Emily Smith biography
Emily Smith (born 1981 in Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway) is a Scottish folk singer. She won the BBC Radio Scotland's Young Traditional Music of the Year Award in 2002. She is a member of Scotland’s ‘folk orchestra’, The Unusual Suspects, and was named ‘Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year 2008'.
Smith has always held a passion for local history and a keen sense of belonging, which shines through in her music and the enthusiasm she displays when talking of her home region. “Dumfries and Galloway is often a forgotten part of Scotland and through my material, whether traditional or my own songs, I try to portray the beauty and diversity of where I come from. I love being able to sing a song and picture the exact setting of where the event took place, or to sing some of Robert Burns’ material and know that he travelled the same roads and admired the same landscapes as I do today.”
Since winning the 2002 ‘BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award’ she has released several critically-acclaimed albums, toured extensively with her band on the international folk circuit and is recognised not only as one of Scotland’s finest interpreters of traditional song but also as a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Smith spent six years living in Glasgow, during which time she gained an Honours degree in Scottish Music from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating in 2003. Now, living back in her home area of Dumfries & Galloway in South West Scotland, Smith has found her niche drawing on the rich local history and ever changing landscape as the source and inspiration for her music. She has an affection (and growing reputation!) for collecting dusty old poetry and song books in search of new material. The results are re-worked ballads which seamlessly interweave with Smith’s own descriptive songs, often confusing the listener as to which material is old and which is new.
She became the first ever winner from Scotland in the USA Song-writing Competition in 2005 after winning the folk section with her song ‘Edward of Morton’. Another of her songs, ‘Always a Smile’, about the life of her Polish grandmother, was short-listed in the final ten. Both songs are found on her second album, "A Different Life".
Alongside her solo career Smith has written, recorded and toured with artists from the folk scene and beyond including Eddi Reader, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Karine Polwart, John McCusker, David Scott and Phil Cunningham. She has also been included in the acclaimed ‘Scottish Women’ group, featuring Scotland’s top female vocalists, is a member of Scotland’s ‘folk orchestra’, The Unusual Suspects, and was named ‘Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year 2008'.
She has recorded live sessions for BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris, Aled Jones and Mike Harding alongside receiving regular play on BBC Radio Scotland. Recent television work includes performing on BBC 1 Scotland’s Hogmanay show and she will be featured in the new series of Transatlantic Sessions.
Her official website can be found at www.emilysmith.org.