Emmaline Muchmore is feeling reborn. After a long dry spell between albums, the Minneapolis electro-soul singer has unleashed a torrent of creativity that will result in a new EP due in February.
She credits her recent productivity to a newfound sense of freedom that came with teaching herself the recording software Logic. Instead of relying on the studio expertise of others, Muchmore can now make music exactly the way she wants, on her own time. “It’s been exciting to me to take over the whole process, and be able to do it all myself,” Muchmore says. “That’s quite different from what I was doing before, and it’s allowing me to get deeper at, and closer to, the way I want the songs to turn out.”
They’re turning out great: soulful, sultry and empowering, with strong beats and hypnotic swirls of keyboards surrounding Muchmore’s expressive, alluring voice. There’s a mix of power and vulnerability in her music that’s impossible to resist, and it comes from her own life experience.
“I’ve got a unique perspective in a way,” Muchmore says. “I’m not 25. I don’t have a girly, soft voice. The female hero artists I have, they have soulful voices, and they are not shrinking violets having stuff done to them. They’re in control of their lives and they’re singing it loud and proud and joyfully. That’s the space I want to occupy.”
It’s a space she’s earned, but there’s more to it than that: it’s a space that has come to represent something vital for Muchmore. “I really absolutely need the creativity of this kind of thing in my life, and I haven’t made enough time for it in the recent past. I’ve felt the lack of that pretty deeply,” she says.
Muchmore released her first album, Inviolate, in 2001. The follow-up, Just a Cherry, came in 2005. Since then, she’s toured England and performed onstage with other musicians around the Twin Cities, but it took years before she started working seriously on her next project. “Life and other things happen,” she says. “But I’m always writing, and always recording ideas. The trick is to complete them.”
That’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy: Once Muchmore learned to make music on her own, she got excited about the music she was making, which has inspired her to make more music. It has also led her writing in a more personal direction.
“I’m trying to connect more personally and be more revealing and honest, instead of creating story songs about others,” she says. “I still really enjoy doing that, and I think I kind of got known more for doing that on my earlier songs, but on this latest batch, I’m trying to tap into something a little more raw and vulnerable.”
That takes confidence, which comes from knowing that being the one in charge is more than possible: it’s potent. Teaching herself to record had the added benefit of giving Muchmore a sense of her own capabilities, and she’s reveling in the discovery. “It took me a while to get there, but now I do know what direction I want my music to take, and how I want it to be perceived — and I can control most of the elements,” she says.
So how does Muchmore want her music perceived? “As a strong, independent woman heading up a super-soul groove machine,” she says. Sounds just right.