Suga Rush is the new single from the Sydney RnB and pop crossover superstar in the making, Emalia.
Whilst this might be the first time many have heard of the twenty-one year old, you’ll find a shit tonne of exciting work that already exists in the form of a trilogy of singles & videos released last year.
To discover more about Emalia and how she’s taking control of the music and visual work she creates, Nic Kelly’s in bold, Emalia’s in not-bold.
Have you been doing the Zoom recording sessions thing? Have you got a bit of a setup at home?
Yeah, I’ve got my own set up here. I’ve done quite a few of them. But I don’t know if I like them. They’re a bit like, I mean, I can make them work. But it’s just not the same as being in the room with a bunch of creatives. It’s a different atmosphere. I don’t know. And you get the, like, connection delays and when you can’t hear things properly, you’ve gotta still send voice memos back and forth. It can be a bit disruptive to the creative process.
Absolutely, it totally makes sense. But when you’re at home and you know, you mentioned you’re comping vocals today, what are the prerequisites for the setup? Is there something you like to have next to you? Is there a drink you like to have with you?
I always have to have tea. I always have rooibos tea. It’s great for your vocals, if I ever want to just jot down some little lines, but usually I’ll do like a vocal warmup for the day and then get stuck into admin a little bit and then I try to do all the creative stuff after that, so that I can stay in that zone.
That’s really interesting. So you find that doing the admin stuff first up is the clearing of the brain so you can be entirely creative for the rest of the day?
It can be. I mean, it kind of just depends on my mood. Sometimes I start and I’m like “oh no, this is gonna kill my vibe,” and I’ll do it later but usually I’ll do them in blocks.
Let’s talk about what you’ve put out so far. You’ve put out this beautiful trilogy of singles. Talk to me about the idea of that because I think it was the great Jojo, of Leave (Get Out) fame, that coined the idea of the tringle. This is more a trilogy of sequential songs and videos that you’ve put out so far, right?
Yeah! I guess I’m a very visual human being and I’ve always loved acting as well as music and watching any types of movies, I really love honestly, any genre, like I’m a huge horror fan, drama, action, romance, everything. So I have a very big catalogue of inspiration that I take visually and that aspect of my music is so important and it will continue to be I think always, because I like to create worlds in my music. And so for this, because those first three tracks were just going to be standalone singles – they weren’t going to be off of the upcoming EP – I really wanted to do something for them. I wanted to give them a life of their own and create a mini world amongst them. I had those kinds of chats with my manager. And as we talked more and more, I was like, you know, I want the visuals to be kind of like a movie or story that can really drive people in I want it to have fictional elements, but I want it to tell a little bit about what I’m about what I’ve been through. Yeah, so I was very specific and what I wanted and then we had this idea to flip it and tell it in reverse to kind of make it different and interesting and make people a bit confused. And it worked. I think some people were just like, “I don’t get it, didn’t that guy die in the last one,” but the penny kind of drops in the last one that we released. Who was technically part one, but we released it as part three. I’m a Star Wars fan so I love all that stuff.
How early in the writing and actual music creation process do those images start coming to your head?
I’ve now decided from here on out, I’m gonna always write my own treatment. So the next music video that’s coming out, I’ve written the treatment. I’m very involved in that because for me, I’m picturing everything as I’m writing a song. But that changes! I come up with different ideas or new experiences will bring new ideas to the table of what I originally thought it was gonna look like. So for those three, when I was writing the songs, that wasn’t what I was picturing at first, but once I looked at all three collectively – because obviously that were written over a fair while – once I was like, these are the first three singles then I started to really look at, okay, how can these connect. I had individual ideas for all three, but as a story, it wasn’t quite there yet. Especially with the crew that we worked with, they pitched a treatment that I thought was really, really cool. And we worked on it together!
So we’ve all had a chance to get amongst the trilogy, is Suga Rush kind of where the EP world starts? Is this whole new phase for you?
It’s a new phase! I mean, for me, I really want to start to cement an aesthetic. I think the first three were cool, experimenting on what I wanted to play with, what I wanted everything to feel like and look like and with this one, I’ve got quite a clear vision of how I want to like present everything and yeah, I’m super excited about it.
That is so fabulous. It starts with Suga Rush and then what do we hear and see?
Essentially, this EP is going to really start to open up my world and introduce the roots of who I am as an artist and as a person. So I’m really going to delve into that. I’m also going to delve into a little bit about media and how it affects me as a person as an artist and how I believe it affects the world around me. And I’m going to do that in some fun ways. It’s going to be a bit nostalgic, it’s gonna be throwback and a bit of a twist on all of that.
Piccie at the top by Michelle Grace Hunder