Emma pulls strings in Sheffield

Emma Stevens and her instruments.
Emma Stevens and her instruments.

There’s a picture of Emma Stevens floating among a spray of instruments.

It’s an apt image.

From childhood, Stevens was classically trained on the piano and cello and, not content with two instruments, she soon progressed to banjo, ukelele, mandolin and 12-string guitar.

“I love anything I can get a sound out of. I started learning to play instruments as a child as my mother was very musical and now I just throw myself into it. It’s all I do so I have no option other than to give it my all.”

This total immersion in her folk/country soul is manifested in her forthcoming tour, on which she’ll be backed by a band.

“I am really excited about that because usually there’s just two of us, but on this tour we’ll have electric guitar and bass. I won’t be quite as nervous going on stage with a band as opposed to being solo or in a duo but that’s not to say I won’t be nervous. I think nerves are a good thing though, in moderation.”

Stevens’ material is raw, heartfelt and real. Her debut, Enchanted, covers a range of topics including her late mother. “My mum died and I had lots of intense feelings but sometimes when you have intense feelings all the talking in the world won’t help. You can’t express it. For me, the only really helpful thing you can do is write a melody. In my case I was trying to find a way through the pain.”

Music was her chosen painkiller. And, at least on stage, it helped.

“It’s so intense when you’re performing and that feeling of intensity and being in the moment is across genres. You can really focus on channelling your feelings when you’re performing live and it’s very cathartic.”

And this is the same for Stevens’ upbeat material.

“I play banjo too and a lot of the songs on Enchanted are real foot-tappers because you want to make your audience to have a good time.”

Emma Stevens comes to the Greystones on April 1.