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Emma Dean: Artist Profile & Album Review

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The music of Australian performer Emma Dean has been stuck in my head for days. After playing her song Sincerely Fearful on Insomnia Radio: Australia episode 8 and more recently my other music podcast Erk FM, the song (and therefore by extension, Emma) has been a constant co-pilot for the last few days. It is a very catchy song which for me at least is an earworm (one of those songs that you can not get out of your head no matter what you do). The song certainly makes a nice change from the harder rock and metal that I exposed myself to during the month of October 2010. This is a key selling point in my opinion.

November 2010 sees the launch of Emma’s second album, Dr Dream & the Imaginary Pop Cabaret. The music is a lot different to what I am used to. If you listen at one level, you could be excused for thinking that the music is merely up-vibe and interesting, almost as if you are at a circus or a cabaret show. In my case, it sounds like what I imagine a cabaret show to be like through watching TV. It could be argued that you only get half the effect by only listening to the music. To get the full effect, take a close listen to the music. If you are not fortunate enough to be in Emma Dean’s audience, sit back and imagine what it would be like. When you do listen very closely to the words, you may be surprised at what you are actually listening to. If you do want some idea what it is like to be sitting in the audience at one of her shows, there are various performance videos and a lot more available for you to enjoy.

In her own words:

“Essentially, I think of my original music as being piano- based cabaret-tinged pop which is presented with a theatrical flair. In short, I call it pop-cabaret. This particular body of work explores themes such as imagination, insanity, fear, obsession and dreams. Dr Dream is one of the characters from my Imaginary Friends tour and this album is all about me sitting in his office, on his big black chair and rambling on about the inner-most workings of my mind. It’s about letting go of all the things I’m normally too afraid and ashamed to speak of and unashamedly airing them in song. It’s been scary but therapeutic.”

History has shown that some of the best music artists in the world are those that have inner demons, the sort of people who always seems to be having an internal monologue with their inner child. Sometimes the inner child wins. Listening closely to the music, you could be forgiven for thinking that the inner child knows how to win and does so on a regular basis on this album. Unlike so many albums out there, each song sounds different and takes you on a journey of discovery. Just when you think that you have worked out the direction that the album is going, it takes you somewhere else. It does not matter if you like that direction, you are going there anyway!

If you have not heard Emma Dean’s type of music before, prepare to be dazzled. She has a massive vocal range. If you did not know any better, you might think that there are several different people singing as the album progresses. I am looking forward to see one of her upcoming shows as she launches Dr Dream & the Imaginary Pop Cabaret on the east coast of Australia during November 2010. I am keen to see the live performance aspect, especially because I have not been to a professional cabaret show before. I think only then will I get the full effect of her music. It will be interesting to compare the two experiences.

As a sneak preview into the internal monologue that is contained within the album, have a look at the video for Sincerely Fearful. It is well put together, it is funny and quirky. There are also some nods to the comic book genre as well as Ninjas. So who will win in the battle between Dr Dream & Emma Dean? I’ll leave the diagnostics of the mental anguish to someone more qualified. To me, the true winner is the audience. How can the listener or the audience member lose? If you are prepared to listen to something out of your comfort zone, you will enjoy the experience even if you think of it as a audio trip down Sideshow Alley.

Thank you to SGC Media for allowing me to feature Emma Dean’s music and for providing a review copy of the album, available on November 12, 2010. For more information about the album, upcoming performances & how to socially network with Emma, visit the official Emma Dean website.