and Aretha as her mentors and K.D. Lang as her benchmark she went to school. Studying her craft on the side roads, backroads and highways of Ontario; she played every juke joint and nightclub that would have her. When she was pregnant with her daughter Piper, she took up residency at The Merchant Taphouse in Kingston. Every Friday night she preached love, happiness and harmony to jam-packed crowds and in the midst of the cover songs, she’d throw in a few of her own. Soon the set lists would be more hers than theirs and as she fell in love with her adopted hometown of Kingston, Kingston fell in love with her. It’s a love that flourished as she played festivals and music halls, six sell-out shows at the Isabel Bader Theatre and most recently the historic Grand Theatre. Throughout her journey, despite the advice of highly-placed music industry insiders, never once did Miss Emily assume a persona or adopt a character. She is hilarious in her honesty, heartfelt in her compassion, touching in her grief but always and forever, she is simply her genuine self on stage and off. That naked commitment to the truth has never been more apparent than in her sixth studio album, “Defined By Love”. It’s a warts-and-all diary of a year filled with confusion and anger, lost relationships and found humanity.
It’s three words and the fine line between friends, lovers and foes.
It’s walking the road less travelled but making that road your own.
It’s a 12-song meditation on deception, pain, resilience and finding strength among the ruins of heartbreak and it’s already receiving rave reviews:
“She’s got a voice on her: Big velvet thunder… The convincing ballad Three Words would make Adele and Etta James cry. Miss Emily doesn’t spell out what the three words are. She doesn’t have to. She shouldn’t have to.” – Brad Wheeler, arts reporter with the Globe and Mail.
“Possessing one of the sweetest voices ever, Miss Emily previously captured female vocalist, rising star and video of the year honors in the 2020 Maple Blues Awards. She delivers 11 azure originals laced with soul and a dash of jazz along with a single cover.” – Marty Gunther, Chicago Blues Guide
“Oh MAN what a voice! … When it comes to soulful singing, there aren’t many that can hold a candle to Miss Emily. … her soul drenched gumbo of blues, old-school R&B and jazz reaches right into your chest cavity to give the ol’ ticker a good squeeze.” – John Kereiff (October 3, 2022 – Hot Wax Album Reviews by the ROCK DOCTOR)
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 response.
And sooner than anybody can predict, the world will shine a bright, white spotlight on the soul-blues dynamo known as Miss Emily.
To book Miss Emily in the USA please contact:
Rae Jean Erickson